A love relationship always implies connection as well as autonomy. Some love relationships are especially based on equality, other ones are more based on complementarity. In both cases partners need to be sufficiently autonomous. Starting from autonomy they look for connection, attachment and commitment and can have an equal partnership.
Autonomy is a basic need of a human being. It is the ability to do things by yourself and to finger things out.
The need for autonomy arises very soon in life. The baby grabs his dolly, starts to crawl, is making his first steps. He starts to explore the world. The toddler manifests himself by rebelling and saying 'no'. He wants to do things by himself. Over time the desire for freedom is growing. A child wants to choose his own clothes, wants to choose his friends. A teenager asks for pocket money and wants to go out with friends.
A proper education supports the child's desire for autonomy. The parent or educator stimulates his desire to explore and is also unconditionally available when the child needs comfort and protection. Children learn to attach themselves safely to their parents and develop a proper basic trust. They trust other persons, develop their own desires and get more and more independent.
Becoming autonomous provides freedom and fulfills a real and basic need. A grown up person is to a large extent independent. He makes his own choices and is able to care for himself. That independency determines his feeling of well-being.
That, of course, does not mean that a person is able to do all things in a perfect way by himself. He knows how and when he has to look for the help of other persons. He knows his strengths and limits.
The need for emotional connection is also an basic human need. A human being is not made to live alone.
Babies attach themselves naturally to their parents. They do so in order to survive physically, but they also need touching and emotional security.
Not only babies have those needs. Grown up persons as well are looking for intimacy, security and certainty by attaching themselves to other persons. In adulthood the partner is taking over the role of the parents and becomes the most important person to attach yourself to.
The feelings of connection and togetherness are very important elements of a successful relationship. Emotional connection provides a sense of belonging together. Partners share their lives and are ready to invest in the other and in their relationship.
Emotional connection implies that you are able to attach yourself to your partner. The style of attachment that you have developed being a child will determine how you will attach yourself to a partner. An insecure style of attachment often causes relationship issues. It is important to communicate openly about those problems and to get a better insight into the negative patterns. Only then your partner will be able to be more understanding and to support you. You yourself will get more self-confidence. And the two of you will have a stronger relationship.
In a good, loving relationship partners feel appreciated and respected. Their self-esteem will increase and they are going to discover new strengths. Your self-image will get a boost, you will feel more confident and will more easily dare to be yourself.
Alas, in an unequal partnership the opposite happens. Your self-image will become more and more negative. You need to be alert and reflect on what you are feeling and perceiving. Things may change, you know.
A relationship long in search of a right balance
In a good, equal relationship partners accept being dependent somehow on one another. They accept being vulnerable from time to time and needing help. They dare to lean on one another. It may seem paradoxical, but that dependence will only make you more independent. Your partner's support will give you strength and you will feel more autonomous and more confident. In a good relationship partners are independent all well as dependent on each other.
The balance between emotional connection and autonomy is not clearly defined, but is constantly varying in the course of a relationship. Such as every relationship is going through good, very good and less good times.
Persons who are in love with one another generally want to be together and to share as much things as possible.
That is not strange in the initial stage of a relationship, but can become quite harmful over time. In a fusional or symbiotic relationship, there is no place for autonomy. The partners are emotionally choking each other. The autonomy and independence of both partners are a necessary condition for a loving relationship.
A healthy partnership is a dynamic of give and take, supporting the other and getting support. They may not be equal on both sides. Sometimes one partner needs more support than the other one, and some time later vice versa. Pregnant women may suffer from nausea. The young mother is focusing on her baby. One of both partners may have a new, challenging job and do everything to prove himself or herself. The parents of one partner may get ill and need extra support and help.
Do not balance all these issues. You are sharing good and bad times. That makes a good relationship.
Common projects can be very challenging, but are at the same time a gift. To work together towards a common goal. Going to officially live together, getting married, having a child. To communicate to and share with other persons that you belong together.
Keep going! Even when you seem to have achieved all your dreams. Lots of luxury and prosperity and the lack of a common goal can entail a risk. Do not stop dreaming.
Away from home and back home
In a healthy relationship partners have the opportunity to achieve their own projects. They can do so without fear or distrust and feel supported by their partner. And they share their experiences with one another. A good relationship can not do without the outside world.
A real encounter implies some distance. And love is not possible without having a real encounter. It can be beneficial to a love relationship to miss your partner for a while, to look forward to seeing him or her and to be happy to meet again.
A right balance between spending time together and not being together makes a home more pleasant and attractive.
Every home needs some refreshing work from time to time
Every home and every relationship need some renewal from time to time. There is nothing wrong with that. That is simply necessary. It is not enough to come home after work and to sit at the same table. Partners must express their love for each other. With words: 'I love you, I really do'. Or without words, by cuddling, making love, doing something for one another, listening and giving attention.
To experience things together connects persons. To share with your partner what you are occupied or concerned with, what you are thinking or feeling. To express and share your inner life. Togetherness rarely exists without words.
At the beginning of your relationship everything was new and exciting. You need to create that positive atmosphere again and again. There is nothing wrong with that, that is not the same as pretending something. Even after years you can truly meet each other, have a real encounter.
Your partner will, somehow, always remain a stranger. You are not able to predict his or her thoughts. There will always be new things to discover and experience.
Do not hesitate when you need some professional help to turn your house again into a real home. I shall guide you. To be able to be yourself in a relationship, that is our mutual goal.
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