Relationship Checkup! Valentine’s Day is the ideal opportunity

relationship checkup

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love. But Paul Martin says it’s also an excellent opportunity to perform a relationship checkup.

Paul Martin is the Senior Psychologist at the Centre for Human Potential.

Being in love and in a relationship (or multiple relationships if you are polygamous), is one of life’s great joys. It can provide comfort, support, nurturance, intimacy, personal growth opportunities and companionship. However, some believe true happiness is only possible in a relationship. I have good news for singles. You can live an equally fulfilling life as a single person. You just need to get a bit creative with how to fill in the gaps.

As we celebrate our partnerships on Valentine’s Day, we can also check on their health. We can reflect on the traps we sometimes fall into and consider how to avoid or fix them.

Almost every human suffers psychological damage growing up given our exposure to other humans. People in our communities experience hurt due to homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and ignorance about the biology of intersex people. Most work their way through these challenges and become more tenacious as a result. However, not resolving those issues can impact our relationships and create unhealthy patterns.

Fear of abandonment

This can include developing a fear of abandonment. Many members of our communities understandably believed as they grew up that if people really knew who they were they would be rejected. This fear of rejection can manifest through clinginess or jealousy in a relationship or pushing away the person they love.

You may have been given messages when younger that you are defective at a deep level. This can lead you into dysfunctional relationships and possibly even abuse.

Many members of our communities spend their childhood pretending to be someone other than their authentic self. That can make them great at identifying everyone else’s needs, but not so good at identifying and asserting what is important to them. Consequently, their needs are not met in their relationships. They feel unloved. That leads to resentment and impairs intimacy.

You can start working through this by reflecting on how you feel when negative patterns occur in your relationship. Ask yourself what this reminds you of. Do some journaling and write letters to and from the adult and the child. This may seem weird, but it can work. If you feel that you aren’t getting far with it, a psychologist can help.

The emotional challenges we experience in life later impact our relationships. However, there is such a thing as post-traumatic growth. You can identify issues in your life via a relationship checkup and work through them. You will end up stronger and wiser than you would have been if you hadn’t experienced them. Here is to all of the romantic relationships in our communities. May you have a fabulous Valentine’s Day!

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Paul Martin

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