Most people were brought up to have good manners. We learned to be polite. To say the expected things, at the expected times. In social situations, with acquaintances, this works well. We need social grace, it makes lives more pleasant.
In our intimate relationships however, the gold standard is not politeness. Our partner relationships, our family relationships, and our close friendships are places where we are called to give more of ourselves, and to ask more of others. Politeness is relating at a distance. When we stick with what is expected, and stay in the surface level dance, the moves may be well practiced, but they can lack meaning. We reveal little, and learn less.
If you want to be in a real, meaningful relationship, then you need to be real, and honest, to say what it is you really mean. You need to dare to be seen, just as you are. You will need to take risks. You may find yourself being vulnerable, or clumsy, or sharing truths that you know will hurt. Relationship is about an ongoing process of rupture, and repair. It’s about daring to be authentic, to be in contact, to see and be seen.
If relationships like this are a challenge for you, psychotherapy may be a useful way forward. Working in a therapeutic relationship to experience the intimacy of being met psychologically, we can internalise how this feels, and begin to take risks and explore what it is like to truly be who we are. This can then transfer out into everyday life, and we can live more fully.
If you find yourself in relationships that lack heart, or feel soulless, then couples psychotherapy may be a consideration. Finding ways to be together more deeply can be transformative, uncomfortable as it is along the way.
We are social animals. In our early days we grow and learn in relationship with our carers. Our needs for contact change, but do not lessen, as we mature. In relationship we can discover more of who we are. You up for it? Then get in touch.