Navigating A Relationship’s Emotional Roller Coaster

Lately I have been particularly interested in witnessing the ways people behave in intimate relationships. Relationship dynamics fascinate me and seeing how people are with their partners – what works well, what is destructive and where people are thriving- allows me an opportunity to reflect on my own behaviours and values when it comes to the relationships in my life.

Good communication skills, presence, mutual respect, passion & love are just a few of the qualities that are vital in a romantic relationship. I also believe a significant aspect of what makes a relationship healthy & functional is an individual’s willingness to take ownership of the emotions they experience.

Upon a quick google search, I found an emotion to be defined as

“a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.”

I find this definition encompasses the most important notion I support and that is emotions are our own. They can be affected by others but they ultimately are ours alone to feel.

How To Manage Emotional Projection

Many people go about relationships blaming the occurrence of certain emotions on their partner’s actions.

“She did this and that made me feel angry.”

“He doesn’t put effort into our relationship by making sex romantic with massage oils and sexual health aids!”

“He didn’t want to have sex with me so he made me feel unattractive.”

As well as being a disempowering way to go about life, this kind of behaviour can really cause chaos and disconnection between intimate partners.

It is usual that emotions that don’t feel good are usually the ones we attempt to offload onto our partners however the same can be said for feelings of joy & pleasure. The other day whilst experiencing gratitude for my partner, I told him how happy he makes me. As the words came out of my mouth, I felt my power slipping away with them. It did not feel true and authentic because I know that happiness is of my own making. I feel so much joy and happiness with my man and I love how I feel around him but he does not make me feel anything. Sure, he can behave in a way that triggers certain feelings & emotions within me but they are ultimately my feelings. By believing that he makes me feel a certain way feels dis-empowering for both of us.

Buddha Quote About Anger
Image: Buddha Quote

Expressing ones’ emotions without projecting them onto another is not usual practice for many people. It requires a level of self-awareness to feel your emotions and a dedication to step away from projecting them onto someone else-instead expressing them in a non-destructive and healthy way. Some healthy ways of expressing our emotions can involve bashing a pillow and getting out any anger that we may be feeling before communicating to our partner when we’re feeling frustrated or having a good cry, expressing our sadness and pain without blaming them for making us feel that way. When expressing our feelings to our partner, I also recommend speaking your own experience. It may look something like

“When you did this, I felt sadness and frustration”

or

“I felt really insecure when I saw you checking out that man.”

Communicating in this way is taking ownership of our own experiences instead of playing victim to them, whilst also acknowledging the fact that how your partner behaved played a part in how you felt. This brings me to my next point…

Buillding Strong Relationships With Communication
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Taking Ownership Of Your Feelings

What I believe is really important to understand is that when I speak of ownership of feelings, I don’t mean to say we can go around doing whatever the hell we want with little regard for the repercussions we may have on our partner. This person we are choosing to be with deserves our utmost respect, love and honouring when making choices in life. If you don’t feel this to be the case then it may be time to reassess your intentions & values in relationship. Actions we take in life that are done in full integrity and alignment may mean our partners do experience emotions that do not feel so great. It is not our job to change that or live in a way where we make choices based on fearing how we feel they may react. The best thing we can do is encourage the most authentic expression of the people we love, allow them the time and space to speak their truth and feel whatever emotions they are feeling-all this without feeling a need to fix anything or take it personally.

Growing up, males are rarely encouraged to feel & express their emotions and females are usually taught that being an emotional person is burdensome or somehow makes them crazy. Letting our partners know that we encourage them to express themselves and feel whatever they are feeling without judging them for it is so important for both men and women in relationships.  I feel it is about time we shift these inauthentic ways of being so that we can feel our feelings and express ourselves in any way we see fit without causing harm to those we love.

Author: Stephanie Curtis- BA Nursing

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Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

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