Being seen and accepted for who we are is a basic need that specially plays out in our relationship. I find that the driver behind most conflict and dissatisfaction in relationships has to do with the partners feeling they can’t be themselves in one way or another.

Partners impart this message to one another in different ways: Giving open criticism, telling the other how to be and do things, being very helpful and taking over, undermining the other’s efforts, minimizing or dismissing the other’s experience, withdrawing from interactions and in other ways, not keeping promises, forgetting or not honoring agreements, refusing to compromise, interrupting or changing the conversation, making digs and I’m sure you can identify others. This (re)traumatizes partners and has a massive negative impact on the quality, and success, of their relationship.

As human beings we have the Prime Directive to be our Authentic and Unique selves. This is our gift to our world and humanity. It is our reason for Living. It is our job to fully engage our Selves and make a Contribution flowing from our Experience… When partners judge, criticize, control, demean, sabotage and other goodies they prevent each other from embracing their awesomeness, their Legacy, and from (identifying and) fulfilling their Life’s Purpose. 

Therefore, there is incongruency for partners between the experience in the relationship and their sense of Self.  This is where all the disagreement, not getting along, questioning, ambivalence, turmoil, etc. comes from. Partners fighting is an actual fight for survival – for survival of the Self!

Here is where the balance between security and identify needs comes in.There usually is a gender manifestation around this where the women (more female energied partner) champion for we-ness and togetherness and the men (more male energied partner) champion for individuality and space.

The approach to bridge these seemingly opposing needs is to set up a system that supports and encourages both: Staying connected to our partner while taking time for our Self and our pursuits, or doing things our way…

Bridging Needs System:

Strategy - Set up plans to pursue a hobby, interest, socializing, and the like or doing something your way that includes built-in safety around this for your partner: Sharing the Why this is important to you, details involved for transparency (safeguarding trust), and how to stay in connection or synchronized.

Management - Manage the feelings that come up in making and bringing up the plans; and in receiving the news of your partner’s plans. Fear of some sort usually comes up for both partners for different reasons…

Development - While not together or entertaining your partner’s different approach make the most of your separate time or differences. This is a huge opportunity to learn more about your Self, fine tune your craft, share your Gift, replenish and recharge, connect with others, expand your repertoire, stretch your comfort zone, and invest in your Self in any way that enriches your Journey.

Reengagement - Don’t beat up your partner upon reentry, or completion of engagement! Share any struggles you might have experienced from an opportunity-for-growth place, not as a mechanism to manipulate and control to take care of your neediness… Stretch to share and receive what was learned, enjoyed, gained, etc. Remember: It’s OK to be separate.

Synergy - Stay tuned for how you are growing as a person, as a couple, and as agents of Change…

Employ a Groundhog Day approach to your system – review how you did, where you might need assistance, what could improve, and what to tweak in your process next time. Keep doing this striving for a masterpiece system with the knowledge that it’s a work in progress and perfection doesn’t exist. Complete the MetroRelationship (sm) Assignment below to help you effortlessly implement this, make changes and immediately start experiencing the relationship you want.
Happy Groundhoging!

 ~ Your MetroRelationship (sm) Assignment
Take a moment to discuss this approach with your partner and create your Bridging Needs System. Explore which step might be particularly difficult for each of you and why, speaking about your own potential struggle. Do not speak for your partner… Share the why from a Self Development place, not from a blaming your partner place… Support each other in your individual stretch and growth.

Author's Bio: 

Emma K. Viglucci is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, is the creator of the MetroRelationship ™ philosophy and a variety of Successful Couples ™ programs and products that assist couples succeed at their relationship and life. To get your downloadable relationship enrichment insights and receive her weekly successful couples articles, nurturing nuggets (sm) and other resources visit: