Couples Counseling Articles

Love Unraveled: Navigating Connection and Relationship

Happy loving couple

When love enters the scene, we might find ourselves:

  • Falling head over heels
  • Feeling crazy about…smitten by…or bitten by the love bug

We can claim to love someone to pieces, to death or more than life itself!

On the flip side, we‘ll use phrases like:

  • My heart’s no longer in it
  • We’re falling out…
  • Drifting apart
  • Growing apart
  • Losing the spark
  • Or we simply proclaim…The relationship has run its course.

Most of us know a lot about these topsy-turvy experiences…yet what we seem to long for most is the safety, warmth and comfort of secure connection with that ONE special person.

So, for now, as a working definition, let’s call this LOVE because it’s the ONE thing that transcends the boundaries of time, space, and duality itself.

Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to find that special person and then…something happens.

That feeling slips off the rails. Imperceptible at first. Excruciatingly painful later on.

When we try to articulate our feelings about this slippery slope to the one we love…it does not go well and words fall short.

Pending issues and life tasks take over. Work and kids take precedence. Disappointments and losses blur our memories and we’re left complaining, blaming and wondering how to get love back into our lives.

When the conversation slips into that downward spiral it seems to be less about what we’re trying to say and more about the dis-connection we share.

We may not have words but we sure know how it feels.

That moment feels rough, jagged, explosive…even dangerous…and we armor up so we don’t get hurt.

It’s been described as a pit or a minefield that could blow up at any time.

When people actually try to talk about love, it’s rarely about the topic itself…and more about the essence of “us”.

What’s happening to ‘us’?

In the background…on the dashboard of the human brain…we want to know:

  • Am I important to you?
  • Are we on the same team?
  • Do you need me?
  • Will you be there when I need you?
  • Can I count on you? and
  • Do you even care about ‘us’?

Try talking about the state of your relationship…when that’s going on in the background. It’s nearly impossible!

Yet we try and find ourselves compelled to talk about the kind of relationship we want.

We discover, the more we talk about it, the further we move away from any loving experience we might want to have with that special person.

Of course we all have something to say about the kind of relationship we want…and ought to be able to talk about those feelings…yet can’t seem do it effectively.

At least, not in a way our partner can hear it.

It’s awkward…and if we’re honest…we end up venting, finger-pointing and exploring rigid definitions about what ‘should be’ or ‘could have been’ rather than carving out space for authentic relating.

Trying to define love by wrapping language around it…is difficult!

Yet humans are compelled to talk about this experience and we struggle…lacking the words that draw our loved one close.

Most of us simply do not know how.

That’s why it might be useful to think less about defining what love or relationship is.

Instead, try to say what it isn’t.

If we can stop obsessing about what “could have been” in the past or what “should be” in the future…we inadvertently decide that is NOT what love is about after all.

Suddenly, the relationship becomes about this moment, right now.

And if you can find a way to wrap language around that one moment, you’re GOLDEN.

You’re both in it. You’re relating in the deepest, most authentic sense of the word.

By staying in the present moment, you let go of what love is not.

You get to know what love is and start to embrace it.

Instead of defining and dissecting, simply be present.

Your presence creates space for authenticity, vulnerability, and mutual respect.

Your presence creates space for raw, unfiltered connection.

Your presence matters most.

Showing up whole in the present moment frees you from the shackles of expectation and disappointment.

When you drop labels and definitions, you create space for love to emerge.

In those moments, when we’re not focused on another place, another time, another thing, another conversation, life itself becomes about where you are and who you’re with…NOW.

Maybe we don’t have to talk about love nearly as much as we thought.

Maybe we just have to be present…and clear…about who we are…and how we show up…when we’re fortunate enough to be in it.

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P.S. In my profession ‘Love’ is often referred to as ‘Attachment’ because back in the day (1940’s) John Bowlby, a British psychiatrist, researched the topic. He knew he would be laughed out of the profession if he used the word ‘Love.’ To protect his reputation, he used ‘attachment’ and was sidelined anyway. Predictably, he’s now a 21st century hero and considered a visionary. Here’s to the crazy ones!