Megan Weks is a certified dating and relationship coach who specializes in helping women gain power and success with men. She offered us her professional insight on the importance of developing our personal autonomy within an intimate relationship, and recognizing our values and needs and speaking these truths to ourselves, as well as our partners.
If one partner in the relationship is more emotionally mature than the other partner, any attempt on their part to further develop more autonomy results in the other partner feeling threatened? Why is this true? Every relationship has an ebb and flow of autonomy and closeness. Some people have a natural need for greater autonomy in a relationship. It takes maturity and consciousness to recognize and understand that a partner’s values and personal needs may differ from your own. Often, when two people enter a relationship they are not acting as their true authentic selves. There are parts of ourselves that we hide underneath qualities that we think will be easier to love. As we venture toward comfort in a relationship we may find that we are not happy putting up a facade any longer. Our true selves are inevitably revealed over time. As this occurs, the partner with the greater need for autonomy may seek to satisfy this need in ways which are different from the relationship’s currently established patterns. This may be alarming to the other partner. It is highly important that relationship values and personal needs are discussed early on in the relationship process so that a couple can understand each other and coexist in the most conscious way; learning to appreciate the other person and their differences in needs.
“OFTEN, WHEN TWO PEOPLE ENTER A RELATIONSHIP THEY ARE NOT ACTING AS THEIR TRUE AUTHENTIC SELVES. THERE ARE PARTS OF OURSELVES THAT WE HIDE UNDERNEATH QUALITIES THAT WE THINK WILL BE EASIER TO LOVE.”
How does the dynamic of a relationship change when it moves from need to desire? Initially, relationships tend to be all about fun and excitement. Both individuals desire each other and a partnership begins to form. Each still has his or her own individual life fully in-tact. Understandably, as the relationship progresses, the lives of the individuals begin to intertwine. The partners may become more dependent on one another, and, inasmuch they will begin to have more of a “need” for one another. Relationships and families are built into our species as a mechanism for survival. We are hardwired to depend on one another. Over time, however, if one person loses him or herself in the relationship, they can become overly dependent on their partner. This can become a drag for the person being depended upon. When this happens, a “weight” is added to the relationship and much of the fun and “lightness” that previously defined the couple is diminished. This weight can put unnecessary strain on the relationship and it certainly is an attraction killer! Dependent partners beware! Your dependency can open you up to being controlled, and you may find yourself in a position where you are lacking power in the overall union.
Do you believe men are intimidated by women who know what they want? Men find women who know what they want to be extremely sexy. The key here is that a women knows how to properly express what she wants in a way that does not put pressure on any specific man. In my work, I show women how to use what I call “The Abundance Model”. This model of dating helps women to quickly get what they are looking for while inspiring the right man to step up to the plate. When you are exploring more than one man and refuse to commit until you know you are on the same page with a man, knowing what you want can be extremely powerful. On the other hand, if you are in a relationship with a man and you are pushing for certain things with only him, he may feel tremendous pressure. If a man is intimidated by a strong women who knows what she wants, than that man would not be an ideal candidate, and therefore, good riddance. Only a person who is confident in himself will be able to love you the way you desire and deserve.
Why is it vital that we work at maintaining our personal identity as the relationship deepens and evolves? How can we do this while remaining open to intimacy? Individual curiosity and the continuation of learning about oneself, keeps the desire alive in a union. If we fail to stay current with ourselves and our own personal interests, we lose ourselves in our partnership and in the lives and interests of our partners. The relationship becomes stale and uninteresting. Attraction is a vital component of a primary relationship, and maintaining a strong sense of self is key to keeping this attraction strong and alive. When attraction wanes in a relationship, one or both of the partners decreases their motivation to please the other and ceases to maintain the behaviors necessary to keep the relationship running well.
“IF WE FAIL TO STAY CURRENT WITH OURSELVES AND OUR OWN PERSONAL INTERESTS, WE LOSE OURSELVES IN OUR PARTNERSHIP AND IN THE LIVES AND INTERESTS OF OUR PARTNERS.”
How can we avoid being swept up in the emotions of our partners and continue to hold onto ourselves in the middle of conflict? During conflict, it is easy to be emotionally triggered and to act in ways that are damaging to the relationship. Most commonly it is the words that come out that are damaging. There are, of course, other damaging behaviors that occur during altercations that can harm a relationship and even cause irrevocable damage. It does take practice, but if you can work on waiting a handful of minutes and stepping away from the argument before reacting, you can greatly reduce the damage caused by heat-of-the-moment acting-out. Stepping away gives you the time to get inside of your own body and mind and to really feel what is going on inside. Instead of acting-out in drama and damaging words you will have the time to center your emotions, regain your composure, and avoid much unnecessary heartache. Ask yourself: “what am I really feeling about this?” EXAMPLE: Do you feel jealousy? What is underneath that jealousy? It is your fear of being alone or losing your partner. Put blame aside and focus on your internal feelings before addressing the issue with your partner. You can then calmly state how you are feeling about the situation and ask what your partner thinks. Realizing that underneath every act of damaging drama and somewhere in every conflict there are primal fears present, is a key component of conscious expression. In the moment of conflict, and during your moment of reflection, remind yourself of your values and where you stand; what your point is, and why you have that point of view. You can consider other points of view, but be clear on your own values and stick to them. It can be easy to stray from your sense of self when being influenced by someone with whom you have a strong emotional tie. When you determine that this conflict may be due to some of your own primal fears of abandonment or fear of losing your partner, you may realize you were acting out of fear and not from your values. You may want to evaluate your point of view. When you start to recognize where dramatic acts in altercations stem from, you will be able to identify these triggers before they cause problems. Connecting your fears to your feelings and learning how to express them authentically can turn a moment of conflict into deeper intimacy with your partner.
“REALIZING THAT UNDERNEATH EVERY ACT OF DAMAGING DRAMA AND SOMEWHERE IN EVERY CONFLICT THERE ARE PRIMAL FEARS PRESENT, IS A KEY COMPONENT OF CONSCIOUS EXPRESSION.”
One of the profoundly beneficial aspects of a healthy relationship is the experience of allowing the relationship to help us to develop and mature as a person. How do you know when a relationship is changing you for the worse? When you are in a relationship that is not serving you, you will fail to reach your full potential as a person. When we are being beat down by our partner because they fear our growth, it can be detrimental to our personal development. When you are at a standstill and do not feel that you are able to do the things that you used to love, or you have completely lost interest in those things, the relationship may be changing you for the worse.
“CONNECTING YOUR FEARS TO YOUR FEELINGS AND LEARNING HOW TO EXPRESS THEM AUTHENTICALLY CAN TURN A MOMENT OF CONFLICT INTO DEEPER INTIMACY WITH YOUR PARTNER.”
How can we balance independence and intimacy in a relationship? Many people experience the feeling of suffocation in a committed, intimate, relationship. It is important that if more autonomy is needed, that it is taken. When an individual has had the time to recharge, they will bring a renewed sense of love and passion back to the union. Both partners need to work to retain their individuality through their own curiosities and interests. In order to continue the individual growth process while in a committed relationship, it is important to follow your own personal interests and continue to work at them with intent. People who expand on their individual interests and hobbies have far more to offer a partnership and become more interesting overall. A strong sense of self that is built by following curiosities and working on them with intent, will help an individual to feel great about him or herself and to enjoy the benefits and excitement of life through their continued personal development. To retain attraction in an intimate union, it is crucial that the individuals are able to retain their individuality by balancing independence and intimacy.
“A STRONG SENSE OF SELF THAT IS BUILT BY FOLLOWING CURIOSITIES AND WORKING ON THEM WITH INTENT, WILL HELP AN INDIVIDUAL TO FEEL GREAT ABOUT HIM OR HIMSELF AND TO ENJOY THE BENEFITS AND EXCITEMENT OF LIFE THROUGH THEIR CONTINUED PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT.”
How do you know that you’ve lost your identity in a relationship? Does it mean the relationship is over? When you have lost yourself in a relationship, you will be overly focused on the external. An example of this is constant worry and wonder about what your partner is doing for you. You’ll feel anxious and fearful of losing the person. Remember, there is always room for growth and improvement in a relationship. If you have the consciousness to realize that you are becoming overly needy and dependent, it is not too late to get ahold of yourself and back to working on your individuality.
HERE ARE A FEW STEPS TO DO THIS:
- Make a list of friends and family whom you have not spent time with recently. Make plans each week to do something social outside of your relationship with those you care about.
- Make a list of hobbies or curiosities. Sign up for classes and activities and follow through on them even when you do not feel “up for it”. We can only have strong personal development when we are able to follow through on our curiosities and interests with intent.
- Change everything. Explore with a new style of clothing or makeup. Take a look at your schedule and start doing things out of routine or in a completely different order.
- Increase or alter your self-care regimen. If you do spin classes twice a week in the evenings, you may want to take a break from this and sign up for an intense boot camp commitment. Increased exercise will only benefit you. Start mediating. Try yoga. Take a spiritual trip or journey or join a workshop in a new location.
- Get out in the community and help others in need. Do this without your partner. The closer you can work with an individual in need, the more benefit it will have to your soul. You could make an elderly friend who doesn’t have many people left in their life. Additionally, do one random act of kindness per week.
These steps will help you gain perspective on the world outside of your relationship. They will help you grow your sense of self back and bring meaning to your life.
When you regain your individuality you will have more to contribute to your intimate relationship. It is difficult to maintain attraction in a union where sense-of-self is lost by either partner. Attraction is a critical component of a successful relationship.
Megan Weks is a dating and relationship coach who specializes in helping women gain power and success with men. She is a certified specialist in her field, but one of her biggest credentials is her personal story. Living in New York City for over a decade, Megan has had the opportunity to meet and date many different types of men.
Megan, (and her mom), could never understand how her boyfriends could so easily walk away from their relationship with her. It was not until she discovered a relationship guru and eventually trained under this wonderful woman, that things began to change for Megan; she literally changed from crumb-picking and obsessing over men who didn’t deserve her, to a man whisperer who men (including her now-husband) would never leave. Megan’s career is now devoted to helping other women who struggle with the men in their lives, to turn it all around. She is helping countless women find and keep the men they desire. Megan coaches individual women one-on-one in intense programs with her proven Lean Back for Love System and principles. She also runs a private woman’s discussion group online where women support one another with these principles. You can connect with her on her website www.meganweks.com – or reach out to her on Facebook or Twitter.