Good Monday Readers! We hope you had a great weekend. It seems we have just had the longest winter on record because being outside seems so weird and foreign to everyone. This must be what Punxsutawney Phil feels like when they pull his furry ass out of his tree every year and hold him up for every asshole who thinks it’s cool to get up at 4:30 am in frigid temperatures to watch a rodent predict the weather. Sorry, some times the references are just for us. You see, we don’t do sun and we live in Miami. We know. We ask ourselves this question all the time. The truth is we are here because 14 years ago we couldn’t afford a house in Los Angeles, our home town. Also, we became parents after the riots. Let’s just say, L.A. didn’t seem all that friendly after watching the glowing skies and seeing people carry sofas out of storefronts on TV.
This week we are going to discuss safety. It doesn’t sound sexy but the truth is that without it, you can never have a good relationship. I’m not talking about the kind of safety that involves ninjas. I am referring to emotional safety. The feeling that you can do whatever you want with a person because you know that the most trauma you will receive is some chafing and a pulled muscle.
Emotional safety is something that is cultivated. It isn’t magical and requires an investment from both individuals. People mention the need for communication as key to creating a healthy relationship. The reality is that a deep dialogue between two people creates a space of safety. You explain your feelings, desires and boundaries to your partner and hopefully they do the same. This breeds trust and ultimately security.
Now people try to fake this. People, mainly women, like to pretend they are safe with their partners and make a big show of how wonderful things are. Then you hear that the same woman lies to her partner or commit sins of omission (sometimes the old Catechism kicks up). Now men, you are not exempt from this. Many men who lack safety in relationships tend to be jealous and, in some cases, can get violent.
You ask, ‘But Lee, this happens to a lot of couples. It’s normal.’ And my answer to that is, ‘Why do you think the blog is called CoupleDumb?’ Fighting, lying, violence and all the other ‘normal’ things in a relationship are purely dysfunctional behaviors that mask a lack of safety in the individual and couple. Just because your parents did it does not make it normal. Usually that means it’s even more fucked up than you thought.
What happens to an animal when it gets scared? Some animals shut down and cower and others fight. This is what happens in relationships. When we experience fear, whether the feeling was elicited due to a challenge of position or opinion, we react based on our circumstances. If we feel insecure, we either play dead or the nails pop out and we spring into battle. Couples learn early on how to react with their partners and then reinforce the fighting with make up sex (If you don’t remember what we said about this go back and read it. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.)
Healthy couples dialogue from a place of safety with no need to play possum or to pull out the big guns. Creating a safe place is easier than you think and with some coaching, your relationship will be a lot better. Or you can go back and earn your yellow belt in bitching and back-stabbing.