Tag Archives: Fairy tale

The last romantic – part 2

I’ve been labelled many things in my lifetime, the most recent of which is “the last romantic standing”. If you’ve read part 1 of ‘The last romantic’, I’m sure you will understand why.

While I now understand that relationships are not by any means plain sailing, surely I can’t be all wrong in the ideal of finding that perfect love connection? After all, doesn’t every teapot have its own lid? ;)

In spite of a failed first marriage and the fact that my second husband is not a romantic by any count, I can’t seem to let go of the idea that the kind of intense love that slays all obstacles in its path and transcends the ugly reality of any situation still exists. I actually still believe in a “happily ever after”!

The pursuit of my very own happy ending has led me down an interesting path – or more of a scenic route really; a path that could’ve perhaps been made easier if I had not fallen in love with a man who is my polar opposite. For example, I am emotionally expressive, he is emotionally reserved. I am communicative, he is restrained. I am a romantic and idealist, he is a pragmatic realist.

Author: Bagande

Being attracted to a partner who does not share the same attributes or ideals is not uncommon. However, the danger lies in the fact that what often attracts us to our partner in the beginning is what can cause contention in the relationship years down the line.

The psychology behind this can be discovered in Imago Relationship Therapy. Imago is the Latin word for ‘image’. The therapy focuses on the belief that we all have a unique image of familiar love that has developed from birth i.e. how we were loved and felt loved, whether positive or negative, by our parents/caregivers and other significant adults in our childhood.

Dawn J. Lipthrott, LCSW, describes it so well in her article, ‘What is Imago Relationship Therapy, anyway?

The marriage

In short, we subconsciously look for a partner who represents the positive and the negatives of the adults from our childhood. One reason is because we want to re-create our past hurts so that we can arrive at a different outcome. This is how seemingly opposite people end up in relationships and marriages without a cooking clue how to address the challenges of viewing life so differently.

According to my own experience, this is how Imago Relationship Therapy has helped – and is still helping – my husband and I to achieve a healthy, balanced and happy marriage. It’s a win-win scenario: a more romantic fairy tale marriage thanks to practical and real solutions.

Step 1:
We had to develop a combined relationship vision. This is now proudly displayed on our fridge and serves as a reminder on what we want to achieve.

Step 2:
We had to acknowledge our caregivers’ positive and negative traits and this meant also remembering buried childhood wounds and frustrations. From there, we could finally see for ourselves how we searched for a partner with similar traits to our caregivers. As our partners cannot give us what we longed for as a child, understanding and recognising this fact is a crucial step in the right direction.

Step 3:
The third step was learning how to effectively communicate and to share our needs with our partner by using tools such as the Couple’s Dialogue and Container Transaction.

Step 4:
Finally, we had to put everything together and self-integrate the aspects of our disowned, lost and false selves to figure out what our true self is. I know it sounds a little weird, but it makes sense when you see how it all fits together.

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The last romantic – part 1

Since my early childhood, I’ve been in love with the notion of being in love.

I blame two factors for this old-fashioned romantic frame of mind, the first of which can be attributed to the warm and fuzzy fairy tales of damsels in distress and knights in shining armour told to many a young girl.

English: : Prince Charming meets Cinderella in...My generation, and that of my mother’s and my grandmother’s, have grown up reading these soppy stories. “Happily ever after” is a guarantee and all we need to do is wait patiently for the hero to ride up on his powerful steed and sweep us off our feet.

The second factor to blame is of course Hollywood! I echo the sentiments of my fellow blogger, Laughing.Loving.Eating: “Hollywood: you lie!”. All those classic Doris Day, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies of yesteryear have taken their toll. I become all soft and mushy at the mere suggestion of a man courting a woman. My mind conjures up thoughts of elaborate romantic gestures, public declarations of undying love and perfect moments of pure bliss.

No-one prepared me for the harsh reality of love and relationships. It’s the thirteenth fairy tale never told to little girls: Prince Charming sometimes never arrives, and if he does he’s often late for his appointment.

Relationships are hard work and very seldom a bed of roses. This is what I’ve learnt in my thirty-five years:

  1. Love is an ideal concept characterised by feelings only. Real love is a choice – every morning on waking, you make a choice to love your husband/partner.
  2. Compromise and communication are two key pillars in a relationship. Without either of these, a relationship will never reach its full potential.
  3. Complacency and apathy are stealthy relationship assassins. It takes daily effort to keep a relationship fresh, exciting and harmonious.
  4. Sex can be likened to a candle: the flame burns bright and strong at the beginning of a relationship, but eventually dies down to a small, warm glow … which still, by the way, lightens a room.
  5. Every man has a knight in shining armour in him, but is far from a knight in shining armour.
  6. A husband/partner should never be expected to emotionally fulfil a woman completely. A woman needs good friends to share her life with and a support structure in family and friends to keep her strong and balanced.
  7. A relationship is not defined by how great the good times are, but how you get through the bad times.
  8. A husband/partner doesn’t need to know everything! Sometimes, what you think is insignificant or of no consequence, could actually hurt him or create insecurity if he knows.
  9. You don’t need to do everything together. Having your own interests, style, hobbies, friends etc. is healthy.
  10. Most importantly, learning to love your husband/partner in the way he understands – and vice versa – will make the biggest positive impact in any relationship. Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” is truly an eye opener.
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