Sex is the spice of life, but does it make a great relationship?
We are built to feel that it should. As animals, everything that we do is designed to serve the survival of our genes. When that urge is frustrated, we feel frustrated. But, you know, society demonstrates that survival of our genes doesn’t require a relationship. Women allowed to band together in peaceful community can see an infant through childhood without the help of men. Violent and manipulative men don’t need to hang around for their children to survive.
So if sex doesn’t define our mature relationships, what does?
A relationship is a negotiation of priorities. Some like to use the analogy of a dance. In dancing, we cannot move randomly. We must leave space for our partner.
Sociability is the way we talk about making space for ourselves. An adventurer is constantly exploring; a protector holds on to what they have. You may have seen those types on the dance floor. The first looks for space to move into; the second holds their ground and expects other people to move around them.
Nurturance is the way we talk about making space for others. A masculine strategy presents challenges for us to confront; a feminine strategy seeks to present challenges that suit our nature. The masculine dancer throws his partner into a dip, whether she is ready for it or not. The feminine dancer moves in close to reward the wallflower for simply trying.
So how should we pair up in relationships? Well, two adventurers are going to fly apart. Two protectors are never going to go anywhere. But put an adventurer together with a protector and you get the best of both worlds. Similarly, two masculine partners are going to exhaust each other with challenges; two feminine partners are going to lack motivation.
Natural relationships are complementary, rather than similar.
Unfortunately, when the relationship faces stress, we often don’t respect that complementary dynamic. The adventurer doubles down, seen by the protector as throwing good money after bad. The protector hunkers down, suffocating the adventurer with a stream of “No”s. The masculine partner expects change, which disrupts the social stability necessary to the feminine partner. The feminine partner buys time, which leaves troubles to mount up in the masculine partner’s mind.
Thinking of sociability as the width of the dance floor and nurturance as the depth, we end up pushing each other into behavioral corners.
Hypnotherapy helps wounded clients to come out of their corners. That begins with remembering how to feel good as an individual, and then extending that to patience with behaviors that trigger frustration. That creates opportunities to receive the gifts that first drew the lovers together.
But it all starts with understanding that allows us to celebrate our differences.