When we are beginning a new relationship or attempting to rebuild a shattered one, we tend to wear our best face. As our romance progresses, we begin to reveal more and more of our inner selves. We reveal more of the good and the bad as we express our thoughts, beliefs, and judgments to each other.
John and Elaine Leadem are licensed clinical social workers whose combined investment in the field of addiction treatment spans more than sixty years. Their commitment to helping recovering families has provided the core inspiration for the development of a "A Decision to Be IN Love"© which has helped many couples move from the traditional parallel model of recovery to strong united core support group. They are both certified Sex Addiction Therapist and have co-developed a model for treating couples during the crisis stage of recovery.
Editor: Saad Shaheed
Although it can be frightening at times to share our most intimate selves with our partner (will he or she accept me knowing who I really am?), still we must work to develop an honest, open relationship if we hope to grow in this partnership. If your partner turns away when you reveal something about yourself, remember that it is not “all about me.” Your partner may be distracted by something having nothing to do with you. Acknowledge that you have fear of being rejected, and let your Higher Power know that you trust in His care for you.
“You always hurt the one you love.” Great, as a song title but not so great when it describes our behavior with loved ones. It is no more an explanation for why we have mistreated a loved one then blaming our emotional irritability on having awaken on the “wrong side of the bed”.
We all say things in anger or fear that we cannot take back, and immediately regret saying them. Why do we wait so long to express our feelings that they become explosive and distorted when they are finally released?
What we easily share in a fellowship meeting seems too risky to reveal to our partner. This is because we think our romance might not survive the truth of our feelings. But we feel what we feel: there is no right or wrong to our feelings, and our partner should not have to be comfortable with everything we share.
“Partnership” implies a shared responsibility for how we cope with what we experience and how we feel. You do not have to have proof for what you are feeling – a fact that is as relieving as the notion that our feelings are not facts and cannot be proven. For some partners this can be disturbing – but it is true. Our Higher Power will help us to see that our emotions are neither right nor wrong, but they deserve to be heard.
We want authenticity and a spiritual connection in our partnership. To accomplish this, we must be true to both our partner and to ourselves. The excuses for not being completely honest are just that – excuses. They are not valid. Our relationship can survive the truly candid moments when we express our thoughts and fears. It is when we “shut down” to protect our partner or ourselves that we are doing them a disservice.
Your Higher Power will help you to become one in the spirit with your romantic partner. Only by sharing of yourselves will your romantic love survive.