I’m in a new relationship, and loving it. The ‘honeymoon phase’ of those first 3-6 months is in full swing, and utterly delicious. We all get addicted to that sweet rush of heady bliss, when neither of you can do any wrong, and the future rolls out rosy and calm before you…
Until the first fight.
Until that first shock of cold water on your love fire, sending the perfect daydream up in clouds of stinky steam. Ugh. We all hate it. We all dread it. We are all loathe to see the ‘other side’ of our Beloved: the one where they criticize or reject us; perhaps sulk or avoid; complain loudly or even yell about our suddenly-glaring faults. Ugh.
I’m currently doing a 6-week course in Attachment patterns, common triggered behaviours, and security strategies for healthy relationship outcomes. One of the first things our teacher Anne said was this:
‘Conflict is essential for emotional growth and development; it’s how we manage it that matters.’
I felt like I let out my held breath. I know disagreements are impossible to avoid or ignore (never forget that I have a feisty almost-17-yr old son at home half the time), but I needed to hear that they can be a good thing. Online dating allows for a time lapse between misunderstandings, reactions, and apologies; ‘H’ and I had had a few of those over our months of interstate messaging, but I’ll never forget the first time in real life I watched ‘H’ frown at something I’d said, and felt my soft little heart sink back in fear.
Remember my post about Intimacy HERE? As a person who has favoured being Avoidant, I have tended to minimize conflict, with the sacrifice therefore of intimacy and deeper connection. With ‘H’, everything has changed, and old patterns are just not welcome any more. For both of us. But all I can really do is be responsible for my own sense of safety, vulnerability, and conflict resolution tools, hence my studies.
Wish me luck, because the only way I will get to practice anything is inside the challenging crucible of wounds and retaliation!