Separation in most cases does not start through the physical separation but instead begins to grow in all those places that create emotional distance between partners. The physical separation happens when one of the partners can no longer deal with the emotional distance and are overwhelmed with feelings of pain, frustration, or anger.
The 11 Signs of Separation
The 11 signs of separation shed light on the dynamics that are often hidden beneath the regular day-to-day interactions. If not addressed and carefully monitored they can create feelings of distance in a relationship. At times, it can be just one sign or reason that affects the partnership deeply, while in other cases several signs show up simultaneously and create the downward spiralling dynamic that leads to separation.
There can be many instances where we may have been hurt in the past and therefore seek healing today. The wounds show up clearly through problems we face in the partnership. Therefore, any given relationship can be a major source of learning for both partners if both are open to quality communication, authenticity, and the expression of needs.
Deeply understanding the patterns and reasons leading up to separation can help us stay together and heal together, or move on to grow consciously in the next relationship.
The Pitfall of Idealization
When we idealize how our partners should be we don’t really see the person as they really are. We place them on a pedestal where they lose the freedom to unfold their humanity and evolve as a human being through trial and error. Furthermore, it places the partner who idealizes in an often inferior or following position, which is a dangerous dynamic in a healthy and equal partnership. Whichever way we use idealization in our relationships, we essentially use our ideal standards to make ourselves feel safer in the partnership because we set high standards of morality and expectation. These unreachable expectations make it impossible for us to express the light and darkness inside. If we feel we cannot show our strengths and weaknesses, our good qualities and bad, it becomes difficult to allow ourselves to be human in an honest and authentic way to our partner and to ourselves.
Signs of Competition
Every person enters the relationship with his or her own values, beliefs, and personality. Out of these we naturally feel inclined to support certain actions. We feel righteous and justified to demand certain behaviors or actions, and sense moral superiority towards our partners on various topics. Competition can also extend to the male/ female divide from which peer struggles emerge. When partners get lost in competition with each other, they stop communicating and get stuck in their individual perspective, inherently viewing themselves as opposing their partner instead of working with them. With the lack of communication and cooperation, nourishing the openness of the relationship is lost.
The Consequences of Betrayal
Betrayal is often created from one or both partner’s over-expectation for the other. It is not openly talked about and processed in the relationship but when the expectation is left unmet, the wedge of betrayal inserts itself between the partners. When a lot of expectations exist, and they often do, they point to a higher need of protection by the partners. The more expectations imposed on us, spoken or unspoken, the more protected partners wish to feel.
Over time these expectations can become a burden on the relationship, since they limit our natural need for expression. What we often righteously and easily call betrayal is really an attempt to protect ourselves and control our partners by having many personal needs expressed in the form of ‘expectations.’ When our partners do not meet our exerted expectations we feel insecure and unsafe, filling us with a sense of betrayal.
Jealousy Between Partners
Jealousy is essentially the same as comparison, and comparison mainly arises when our own self-worth is under attack, whether internally or externally. A certain level of unworthiness, conscious or unconscious, resides in almost everyone. The role of our personality is to actively attempt to create a life in which we feel ‘worthy.’ When we sense jealousy in our relationships, we need to return to our own sense of self to see why we feel jealousy for our partner. Once we figure that out, we need to strive after our own potential instead of pressuring our partners to limit themselves and burden them with feelings of guilt when they succeed.
The Lack of Intimacy
Both men and women have a natural drive to live and experience the whole spectrum of intimacy. When issues and conflicts arise between partners, one of the first things that suffers is the intimacy. The lack of intimacy causes emotional distance and often reflects unexpressed anger, shame, or fear. It is the sole faction of relationships that allows partners to have the opportunity to be exposed and to practice closeness. Relationships need an active intimacy. It is where closeness happens. Without intimacy only friendship remains, but the value of relating to the other is more limited.
Every time we lie, keep secrets, or hide things about ourselves, we sense guilt and force subsequent self-punishment. In those moments of guilt, we believe we are not allowed to feel or express certain thoughts. We feel we deserve to be rejected for our dark side. As a result we distance ourselves from our partner subconsciously, because inside we feel ‘wrong’ and are afraid to show that to the other.
Feeling guilt during our lifetime is inevitable. Guilt itself has a strong social binding function and acts like a compass that protects us from exclusion. In relationships we face events that cause us to feel guilty. It’s a sign that we broke a certain rule, promise, or expectation. Often this guilt is taken out of proportion and carried on for longer than necessary for the one who may have made the ‘mistake.’ This sense of guilt also creates a dynamic of self-punishment and self-exclusion.
When partners feel hurt by the other they are tempted to seek revenge quietly or openly. Quiet revenge can be expressed through heartbreak and suffering, while morality and temper tantrums are expressed openly. When we have been wronged, it is important to give our partner the chance to make up for it instead of simply forgiving or punishing them. This way balance and equality can be restored to the relationship. When partners are stuck on seeking revenge and play the righteous or innocent card, without the real chance of balancing the relationship, the other partner will develop anger and resentment over time.
Vague Future Plans
Once the falling in love phase is over and partners have grown past the initial phase of infatuation with the other person, they can begin their slow progression from the micro-cosmos of ‘twoness’ and look forward together into a common future. When this joint future beyond the ‘twoness’ can’t be felt or created together by both partners, its limitation are felt. After a certain point, the joint perspective is lost and the ‘twoness’ returns. A joint perspective on the future is necessary to maintain and deepen the bond between the partners.
Collective Disrespect and Resentment Between the Sexes
Our modern society has and is developing into one of equality and mutual respect, but on a collective level the animosity remains a dormant negative energy between the sexes. Centuries of abuse, humiliation, and rivalry have created deep hatred and resentment which has stayed with us in our collective subconscious. Even if it’s not politically correct, this deeply rooted distrust and lack of respect affects the way men and women perceive one another, and can create a rift between the partners if not addressed and worked on together.
Withholding Information From Your Partner
We are almost conditioned to hide certain feelings and thoughts since childhood. These inner secrets stay with us and become ingrained into our personality structures. But, when we keep secrets from those close to us, something breaks in the sense of intimacy and trust. Out of fear of losing the love of our partner or being judged, we hold back or hide parts of our ‘selves’ (angers, fears, needs). This can usually be felt by the one withholding back. This manifests through feelings of guilt, which then creates anger, since it is a strong feeling we don’t wish to feel. The other partner will usually feel the void of that which is withheld, which only serves to increase the emotional distance between partners.
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