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September 12, 2019

21 Words to Make us feel Safe, Seen & Turned On.

 

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One of my friends is dating a man who said the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.

When she relayed it to me, I immediately swooned.

It wasn’t, “I love you.”

It wasn’t, “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever been with.” 

It wasn’t, “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Nope, it wasn’t a rom-com turn of phrase.

Instead, it was something that showed that he knows something vital about relationships. It showed that he’s interested in being with her in all the ways it takes to really do partnership—not just the rom-com ones.

Here’s what he said:

“I want to do all the fun stuff with you, and I want to do all the hard stuff with you.”

I want to do all the hard stuff with you.

Swoon.

Why is this so sexy to me? Because in just a few words, he showed that he grasps what it takes to be in a mature, adult relationship. It demonstrates that he’s aware that a relationship isn’t just a pretty pasture—it’s also a minefield that will expose all the dark, wounded, angry, disowned, nasty, denigrated parts of ourselves that we’ve spent a lifetime hiding.

And he wants to go through all that with her.

It’s like saying, “We’re going to go on this grand adventure together. There are going to be parts that are uplifting and exciting and exquisite. And there are going to be parts that absolutely, positively suck. But there’s no one else I’d rather work through all my darkest sh*t with, and whose dark sh*t I want to hold space for. I want to do it all with you.”

If I’m being truly honest, I think most people don’t understand what it takes to be in a healthy relationship. Not really. I think this because as soon as it starts being hard, they feel like there’s something wrong. 

But a lot of times there isn’t something wrong. It’s more like there’s something up.

Those dark, hidden bits are starting to come to the surface, and it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes excruciating.

This is the ultimate lie that is packaged up, sold, and perpetuated in our culture: that relationships are supposed to be easy. That once you pick your person and you get married, “happily ever after” will take over.

So when you get into a relationship, pass blissfully through the honeymoon phase, and emerge on the other side, you think something’s wrong when conflict emerges.

You think you married the wrong person.

You think the relationship is doomed.

You think that if you were just with the right person, things would be easy. It wouldn’t feel like this. It would feel more like it did at the beginning, when the sex was hot and he gave you all the attention you wanted; when she wasn’t constantly on her phone; when the two of you spent quality time together and you weren’t bickering about money.

And, of course, sometimes it’s true that the relationship is toxic. If you haven’t done any personal growth work, then it’s actually likely that you’re with someone who’s wrong for you, meaning they’re actively abusive, either physically, emotionally, or otherwise.

I did that dance for a while. I picked a cold, emotionally withholding man, and I got hurt again and again, until I was basically suicidal. It wasn’t his fault. I unconsciously and unerringly selected him out of a sea of men to repeat a toxic pattern from my childhood that was both agonizing and familiar.

Fortunately, I removed myself from that situation. And I’ll never go back to it. Mostly because I’ve done a lot of therapy (somatic therapy, not just talk therapy). 

What I’m trying to say is this: 

I have several friends in healthy, conscious relationships in my life. And I’ve noticed a pattern when it comes to their partnerships. They all have at least one source of support for their relationship, who’s not in the relationship (an attachment therapist, for example).

Not just some of them. All of them. Every. Single. Couple.

Every single couple I know who’s “doing” healthy partnership either has a source of support who helps them learn how to do things, like communicate, work through their attachment issues, or learn how to be skillful with their emotions in relation to each other.

As one of my friends says, “Every couple needs a team.” 

Because when you’re activated by your partner—when your attachment wounds have come up, when you’re in the throes of the rage or the grief or the unbelievably noxious shame cycle brought up by rejection or whatever other pattern is going on for you—you’re not able to be conscious anymore.

It’s not that you don’t want to be conscious; it’s that you can’t be conscious in that moment. You just can’t do it. Neither can your partner, when he or she is activated.

You need help.

I want a man who gets this. Not one who has to be convinced of it, but who already gets it. Who is open to us getting an attachment therapist at some point so we can learn how to soothe one another’s nervous systems (and our own) when we’re in the thick of it.

Who’s got his own men’s group and is supportive of me going to women’s retreats and women’s circles. Who’s open to attending workshops on healthy sexuality and expression. Who’s down to listen to a podcast or read a book that covers how childhood trauma affects romantic relationship. Who wants to know these things so we can build an ever-strengthening bond that will serve not only us, but the world.

Because make no mistake: every single healthy, functioning couple changes the fabric of the universe.

Every couple who leans into their darkest sh*t, reclaims it, integrates it, and loves it, serves every single one of us.

They’re doing the sacred work. They’re restructuring the quantum field, healing the family trauma from centuries back, and paving the way for a new version of humanity to emerge.

A harmonious version of humanity.

I believe romantic relationship is one of the most intense and difficult playgrounds on which to play, and one of the most spiritually transformative—both individually and for the collective.

I look forward to finding my playmate. And I can only hope that at some point, he says the thing that will make me feel safe, turned on, seen, considered, excited, nervous, and lit up all at once: 

“I want to do all the fun stuff with you, and I want to do all the hard stuff with you.”

~

Melanie Curtin

author: Melanie Curtin

Image: @_minimalista/Instagram

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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