I wish someone had explained the stages of relationship to me a long time ago. I would have saved myself a lot of heartbreak and frustration over the years. I always thought that early jolt of resonance was a sign of forever love. It felt so good to meet someone who ‘just fit’.
Inevitably, things would stop fitting and those little, gnawing irritations would surface. ‘Oh, no,’ I would think, ‘not again.’ ‘Why do I keep falling for the wrong partners? There must be something wrong with me.. or them… or relationships.’ Arguing, withdrawing, sulking, cajoling didn’t work and I would find myself back on the dating scene only to repeat the same pattern over and over. I wanted out of that disappointing cycle once and for all.
Then I learned about Imago Relationship Therapy, based on the work of Harville Hendrix and his wife Helen LaKelly Hunt. It seems a bit hokey to say that it changed my life, but it did. I learned that there are actually relationship stages and the Romantic Stage is the beginning of an ‘Imago Matched Relationship’. It means you have found someone with whom you do have some resonance based on your unconscious love map.
The real treasure in my discovery of Imago Relationship Theory was to learn that those frustrations were also part of a well matched relationship and necessary for the development of a conscious, healthy relationship.
I was in marriage counseling many years ago and when my partner and I couldn’t seem to get along, even in therapy. I said to the therapist, “I just want to be in a healthy relationship.” His reply was, so did he until he realized they hung out with one another. Ouch! I felt doomed.
The gift of Imago Therapy is learning how to move past those frustrations in a respectful, loving way so that you can reach the next stage… yes, there is life after frustration and power struggles. This stage is more Real, more Mature, more Healthy… With the right tools I could have a healthier relationship. So there, marriage counselor!
This stage is where you actually put love into action by listening, respecting and being curious about yourself, your partner and those annoying obstacles to the dream of love ever after. Yes, it is possible to have the relationship of your dreams but its not without learning some tools to navigate those rocky waters.
You can learn relationship skills while in a relationship or in preparation for the relationship you deserve. Contact me today and let me know if I can help you get back on course to a healthier, happier relationship. Happy sailing!