When we’re in relationship (which we always are if we are interacting with other people on any level), there are many ways towards destroying the foundation of what has been created in the connection. Most of us carry with us a lot of these tools of destruction, sometimes knowingly, sometimes completely unconscious.
Three months of a long distance relationship that has been built mostly on emails, texts and phone calls, with two short time spans of actual physical time spent together can result in a very interesting ten day winter vacation together.
When I realized I would be experiencing my monthly shifts in hormonal behaviour during the beginning of this vacation, I stepped forward with a bit of trepidation. I kindly warned the other party in this relationship of my discovery, noting the areas that I know to be my weak spots during this time. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough because he stated he was looking forward to seeing me in my most tender moments. Hmmmm…thinking back I could have cleared up the initial confusion right away by delving deeper into the way I know my mind works in these times of hormonal shifting. Tender is not a word I would use to describe my inner experience, or my outer experience for that matter.
When I am in the phase of my uterine lining getting ready to release itself back to the Earth, the words I would use to describe my emotional experience would be inward and introverted, combined with irritated and irrational. I haven’t always been this way – for many years of my womanly life I didn’t experience emotional upheaval at this time, instead it was all pain based in the physical sense. Now having a broader overall experience to pull from, I see that in the past I was suppressing a lot of emotional responses because I was in a deep habit of doing all I could to maintain harmony within all the relationship in my life. I never wanted to rock the boat, stir the pot or create conflict in an manner whatsoever. But, by doing this I was creating a lot of unnecessary physical pain within my own being, I would experience about two to three days of radiating pain in my legs, my back and my abdomen leading up to the first day of shedding, followed by up to four days of extreme abdominal cramping that would leave me bed ridden if I didn’t have a large bottle of ibuprofen on hand.
A few years ago, I decided I’d had enough of the physical pain – I couldn’t let it rule one out of four weeks of every month of my life. I started doing a lot of personal inner work that started to uncover the deep emotional wounds that were being suppressed, the wounds that were causing all the physical pain. As we know to be true for physical wounding, healing takes place when we give our body what it needs to aid that process, but sometimes no matter how the wound heals, we are still left with a scar. I believe the same to be true for emotional wounding. Some heal completely, and some leave us scarred for life…or for a really really long time. Some experiences we have in life are so traumatic that there is nothing we can do to rid them from our systems – they become a part of who we are on the deepest level – shaping our experiences as we move through life. Being aware of the wounds is one thing – it’s great to be aware of their existence but awareness doesn’t make them obsolete – it only gives us the framework to know why we have certain emotional reactions to future experiences, while also giving us the opportunity to shift our reactions into responses, but in order to respond in a way that doesn’t create more trauma and discomfort for all parties involved, we need to have very strong, clear communication practices.
Back to the topic at hand. How to destroy a relationship in ten days. Ok, so I think we get this first thing to do right?
Book the trip during the most intense time of your moon cycle.
The next thing to do is remain silent when something tugs at your heart in the wrong way.
Upon pick-up from the airport, I was greeted by a warm embrace, but no kiss. I immediately started feeling like maybe his feelings had changed towards me…maybe we weren’t as connected as I thought…maybe he’s just not that into me. These are all the harsh mind thoughts that come from places inside of me that still feels insecure in relation to others. It wasn’t until a week later, when we were in the deep throws of our relationship breakdown, that it came up that he was under the impression that I had an aversion to public displays of affection. This was based on a conversation we’d had on the phone one day…I don’t know what I had said, but it had come across to him that I didn’t like being affectionate in public. I was confused because I know that was not what I had been trying to communicate in that conversation, but this is what can happen between people – a miscommunication can rapidly turn into relationship turmoil when we don’t take the time or make the effort to keep the communication clear and thorough.
I realize now that all I had to do was mention how I felt about not receiving a kiss when we first saw each other…but instead, I chose to live in my own confusion and doubt which was evidently creating resentment and frustration in our interactions. I couldn’t understand why a man who had proclaimed to be extremely affectionate was showing me such little affection (especially when we were in public)…I really felt like he must not really want to be with me which made me put up my walls to avoid the hurt and pain of loss that I thought was imminently approaching.
Now, if these two things aren’t quite enough to completely destroy the relationship, the next thing to do is to assume that your partner will automatically figure out what kind of a lover you are. I mean this in the sexual sense of a lover. I chose to leave it up to him to figure me out, thinking that my actions and movements would be interpreted just as I was intending them to be. I forgot that most of us humans aren’t really that adept at mind reading, and that men and women have very different ways of expressing their needs and desires, and that each person has a very unique set of needs that are to be expressed and dealt with accordingly. If we keep our lips tightly sealed when it comes to our sexual needs, our partners will never know what it is we truly desire and we will all be left feeling deeply dissatisfied.
Sometime what we need sexually comes from a place that is hard for us to look at – hard for us to express and hard for us to want to bring into this new connection. For me, personally, I have recently embarked on a path of sexual healing. Oftentimes when we set off on these paths, we don’t know what it is going to look like. About a year ago I realized I had a lot of inner work to do around sexual shame, trusting my sexual partners to not harm me, and learning to respect the deepest needs of my sexual nature. I said to a friend that I needed to do a lot of healing of my sexuality before I entered another relationship. She replied that perhaps I needed to do that work with a partner, and healing would take place within that unity connection. I could see that this could be done only so much on my own, and the then it would take a partner to do some of the healing as well, because we don’t give ourselves the same triggers as another person does. I could think all was well with my levels of sexual trust because I’d learned to trust myself sexually, but to heal this aspect completely (if possible) doing the partner work would be pertinent.
So, like I said, if relationship destruction is your operandi, keep your sexual needs deeply locked away. What I learned from doing this is that it is extremely important to discuss what it is you need sexually with your partner, and to also give them the space they may need to open their hearts to you in this way. The last thing we want is to be judged on our sexual needs and preferences and so we must offer this space of non-judgement and acceptance for whatever arises for each partner. The beauty of discussing this is that it gives both parties the opportunity to assess whether they are capable of meeting the needs of their partner before things potentially get emotionally messy in the bedroom (or kitchen or bathroom, whatever your preference). For me, I believe that if enough trust is established in a partnership, most, if not all sexual needs of both parties can be fully expressed and honoured. We have to be willing to try new things while also making sure we keep our own levels of self respect high. Mutual satisfaction is completely attainable with the right amount of loving connective trust.
If you’ve managed to use all the above mentioned tools of destruction and the relationship still hasn’t fallen apart completely, there are still a few other things that can be done.
One of the best ways to put a wedge between yourself and your partner is by focusing on all the areas of your lives the two of you might not see eye to eye or the future experiences that each of you want to have and how they might not be the same visions (ie. trips to different countries, the kind of long term living arrangements you envision for yourself, spiritual practices etc.). What I learned from this kind of approach is that by focusing on our differences, we lose touch of the very things that attracted us together in the first place. So rather than focusing on the differences, we must instead focus on the commonalties and the experiences we both desire. We don’t need to have the exact same life path to be in a long term loving committed relationship. Individualization is important and if the desire to grow alongside one another is strong enough, coming up with ways to bridge the gaps can be an adventure in unified living. When there is diversity within all areas of our lives, the capacity for fertility is that much greater. Many great ideas and adventures can be born out of opposing visions and views.