The Roots of Caring
Why does it seem so difficult to care for your partner in a long term relationship when that was all you wanted to do when you first met and couldn't do enough for each other?
In the initial stage of a relationship, we want to be close, love and be loved, care for and be cared for; so naturally we put our best foot forward. We minimize differences and maximize similarities. As our relationship progresses, we notice our differences more, we now feel constraints on our individual needs that had moved to the background as the couple's needs were the priority for both members.
We feel ourselves being more critical of some of what we consider our partner's shortcomings. As in social dancing, it is almost impossible, to dance so close without at some point stepping on each other's toes or hurting one another in some way at some point. This causes us to step back from one another and become more cautious and less trusting. Unfortunately,this is a natural process and has to happen when our differences collide as we attempt to navigate the challenges of living together.
Now we are more likely to keep score of who is caring for whom and our list of resentments begins to lengthen which makes it more difficult to give freely.
All of the above is also effected by our own childhood experience of being cared for by our parents or caregivers as well as our experience of being neglected. What did your parents teach you about relationships?
Were you indulged and grew up expecting that relationship were about you receiving?
Were you neglected and learned to take care of your own needs?
Were you taught that it was your responsibility to take care of your parents as their needs were more important than yours?
Were you taught the importance reciprocal relationships?-The need to give and receive
Next Week-How to care for your partner so she/he feel cared for.