If the past does affect the present as Imago theory contends, then especially at the start, you are probably going to be partnered with someone who will trigger old negative feelings, often unintentionally (like the feeling of “being dismissed”). Therefore, you will need to come up with solutions so these same feelings don’t get triggered again, or if they do, the results are minimized. There are two suggestions I have found helpful for couples.
Number 1 – In a more conscious relationship, even if my partner does something I deem negative, what can I do to get a different outcome? This is not necessarily easy, but it is possible. Suppose, for example, my partner does something that in the past would take us down the rabbit hole, and I don’t want to go there, what can I do to get a different outcome?
Number 2 – You could tell your partner what would be more helpful for you, the next time a similar situation crops up. If you could do A, B, or C, that would be more helpful for me. And your partner could then ask you to do X, Y or Z in the same situation. The key here is that the change you are asking for, is not for the next 10 years, BUT FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO. If it doesn’t work, throw it out and try something else, but try something different.
The critical factor here is becoming more conscious, more aware. As couples become more conscious, they can then choose to change counter-productive behaviours into more productive ones. In order for change to occur, however, couples have to learn to talk with their partners, about anything, but in a safe manner. Next week we will look at the absolute importance of safety in an intimate relationship. I am not talking about just physical safety which is a given, but emotional and psychological safety.