Taking Someone for Granted
Dear Judith & Jim,
When you move in with someone and make that person your home, it seems to me you have to start taking him or her for granted. Otherwise you spend each day alternately rejoicing and being scared to death of losing this wonderful new person in your life. Doesn't settling in with someone also mean losing some of the precious status? I'm still reading your book, so I will be looking for some answers there. I know you discuss keeping love alive, etc. So thanks in advance for that. I'll be making notes!
You act as though taking someone from granted is not a choice, and a practiced one at that. You say -- "...you have to start taking him or her for granted." How did you come to believe that you will be compelled, that you will "have to" do anything you don't want to do? A belief like that is not part of our packaging at birth. It is witnessed, accepted, and then integrated as though it represents the nature of reality. Where did you see it? Why do you accept it? There are a lot of things you've seen and not accepted. Why this?
Well one reason may be found in what you say about moving in with someone. You say that you "make that person your home." If that is a true expression of what you do, you place both you and him at a terrible risk, one that cannot help but fail. He is only a man. A wonderful one, no doubt, but only a man. He cannot be your home and you cannot be his. You make a home togther, each contributing from who and what you are. If he is your home, as you say, what happens if your home burns down, or the basement floods, or the wiring is old and shorts out. You are in deep danger. But what if he is a man who can feel burned out, or his intestines jam up, or he shorts out, sometimes without seeming cause? Well, since you would have your own sense of self, you can provide an understanding, demanding, challenging, and compassionate companion who is there for him, as he can be there for you when you get funky, grumpy, or just plain flat. That is a relationship in which you don't take each other for granted, but you co-create your life togther.
Finally you say -- "alternately rejoicing and being scared to death of losing this wonderful new person in my life." Well, life and love, and sometimes especially love, are risky. That's part of the game. He may die.
You may die. Excuse the pun but, that's life. And if you look closely enough, your fear is not about losing him but about not feeling enough to keep him.
However, as you build trust together, get through the inevitable battles, open to recognizing and respecting the differences between you, both positive and negative, you will build a foundation that you know is secure. That takes time, and trust, and effort, and patience, and deep commitment. Then your love will evolve to support you. Then you will not be afraid that you will lose him, because such fears will no longer be part of who you are, who he is, and what you have together.
We wish you the best.
© 2005, The New Intimacy
Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale
I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf
Husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski, are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. They provide corporate trainings on breaking through resistance to success and relationship workshops about The Magic of Differences--romance based on respect and value for each other's unique ways. As guest experts they've been on over 600 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at www.themagicofdifferences.com
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