Relationships bring out the best in us. When we truly connect with another person and we work together towards goal-oriented transformation, we can find ourselves truly engaged in a partnership based on reciprocity.
Sex can strengthen and solidify that bond. Skin-on-skin, intimate contact touches us at the most primal level. Since early childhood, we have learned to crave touch and associate intimacy and affection with love.
So, why is that in many relationships we find that something is lacking? We resort to the cycle of blaming, stepping into what Dr. Steven Karpman coined the Transactional Analysis Theory or the drama triangle. This cycle of victimhood, persecutor, and rescuer can become a vicious pattern that destroys otherwise healthy relationships.
In our book, Transformed: The Science of Spectacular Living, we discuss a way you can break this cycle, take personal responsibility, and improve your relationship. Two of the important ground rules in any relationship: 1. No one should get more than 50% of the blame, and 2.) Each partner needs to take 100% of the responsibility for their own happiness.
If you’re finding that the intimacy and passion in your relationship has flown the coop, then you need to look at the limiting beliefs you’re focused on about yourself, and examine how your behavior may be contributing to this cycle. Often our relationships reflect something within ourselves that might be holding us back (or making us head for the hills).
Are you finding that once intimacy and sex are on the table, the relationship takes a nosedive? Maybe you find that you’re pulling back, or you catch yourself avoiding the other person. Suddenly, the things that drew you in might be the things that repel you.
If you find yourself in the Groundhog Day version of repeating the same pattern again and again, it’s time to explore how your core limiting beliefs are affecting the way you deal with intimacy. Many of us feel we aren’t worthy of love or that we only want love (and sex) that we have to constantly chase and pursue.
There’s the cliché that men are the only ones who are guilty of this mindset, but it’s not true—women can also feel stifled by intimacy or put off in relationships where they feel “too wanted.”
Why don’t we want, in the words of Groucho Marx, to belong to a club that would have someone like us as a member? Oftentimes it can go back to those core beliefs that were formed by the time we were seven or eight years old. If we were fighting for the attention of a parent, or had a mother or father who was withholding of affection, we may find ourselves constantly engaging in a chase that we will never win.
To overcome this pattern and break these self-fulfilling prophesies you must change your beliefs and change your actions. Sometimes it can feel strange, but it’s easier to change our actions and watch our beliefs follow. Try new actions by confessing your fears before things escalate, let the person know you can feel yourself starting to have feelings for them, and it’s scary. Being vulnerable and opening up can lead to profound growth and transition. Even if it doesn’t feel “normal” to you, when you change your action your core belief will start to change as well.
Perhaps you’re the one who’s often getting “ditched” in relationships or you have a pattern of choosing partners who don’t meet your needs or leave you feeling less than fulfilled. Even in these cases, the onus is still on you to change. As we know all too well, while we can share with a partner and work together, we are responsible for our own behavior and actions.
Set yourself up for relationship success by breaking your patterns. The next time you have a date that’s not working, give yourself the go ahead to say, “It was nice meeting you, but I’m not interested in pursuing a relationship any further.” Reclaim the power you have to walk away and reframe the belief that you HAVE to make every date turn into a relationship or that this is your “only chance.”
In a new relationship you’re embarking on adventure, exploration and the thrill of connecting and getting to know another person. Intimacy, sex, and that all-important skin-to-skin contact are key to building a relationship, and part of the fun.
What happens when things become blah? And yes, it happens to almost everyone—after a time, we fall into patterns—get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch the news, go to bed (and sex is nowhere in the picture). As humans we are drawn to routine behaviors and establishing levels of normalcy; it’s just part of our nature. Because of this, yes, things can occasionally become less fiery and passionate than they were at first, but they also can become more deeply intimate.
If you’re committed to growth in your relationship and you and your partner are working together, you can achieve an even greater level of closeness, support and connectedness. It becomes less about physical intercourse and more about verbal and emotional intercourse. As you realize your own needs and articulate them to your partner, you’ll find ways to fulfill them yourself. At that point, sex is just the icing on the cake.
There are those couples that claim to still be all over each other like teenagers, while the rest of us look on with a raised eyebrow.
Be sure you aren’t using sex as a way to compensate or to connect over emotional distance. If you suspect this may be the case, then it’s time to do some exploration and transformational work to get your emotional intimacy back on track.
Love and sex are two different aspects of an intimate relationship, but they can be very beautifully intertwined. When you have a partner who is embarking on life’s journeys with you and you’re both challenging each other, it can be very fulfilling and help us work towards our best selves. Sometimes it’s hard work, but it’s so worth it.
If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, you can order our new relationships book: The Heart of The Fight, out now. To learn more about intimacy and the health of your relationships, go to Wright Now, right now!
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.