Susie & Otto


Is It Possible To Have Too Much Togetherness?

As record heat fries the eastern half of the USA (including where we live) over the past few days, experts warn of the dangers of over-exposure to our bodies.

It's just plain hot.

Even if you aren't struggling with this heat wave where you live, chances are you've taken some kind of vacation with your family or maybe gotten together with family or friends for an extended time together.

If you have ever spent some extended time with more intense interaction than you normally do, there's also a pretty good chance that with all of this social interaction and "togetherness," you might feel a bit "over-exposed" to the ones you love.

You might have felt like there was a little too much togetherness and your love (and patience) may have been tested :-) .

After a brief vacation together, one family we know found themselves picking arguments with each other that was out of the ordinary for them.

The dad made the comment to us that "We've been together a little bit too too long right now."

What we know is that "over-exposure to the ones we love" feeling, along with the stresses that vacations can bring--heat, dealing with crowds of people, trying to get around in unfamiliar places, erratic eating schedules or rich and unfamiliar food --can certainly play havoc in the best relationships, even if you think you're doing pretty well.

If you can relate...

Here are some specific ways you might react when you've been together a little too long or have "vacation-itis" and some suggestions to "cool" down your and others' emotions and reactions...

1. Communication misfires that come up now and then seem to be exaggerated and over-blown. Carla and her husband Jay rented a kayak when they were vacationing together in the Great Lakes region.

Being relatively new to kayaking, they found that they became very irritated with one another as they tried to paddle (sometimes in opposite directions) to their destination.

They couldn't establish a rhythm that worked for both of them--Carla wanted to paddle slower than Jay and he became anxious when they were out of sync.

On top of that, they each seemed to have their own "plans" for getting where they were going but "forgot" to share them with each other.

Normally, they get along pretty well but it became clear that their usual way of communicating (or not communicating) didn't work as well when they were in one boat, trying to go in one direction.

And it was a metaphor for what happens in their life together.

Afterwards their kayak experience, Carla discovered that she pushes Jay to be the leader but then does her own thing when she feels afraid or triggered.

Jay discovered that when he gets irritated with Carla, he becomes superior and sarcastic which only makes the situation and communication worse.

We talk a lot about "magic words" that can make a big difference in your communication and if Carla or Jay had asked one of our "Magic Words" questions like this...

"How can we make this situation work better?"...with a completely open heart, their kayak trip might have been more enjoyable.

They could even have some fun with it and imagine all kinds of ways to make their situation better--like sawing the kayak in half or skipping the paddling part and going for a swim from the boat--along with clearly talking about a plan that might help them work together.

As you can clearly see, "Magic Words" and questions like these can truly make a big difference in the quality of your communication and your love when you use them....

Another way that too much time together can create a feeling of "overexposure"...

2. Trust and jealousy issues come to the forefront. If there are any jealousy and trust issues in a relationship, they get triggered big time in the summer when other men and women wear practically nothing.

Pam felt very uncomfortable thinking about going on a vacation with her husband Paul to the Bahamas because of all the women in bikinis they would see on the beaches.

Normally, they didn't go many places where she would have to endure having him look at these other women wearing practically nothing--so it wasn't too much of a problem--except now and then.

But when Pam's jealousy did erupt, it put a damper on everything--and she certainly didn't want that to happen on her vacation.

In this situation, we'd recommend that Pam practice noticing her self-talk and the stories she makes up when she gets jealous.

When she identifies her "stories"--like the story that Paul wants to be with the woman in the bikini more than her, she can question whether she knows that's true or not.

If she's honest with herself, she'll admit that she doesn't know that's true--and then she can learn to switch her thinking to examples of when he's shown her that he loves her.

As she changes her focus, she learns to calm her suspicious thoughts and jealousy.

3. If you're feeling like there's too much togetherness, you might even begin to wonder why you're with your partner because the two of you just can't seem to get along. Okay, so this is extreme but it might cross your mind in the throes of conflict and when you've really had enough of each other.

If this happens, take a breath, take a walk by yourself or do something that will break the stale-mate that you can't seem to get out of.

When you both are in a calmer, more centered place, talk about what you both want and need. And listen to each other.

If your disagreements are deeply-rooted and you need some help getting some resolution, don't give up on the relationship until you've gotten the help of a therapist or coach.

If you want help sorting out your situation in complete privacy, we have a program "Should you stay or should you go?" at that can help you.

Over-exposure to each other can be a good thing.

It can lead you to discovering some valuable things about each other that will open the door to deepening your love and connection if you're open to working through the challenges of the moment when you get irritated or overexposed.

So have fun this summer and remember your sun screen.

©2010, Susie & Otto Collins

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Susie and Otto Collins are spiritual and life partners who are committed to helping others create outstanding relationships of all kinds. They regularly write, speak and conduct workshops and seminars on love, relationships and personal and spiritual growth to audiences all across the USA. They are the creators of the "Relationship Toolkit" which has helped people in over a dozen countries improve their relationships. It includes a video called Spiritual Partnerships plus two booklets Love and Relationship Success Secrets and 101 Relationship Quotes Worth a Million Dollars! You can also read more articles like these and subscribe to their weekly newsletter on love and relationships by visiting their web site at Their new E-book Should You Stay or Should You Go? has just been released and is now available See Archives 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001. Other Relationship Issues, Books

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