Where Did The Passion Go?By Dr. Margaret Paul
November 26, 2012
Do you love your partner but find that the intensity and intimacy have become muted? Discover why.
Patti asked the following question in one of my webinars on sexuality:
I am now going out with the man of my dreams. I have wanted to be in relationship with him for so long. We used to be friends and I would be so excited to see him. Yet now that we are in a relationship (5 months), I am quietly happy, but the level of excitement I used to have seems to have disappeared. I don't seem to be able to access the range of emotions I ordinarily have. Would appreciate your insights. Thank you.
Patti, I'm sure this must be confusing to you, but it is much more common than you know – and there is a good reason for it.
When people are friends, they tend not be as invested in the relationship as when they are partners. As a result of not being as invested, their fears are not as activated. But now that you are with the man of your dreams, your fears are triggered and you are putting a lid on yourself, which is evident when you say that you don't seem able to access the range of emotions you ordinarily have. The question is – why?
There are a number of possible reasons for putting a lid on yourself:
You may have a fear of rejection and/or engulfment – of losing your partner or losing yourself. Putting a lid on yourself is a way to create distance and prevent vulnerability and intimacy, so that these fears are kept at bay.
You may be giving yourself up in the relationship – not speaking your truth, doing things you don't want to do, having sex when you don't want to – in order to control how your partner feels about you and to avoid being rejected by him, which is a form of self-abandonment. When we abandon ourselves, we may feel depressed – which may be what is occurring with you.
You may be abandoning yourself by making him responsible for your worth and lovability. Your feelings are your inner child, and instead of taking responsibility for defining your own worth, you may be giving your inner child away to your partner to define your worth. If you had an actual child, and instead of loving your child, you gave your child away to someone else to love, your child would feel abandoned by you, and may feel very depressed. This same thing happens on the inner level.
You might be judging yourself as not good enough for him. Again, this is a form of self-abandonment that can lead to a depression of feelings.
- If you feel that your partner is trying to control you and you are in resistance to being controlled, then your lack of access to your full range of emotions may be due to your resistance.
When two people create a relationship, very quickly a system takes over that might be similar to the system they saw as they were growing up. The ego wounded self takes over, trying not to get hurt, and the system itself often puts a lid on passion.
You might have a control-control system, with both of you overtly trying to control each other.
You might have a control-resistance system, with one of you trying to control and the other resisting being controlled.
You might have a control-compliance system, with one of you controlling overtly – with anger, blame, judgment, and so on – and the other giving yourself up, which is a covert form of control.
You might have a compliance-compliance system, with both of you giving yourselves up as a way to control.
- You might have a resistance-resistance system, with both of you pulling on each other for love and both of you resisting taking responsibility for the other.
Any of these systems may result in a lack of passion and a cutting off of feelings.
The way out of this is for each of you to learn to take full responsibility for your own feelings, learning to fill yourselves with love so you can share your love with each other. This is what happens when you practice Inner Bonding. Through the practice of Inner Bonding, you develop your loving Adult self, which heals the fears of rejection and engulfment that underlie these codependent relationship systems.
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Perfectionism is a form of control. "If I am perfect, then I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me." Life becomes much easier and more fun when we let go of having to be perfect and allow ourselves to be human.
By Dr. Margaret Paul