Are You in Love? Or Just Attached?

Do you find that you spend a lot of your day thinking about your partner, and texting or calling them? Do you spend much of your time trying to control what they do? Trying to change them? Is your happiness wrapped up in their behaviours? If only they would be more this way or that…

Attachment is when we bind ourselves to another person, such as a partner. We begin to associate our own identity with that of our partner, so that the two identities eventually form one unit. When you hear the term “losing yourself in a relationship,” it applies to attachment, as you literally wrap up your identity in another person. This behaviour seems to stem from fear and discomfort at the thought of losing the love we feel or losing the partner.

When we attach ourselves emotionally, we begin to rely on our partner for our happiness. The partner, and the status of the relationship begins to shape our reality. So if you are having a good day, it’s because your relationship is having a good day. If you feel sad or unhappy, it is a result of an argument, or distance in your relationship.

Even though it feels like we are becoming closer with our partner, we are actually losing a sense of an identity apart from that person. Soon, we become “enmeshed” in the relationship. Enmeshment is a term that comes from Family Systems Theory that describes a relationship in which the two people find it difficult to function without each other.

Signs that you are enmeshed may include:

You believe that it is your role to make your partner happy.

You and your partner do not have separate interests, hobbies or social lives.

You don’t go anywhere or do anything, besides work, without each other.

You are jealous when your partner spends time away with you or with others.

You have the urge to control what your partner does.

Your mood depends on your partner’s treatment of you.

You consistently turn down invitations from friends in order to spend time with your partner.

You are afraid that if you do not share the same views as your partner, he or she will leave you.

If you tell your partner, “You make me feel bad about myself,” or even, “You make me feel good about myself,” both of these statements are signs of attachment, because you are allowing your partner to dictate how you feel.

How do you take your enmeshed relationship, and turn it into a loving one?

Learning to feel secure in your own skin, and no longer relying on your partner to reassure you of your buy xanax online to usa worth are the first steps toward healing your relationship.

Become aware of the attachment you have for your partner. How do you treat your partner? If you love, respect and trust him or her, you are probably in a loving relationship. If you find yourself manipulating, guilt tripping, or nagging at your partner, you may be enmeshed.

Before speaking or acting, ask yourself what the motivation behind your actions or words are. Are they a reflection of how you truly feel? Or are they to force your partner into doing something, to make them feel guilty, or to get their attention?

Next, both partners need to learn to stand on their own two feet. If you or your partner feel sad, stressed, or angry, you can both learn to sooth yourselves. Work through the problem, validate your own concerns, and find an activity that will help to calm you. For some, this is a fast-paced exercise to work out aggression, while for others, a calming breathing exercise or meditation may be the answer. Let your partner deal with the issue by themselves, because if you always swoop in to rescue them, they will continue to rely on you for support.

Shift your focus. Do you spend a lot of time care-taking for your partner and thinking about them? What if you spent 20% of your efforts on yourself– how much better would you feel? It is okay to set boundaries.

On the opposite spectrum, you may constantly criticize or “nitpick” at your partner, wanting them to change certain behaviours. Instead of trying to change someone else (which you cannot control), work on changing yourself (something you CAN control). Become the person you want to be, and you may just inspire change in your partner, without the nagging and criticism.

Try doing something without your partner. Find an activity that you can enjoy, that have nothing to do with your relationship. This is just for you! This could include painting, exercising, reading, taking cooking classes, joining a social group, etc.

Make time to be away from your partner. Trust that whatever activity he or she chooses to do in this time does not threaten your relationship, even if you do not agree or are not interested in what they are doing!

Most of all, celebrate the differences between you and your partner. Contrast makes things interesting! If you let a relationship consume your entire being, you will wake up one day with no sense of who you are.

So think about it! Who are you? What do you like to do? How do you feel today? Celebrate yourself, and your relationship will thank you!

 

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