Welcome to episode 31. I feel quite inspired as we all realize that the holidays are soon upon us. For those of us that live in parts of the world that get colder at this time of year, things really start to change. As we get into late November, things are getting ready for this time of the year that is quite special. No matter how you celebrate, you can’t avoid the ways that people start to get ready to hibernate with each other.
The interesting thing about family and relationships is that it can be a very stressful time for so many people to be home and to face relationships that don’t get a lot of attention when we’re working throughout the year. So I want to dig deep with you all and prepare us emotionally to go into some of these opportunities to get closer.
To do that, I’m going to talk about intimacy. I’m also going to have a number of couples therapists and guests to share from their perspective why it’s hard to stay close and to get close and also some ideas about what we can do to get ourselves ready.
I wanted to address a kind of misconception that a lot of couples come to even when they come to couples therapy. There can be a very superficial notion that couples therapy is about the relationship. That may seem like a very strange thing to say. Of course, it’s about the relationship. What I mean is that couples will come and say, “Oh, our problems are about this relationship,” as if there’s another relationship the person is in which is better. Of course, if that is the case, then there are bigger problems in that relationship, but that’s a subject area for another podcast.
The issue is that what is so profoundly important when it comes to thinking about intimacy is that, in so many ways, it doesn’t have to do with the other person at all. If we’re evacuating something that we want for ourselves (for instance, if somebody else is outgoing, and we’re like, “Oh, I love how you are at parties or how you can schmooze or how social you can be”), often that represents our biggest fears. Or, the other way around. Maybe we see someone who’s quiet and pensive and it just seems so refreshing to meet somebody who’s not always talking all the time and it’s hard for us to slow down.
Eventually, shit hits the fan. Period; full stop. That’s what I mean that couples therapy is not really about this relationship. Often, it’s about the cross that somebody has to bear in their own life.
This is what I discuss throughout today’s podcast. I hope you benefit from this introductory episode to the upcoming series on deepening our relationships over the holidays.
- What Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, demonstrates about relationships and intimacy.
- Why hyper-focusing on somebody else fulfilling our needs is a problem.
- Why we can’t expect someone to make our problems go away but have every right to expect our relationships to be playgrounds for vulnerability.
- Why it’s so important to put language to our distress, especially in relationships.
- The anxiety that leads us to pull away from our partners.
- Why notions of compatibility aren’t sustainable.
- Why we need to explore vulnerability and intimacy to deepen our connections.
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