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Christine Bennett
606 followers -
Marriage and Relationship Counselling | Help for all Couples | Family Mediation | Coaching
Marriage and Relationship Counselling | Help for all Couples | Family Mediation | Coaching

606 followers
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The Need for Closeness Sometimes Competes with our need for Freedom

Some of us enter intimate bonds with an acute awareness of our need to connect, to be close, not to be alone, not to be abandoned. Others approach relationships with a heightened need for personal space—our sense of self-preservation inspires vigilance against being devoured. Erotic, emotional connection generates closeness that can become overwhelming, evoking claustrophobia. It can feel intrusive. What was initially a secure enclosure becomes confining. While our need for closeness is almost as basic as our need for food, it carries with it anxieties and threats that can inhibit desire. We want closeness, but not so much that we feel trapped by it.

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (p. 26). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.

#marriagecounsellingsydney #couplescounsellingsydney #relationshipcounsellingsydney #needtoconnect
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IS YOUR COMMUNICATION STYLE HEALTHY?

There is a saying, "familiarity breeds contempt". Unfortunately, when a couple has been together for a while, unresolved frustrations can lead to behaviours that are very destructive to the relationship.
"Certain negative communication styles are so lethal to a relationship that Dr. John Gottman calls them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They predict relationship failure with over 90% accuracy if the behavior isn't changed. So, what can you do?"

GOTTMAN'S FOUR HORSMEN
1. Criticism
2. Contempt
3. Stonewalling
4. Defensiveness

#communication


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Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness. One does not exist without the other. With too much distance, there can be no connection. But too much merging eradicates the separateness of two distinct individuals. Then there is nothing more to transcend, no bridge to walk on, no one to visit on the other side, no other internal world to enter. When people become fused—when two become one—connection can no longer happen. There is no one to connect with. Thus separateness is a precondition for connection: this is the essential paradox of intimacy and sex.

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (p. 25). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
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We magnify the good qualities of those we love, and confer on them almost mythical powers. We transform them, and we in turn are transformed in their presence. “He made me laugh.” “She made me feel special, smart.” “We could talk for hours.” “I knew I could trust her.” “I felt so accepted.” “He made me feel beautiful.” Such comments highlight the magnificence of the beloved or illuminate his capacity to enlarge us, to lift us from ourselves.

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (p. 20). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
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Love and lust are inseparable parts of a larger whole for some, while for others they are irretrievably disconnected. Most of us, however, express our eroticism somewhere in the gray areas where love and lust both relate and conflict. –Jack Morin, from The Erotic Mind

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (p. 19). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
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Faced with the irrefutable otherness of our partner, we can respond with fear or with curiosity. We can try to reduce the other to a knowable entity, or we can embrace her persistent mystery. When we resist the urge to control, when we keep ourselves open, we preserve the possibility of discovery. Eroticism resides in the ambiguous space between anxiety and fascination. We remain interested in our partners; they delight us, and we’re drawn to them. But, for many of us, renouncing the illusion of safety, and accepting the reality of our fundamental insecurity, proves to be a difficult step.

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (p. 18). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.

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We often expect our relationship to act as a buttress against the slings and arrows of life. But love, by its very nature, is unstable. So we shore it up: we tighten the borders, batten down the hatches, and create predictability, all in an effort to make us feel more secure. Yet the mechanisms that we put in place to make love safer often put us more at risk. We ground ourselves in familiarity, and perhaps achieve a peaceful domestic arrangement, but in the process we orchestrate boredom. The verve of the relationship collapses under the weight of all that control. Stultified, couples are left wondering, “Whatever happened to fun? What ever happened to excitement, to transcendence, to awe?”

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (pp. 17-18). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
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There’s a powerful tendency in long-term relationships to favor the predictable over the unpredictable. Yet eroticism thrives on the unpredictable. Desire butts heads with habit and repetition. It is unruly, and it defies our attempts at control. So where does that leave us? We don’t want to throw away the security, because our relationship depends on it. A sense of physical and emotional safety is basic to healthy pleasure and connection. Yet without an element of uncertainty there is no longing, no anticipation, no frisson.

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (p. 10). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
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You meet someone through a potent alchemy of attraction. It is a sweet reaction and it’s always a surprise. You’re filled with a sense of possibility, of hope, of being lifted out of the mundane and into a world of emotion and enthrallment. Love grabs you, and you feel powerful. You cherish the rush, and you want to hold on to the feeling. You’re also scared. The more you become attached, the more you have to lose. So you set out to make love more secure. You seek to fix it, to make it dependable. You make your first commitments, and happily give up a little bit of freedom in exchange for a little bit of stability. You create comfort through devices—habit, ritual, pet names—that bring reassurance. But the excitement was bound to a certain measure of insecurity. Your high resulted from the uncertainty, and now, by seeking to harness it, you wind up draining the vitality out of the relationship. You enjoy the comfort, but complain that you feel constrained. You miss the spontaneity. In your attempt to control the risks of passion, you have tamed it out of existence. Marital boredom is born.

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity (pp. 9-10). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
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We all share a fundamental need for security, which propels us toward committed relationships in the first place; but we have an equally strong need for adventure and excitement. Modern romance promises that it’s possible to meet these two distinct sets of needs in one place. Still, I’m not convinced. Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all? It’s hard to generate excitement, anticipation, and lust with the same person you look to for comfort and stability, but it’s not impossible. I invite you to think about ways you might introduce risk to safety, mystery to the familiar, and novelty to the enduring.

Perel, Esther. Mating in Captivity . Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
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