Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Hold me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love writes:
People all need a safe bond. They are our main way of dealing with our own vulnerability. The more emotionally connected you are to our partners, the more separate you can be. Being different is not a threat to the bond.
I like how we can recognize that we do not need to have the same interests as someone else to have compatibility. Opposites attract – but I think the lasting quality is emotional compatibility.
So often in my own relationships I used to wonder, “What do we have in common?” I know that liking the same movies or activities or restaurants, having things you can do together, is definitely important. I also know for myself that having someone keep up (and lead the way) to a more emotionally conscious way of being allows a greater acceptance of whatever you encounter. There is a basic foundation which allows each person their own experience, with support for their process.
It’s too easy to get caught up in having a life “with” someone and becoming a partnership. We initially tend to adopt their friends, their hobbies and agree with their choices to create a commonality and to spend time together. We get swept away in the honeymoon and it’s only when we face challenges that we are pressed to look at emotions. (Honeymoon emotions are generally pretty happy!) When the happy, excited, lusty butterflies settle into regular life and it’s not all glamour, who is this person? How do we support our partners in life? Are we there for them when we feel threatened or scared, or do we protect ourselves first? Are our individual needs (Ego) made greater than the relationship?
What one person feels the other reacts to. Both people may be feeling the very same emotion, but reacting very differently. Judging another person’s motivation or reasons is thinking. It can be a challenge to let go of this habit of analyzing for answers. When we feel what is true, no matter how challenging or uncomfortable, we see the bonds of emotions that join us with our love.