by Todd Creager
I am called a relationship therapist/ marriage counselor/ sex therapist. When working with couples, I can also be called a tour guide that takes you both on an interpersonal safari. Safaris are adventurous; you never know exactly what is up ahead. I am your guide in this process whether you come for therapy sessions, do phone consults, webinars or read my book, “The Long, Hot Marriage.” It is all about leaving the familiar.
Unsatisfied in Your Relationship?
The reason couples are unsatisfied in their relationship is because they stay with the familiar. They do the same things, say the same things and even think the same things. Extroverts extrovert and don’t listen, introverts introvert and don’t express. If your father cheated on your mother, you unconsciously expect the same thing in your relationship. If your mother abandoned you in some way, you live as if your wife will abandon you as well. All this makes for a lot of self-protection, putting up walls and disconnecting in some way. Whenever there is any emotion around, each partner does a series of fight or flight reactions which are meant to protect oneself from loss and instead lead the relationship right into the loss they each dread and try so hard to avoid.
The answer is courage, namely, the courage to drop the self protection and be willing to get hurt. That does not mean you will be hurt or should plan on getting hurt in your relationship; however if you are not willing to get hurt/ rejected/ judged, you will stay safe, small and protected. You will not love fully nor will you allow love into your heart from your partner.
Being Brave in Your Relationship
This intimate relationship stuff is not a game for cowards. You need to develop the courageous, mature parts of yourself that are willing to lose. When you are not trying to win/ be right/ defend, there is room to listen to your ‘disagreeable’ partner. There is room to take some chances; reveal something important about yourself, possible your fears or secret desires. You can experiment with new behaviors that could nourish your partner and yourself more in the relationship. You could try new things in your sex life and not worry about a virtuoso performance.
That is easier said than done. You want to do it but there is a stubborn, strong part of you that tries to protect you every step of the way. This part of you means well but is not helpful in intimacy. You need to firmly and courageously stand up to that part of you and “go for it” in the relationship. Take that chance, get rejected possibly or maybe even accepted more than ever before. Seek a qualified therapist/coach/interpersonal tour guide such as myself to help you take those necessary leaps of faith in your relationship. Read my book and do the exercises that will catalyze your growth and ultimate increased satisfaction. Don’t settle for what previous generations and even your own peer group may be settling for. Your relationship can be fantastic. Be brave and bon voyage!
From Sarah: Todd Creager is an accomplished Speaker, Therapist, Consultant and Author. At his website: The Todd Creager Center for Successful Relationships, you can find out more about how to have a successful relationship.