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Old 07-27-2013, 07:25 AM
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Anyanka Anyanka is offline
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Default (Not) Identifying through couplehood

This is adjacent to my post in the relationships section - I am not sure if it belongs here or there .. so, I hope I have posted in the right place.

A couple of the responses I received on my first thread talked about not tethering one's identity to a partner/lover/spouse (s) and I must admit, I find this idea both challenging and intriguing and would like to know more from those willing to spend some time telling me their perspective/s and stories.

I am very self-focused in all relationships bar romantic ones. This includes family and even my children - I love and adore them but I don't actually consider part of my identity as being their 'mother'. I should add that they are both in their 20's now so that aspect of my life has lessened considerably but, really, I never identified strongly as being a parent, that was a part of what I did .. but not who I was.

However, when it comes to romantic relationships, I become completely immersed .. I lose all sense of self for the first 6-9 months and I strongly identify as being one half of a couple (all relationships I have had have been mono, and I am just on the precipice of toe-dipping into poly with my current guy).

While it would be possible to just accept that this is the way I am wired, or what my childhood has made of me [insert other reason here], the fact is that one of the things that brings me the most angst in relationships is that I am terrified of them ending.

I just want to clarify: I am not a clingy person, I don't smother or trap or anything like that, I am actually very easy-going. I recognise that my issues are mine and 90% of the time I am able to deal with my anxieties around this on my own without it impacting my partner. There isn't really a problem in this respect, I have never, ever had a partner say that I am too involved/clingy/needy or anything like that so, that really isn't the issue.

The issue is that when things end, I completely derail. And I am not talking about lying in bed crying for a week .. I am talking serious derailment here.

Obviously, this occurs because I have this tendency to see myself in terms of my partner rather than as an individual who happens to be involved with another person .. I can see that. What I cannot see is how to address or change that - and I would dearly love to.

I am a bit attached to this aspect of myself and I am pretty sure that it won't be easy to make changes here - my relationships are always intense, very intense - most of my ex's and my current have all commented that things are 'very intense with' me - and they are . And while this is the positive that I adore, the negative is that it is just as intense when it ends.

I am not sure if this makes much sense .. but if anybody has some words of wisdom, I'm listening.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:35 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I can relate to much of what you wrote. I have to get ready for work right now (so what am I doing checking out the forum?), so I don't really have time to write a long response, but just wanted to say that this past year I realized that I had a pattern of thinking that kind of ruled how I approached relationships. When they end, I lose it. What is ingrained in me is the notion that "I am nothing without a man." I don't really believe that in my logical mind, but it's a way of viewing the world that was taught to me at a very early age (maybe even before I could talk), so it kind of clicks on like automatic pilot whenever I start liking someone intensely or find myself loving someone.

All I can do is be aware of this belief and see where it creates behaviors or thoughts in me that will get me in trouble. When one is aware of what mechanisms are in place (in our minds), then at least we have a choice not to go there. I have been told I expect too much in relationships. Ugh. I hate hearing that because when I am present and in a good place within myself, I am a very easygoing, giving, and open-minded person, not very jealous, and very forgiving. But when that pattern of thinking takes over, I am a needy, clingy basket case.

Okay, I have to go, but just had to respond. Will check this thread again when I get home! I'd love to see what other responses you get.
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:02 PM
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Thanks nycindie !

I look forward to hearing more about your experience/s and how you have addressed it/them!
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:14 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
All I can do is be aware of this belief and see where it creates behaviors or thoughts in me that will get me in trouble. When one is aware of what mechanisms are in place (in our minds), then at least we have a choice not to go there. I have been told I expect too much in relationships. Ugh. I hate hearing that because when I am present and in a good place within myself, I am a very easygoing, giving, and open-minded person, not very jealous, and very forgiving. But when that pattern of thinking takes over, I am a needy, clingy basket case.
Well, yes, me too.
I look at it like this: I have learned so much, and have grown so much. And a lot of what I do and how I behave is dictated, guided by the 'new me' (which, I believe, is the me I was meant to be). But it only takes a slight trigger to throw me back into the old patterns. The patterns that tell me I need someone, that I need to be validated, reassured, that I need to be someone's special someone, that I need to be the most important person in someone else's life.

Like nycindie says, the main thing is to recognize when this happens, and then I can tell myself 'hey this is old you talking, you don't have to listen to her, you have come such a long way!' It doesn't always work immediately but it helps me to see what is happening and to not get completely caught up in the old ways.
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