Archive: August, 2012


Disappointments are part of life. They make us grow and pay attention to what we want, what we have, what we need and what we do not want, need or have.

They cause sadness and loss. They bring us into conscious awareness of our life and or relationships, what is lacking and what fulfilling. Disappointment awakens us to the dreams we had and sill want to satisfy. As such it can be a catalyst.

Realizing disappointment is not to blame a partner nor ourselves, but rather to bring conscious awareness to go after what we want. So many examples abound where someone has lost the race, gone bankrupt, the career ended or the relationship seeming on the rocks and so on. And, these same people do not give up but go to do even more fulfilling things. It is like they righted themselves to be more consonant with their course and proceeded on from there.

As Paul Coehlo, the author says in By the River Piedra I Sat Down and wept, “Our magic moment help us to change and sends us off in search of our dreams. Yes, we are going to suffer, we will have difficult times, and we will experience many disappointments — but all of this is transitory it leaves no permanent mark. And one day we will look back with pride and faith at the journey we have taken.” The quote and book title refer to emotion and emotional reactions and how to deal with them. It refers to having the courage to face reality. We could add that sharing the experience will help partners establish more intimacy and knowledge of each other. The strength of the emotion of disappointment can unite people, get them on the same page, bring out empathy and keep them on the road together.

Not to make this difficult emotion into something sweet, but like every emotion, it is many sided. The attitude with which we approach disappointment, how we express ourselves and that we express ourselves helps brings emotion into the open. This is the place it can be dealt with and shared. For example, we may have a disappointing conversation with our partner and by referring back to it and our feelings about it, our partner will understand our feelings. If our partner does not understand, he or she has the chance to not defend but ask and comment and this introduces the type of dialogues that in turn opens us to more emotions and more connection. What began as disappointing now can lead to partners exploring together many more emotions.

So, speak up.

Do not deny feelings.

Share your disappointments.

Use the feelings you have to reach out to your partner.

Help your partner understand yourself.


Susan Schwartz, Ph.D.

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The Road to Intimacy

As you ponder your love relationship, think about the ways you strive to be aware of creating intimacy. These do not have to be difficult or fancy but do require focus, care and consideration of and to yourself and your partner.

For example, do you contact your partner during the day by text, phone, with a thought, a communication that you are keeping him or her in your mind? Psychologically, this is called a reverie and means the person is in your heart and being. It is a non-verbal communiqué of the special mindset of one to another. Just see what happens when you tell your partner how much they mean to you, how often you think about them, how close you feel, how tender and how loving. It is the special and intimate ways of being in touch with each other that we too often miss in the busyness of the day. We think our partner knows about our love. But, just ask yourself, how would that person know unless you told them or showed them? None of us are mind readers.

Yet, somehow we think that love and attention should just happen. Our partner should just know that we want flowers or need a hug or want to have sex or need love. The beauty is that no one knows until you tell her or him. This is where the growth in a relationship of true intimacy takes place in the basics.

The process of communicating can seem obvious and mundane. Yet, it is in the mundane small things we do and say that a relationship gains in strength and intimacy. The notes of love and the discourse of love built up between people create the building blocks for making it a lasting affair.

Now, we want to add the paradox that love expressions are really not so simple. It requires thinking of and emotionally connecting in honesty and trust with your partner. It means not only focusing on yourself and what you need and want but what your partner needs and wants. Love is intricate and involves both self and other. Just like you cannot be wholly satisfied just attending to your own needs, you cannot just attend to those of your partner. There is a dynamic and a rhythm between you both that requires the daily ministrations to help develop.

Pay attention to what you want and need. Convey this to your partner. Pay attention to what your partner wants and needs and give it to your partner. In this way, the give also enables a return. Love needs nurturance and close watch. It is tender like a soufflé. It takes time to cook and is worth the minute-by-minute careful and caring emotion and wants to be met.

Intimacy takes intensity. So does trust. The workout love requires of us is not an easy one. It is serious business that has huge rewards when partners are cognizant of tending to the precious commodity of love.

Susan Schwartz, Ph.D.

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