Three Phases of a Relationship | From Being Single to the Interpersonal Relationship | Smothering Relationship
Once upon a time, you were single; you weren’t in a relationship except with parents, siblings and friends. That was no big deal because it’s what you knew; it was your life. Then you reach an age where unique relationships become essential. It could have been one never-ending-long-term relationship or many interpersonal relationships until you found the right one. Then, of course, you may have been enlightened and lucky enough to have a bit of everything. A time being single, a series of off/on relationships, a long-term relationship which was everything—affectionate, interpersonal, open, loving etc.
There are three phases to relationships—I call them being single, being smothered and being open.
You know what being single is about. You may love it and stay that way all your life; others want a special connection and spend years looking. The diagram says it all, there’s a distance between you and your special ‘someone’.
Being Smothered in the Smothered Relationship
You meet your mate. It’s incredible, the first months and years, you’re both affectionate, do lovely, crazy, and naughty things, live together, laugh and try to cry together, buy a home, and have children—all that society expects. Something happens, though. Someone needs to pull their weight.
That’s why I call it smothering. There’s no room to breathe. Essentially, what’s happening in your traits is flowing to the surface. Your traits are your rules and values. Controls are almost hard-wired; they are difficult (but not impossible) to change. Your values, on the other hand, are chargeable. However, most of us find it stressful to change them. Yet, changing values throughout our life helps us have a better life.
Back to being smothered. Is he smothering you, or are you smothering him?
Look at the diagrams; which are you? Be aware it doesn’t matter who’s smothering whom, whose fault it is, who started it or who’s more vulnerable. You’re both responsible.
Smothering Relationship Examples
Your view of being smothered may be different than these examples…
- You’ve been married for years; there’s virtually no sex, little laughter or deep conversation,
- You both occupy different bedrooms,
- Your partner comes home, hardly says anything, and goes into the back room (or TV room), leaving you with no one to talk to.
- You’re the one who cooks most of the meals, organises the children, works, tired, worn out, and
- When you say you’re going out with friends, your partner is either disinterested or tries to stop you.
- You have to organise outings, visits, holidays and household finances.
- Nothing is new or exciting any more, and all you seem to do is work.
- You and your partner drink excessive alcohol, smoke, or one of you does drugs.
The Interpersonal Relationship: The Open Relationship
A couple of months ago, I met a client who has been through it all—two children, cheating, a sociopathic husband, a divorce, and a few health issues. But, on meeting her, you would never know it. She’s vibrant, outgoing, cheerful and an absolute pleasure to be around. During the psychic readings (and now there have been a few), her life outlook is evident. She’s living her life to the fullest and out to enjoy it.
Years ago, she decided that she could close herself away, make her trade (personal development), chat with friends and family and generally be mundane and boring or change. So this woman leapt. Her giant leap was meeting a man who wanted an open relationship, so she went along. And it worked. In her work, she helps women through emotional crap. And as someone who had adapted to living in an open relationship, she started to help men connect with their wives and partners. What she does is talk candidly about sex. She’s even had sex with some of the men she’s helped. So I think you may judge my client. She’s got a track record of assisting couples to connect by talking to men who want to reconnect and communicate with their wives and partners.
The Open Relationship is Not Necessarily an Open Sexual Relationship
An open relationship is a communicative relationship. If you want a relationship like this, you must be prepared to dig down into your rules and values and be ready to transform a practice, modify your values, or even eliminate a value. This takes guts and willpower. For example, my client had extreme rules about partnerships, and she freed herself up by removing that rule from her psyche. However, she has strong traditions and values around cleanliness, openness, and honesty.
Could you take a look at the pic? We see a male and a female connected but not smothered. In this relationship, there are strong values around communication and honesty. There are no secrets. Nothing says either partner must do ‘so-and-so’; each has freedom of choice in what they do and who they do it with.
How would you react if your partner wanted to travel away for a week with an attractive colleague or previous partner? Would you react? Become jealous. What if it was the reverse? An old partner gets in contact on Facebook and wants to meet for a meal. Would you tell your current partner?
An open relationship says’s “Do it……”. But could you communicate it?
In 2018 the SBS Insight program discussed ‘Open Relationships’. This program told the stories of several couples in open sexual relationships and how they worked on their relationships. I’m not saying you need to operate your relationship as an open sexual relationship. What you can do, is use the principles—communicate with your partner. Test each other, but do it with love, understanding, tact and without fear or trepidation.