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  • Fe Robinson

What do you need to name in your relationship?

Intimacy is about being seen, emotionally as well as physically

‘To give a thing a name, a label, a handle; to rescue it from anonymity, to pluck it out of the Place of Namelessness, in short to identify it – well, that’s a way of bringing the said thing into being.’   Hanna Segal

There is much which is not said. This is true in relationships, and its true within our own selves as well. Oftentimes it seems easier to turn a blind eye, to pretend we don't notice, to just not acknowledge things that are uncomfortable. After all, who wants to feel awkward, or rude, or unhappy?

The trouble is, when you play down, avoid or ignore things that are bothering you, it does no good. While you may not always choose to give voice to what you notice externally, being true about it within yourself, in your own inner world, is the work of maturity. What an irony that it is a skill and way of being we are born with and practice without inhibition when young, and that it is social expectations and conventions that relieve us of this important practice.

In a relationship, we coexist with someone we love and respect. This does not mean they are perfect. We aren't either. Put two people in combination and all sorts of weird stuff can start happening as we play out our life's experience, expectations, beliefs and assumptions on the person closest to us. There just is stuff that is annoying, irritating, exasperating, concerning, saddening etc etc etc. This is the reality of an ongoing, meaningful, relationship. It is normal.

When we are able to process emotions freely, we can feel these feelings, allowing them to flow through us. We can decide which of the many rubs and bumps are ones to just let go, and which are important enough for us to connect and explore together. Give and take is essential, we can't have it all our own way.

To be able to make these judgement calls authentically, and to have respectful, loving dialogue about how we are and how the relationship and the other are for us (and for them), we first need to be honest inside.

Here are some prompt questions that may help:

What do you really feel?

What are you thinking?

What happens in your body as you notice these things?

What does this remind you of?

Is this a pattern from the past, does it have familiarity? If so, what does it trigger in you?

What is your part in generating or sustaining what is happening?

How would you like things to be different?

What are you prepared to do to contribute to this?

What is your request of the other?

When two people are able and willing to be true to their own experience, and to come together in a spirit of discovery and co-creation, then a relationship will have strength, flexibility, grace and harmony.

What do you need to name in your relationship?

If you feel you need help in individually finding the words, or in together speaking your truth, then get in touch for individual or couples psychotherapy.


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