Wow. This feels heavy but in a good way if that makes any sense. Jason and I started couples therapy last month to sort out our issues before we make all the big decisions around marriage, living together full time and raising kids. After talking to all of my close friends in what I consider nourishing relationships, it was clear that therapy would be a very wise choice for us.
This is not my first experience with couples therapy. Part of me feels slightly embarrassed by that, like because I have been in therapy with a boyfriend before I should have everything figured out. The reality is that my life is completely different than it was last time I was in therapy with my boyfriend. Kids, houses and big time commitments we’re not in the picture like they are today. The reality is that I still have some serious healing to do in this relationship with Jason and we both need help navigating it.
Deciding to get support has been very helpful thus far. It’s amazing how much more awareness I have just in six weeks. It’s also been a super emotional time for us, particularly for me. Last week I was reminded that I needed to be extra gentle and kind to myself going through all of this because I am processing SO much. It’s kind of unreal how much is surfacing.
I started therapy towards the end of elementary school. My parents were going through a painful divorce and I am grateful they sent me therapy to talk to someone. Dr. Hill was my first psychologist and she was incredible. Looking back on that time with her I see how much I needed it. Sometimes I wonder if I continued to see her during high school, if I would have gone off the deep end with alcohol and drugs. At this point it doesn’t matter, what is important is that early on I got a message that having someone in your corner is really important.
Years later I went to therapy with my college boyfriend. It was my first sober romantic relationship and needless to say I needed all the help I could get. It was great for us on so many levels. I was also in therapy with my Mom at the time. As you can imagine, lots of processing was taking place! Those early years of my recovery gave me a solid foundation for talking about my feelings and learning to take care of myself.
Over the last 20+ years I’ve been in and out of therapy and it’s been so helpful for me. As scary as it is at times, and as much sadness as I am moving though, I am glad Jason and I care enough about each other to really see this through. I have a strong feeling that if we can get through this therapy together, we can get through so much.
One thing that has been coming up in my relationship with Jason is the need for planned, quality time. It sounds very basic. However, this type of quality time together isn’t something that comes very naturally to me, it is something I have to be conscious of and sometimes work towards.
Jason and I live together half of the time and our schedules change from week to week. I’ve been putting our quality time on the back burner in favor of my work. What has been surfacing for me is that keeping work front and center hasn’t been about trying improve my business, it has been about avoiding intimacy with Jason. What I recognized is that all these pre-therapy big discussions about buying houses and having kids was getting overwhelming. My old faithful mode for dealing with tough emotions when things get hard is to take a few steps back and put all my energy into something else. Today my practice is to sit with the discomfort, face it head on and coordinate with Jason to plan out our schedules ahead of time.
When it comes to having uncomfortable feelings in relationships (read: INTIMACY). I am a born runner. I also spent years of my life in relationships with people that never called my bluff or asked me to show up and be present for them. Jason has asked me to really step up and grow together and while it sounded good to me in theory I am becoming aware on a new level just how challenging it has been for me. My default to get really busy isn’t cutting it and I am committed to learning to be in a relationship in a new way.
Taking care of my self.
Speaking up about my feelings.
Letting go of my past.
Awakening to the present.
Over the weekend I went up to stay at his house in Ventura. We had a good visit, dealt with some emotions and now I feel refreshed and excited about our next homework assignment.
Today I am feeling grateful that we are moving through all of this as partners and that it feels like a true partnership. Getting real with each other in the company of a therapist is huge. Allowing someone who cares about us to be a witness to our love and guide us through the uncertainty we have been facing feels very healthy and grown up. I am looking forward to deeper levels of healing, creating a stronger connection and also having fun along the way.
I picked this quote from one of my favorite women, Marianne Williamson. It felt like the perfect fit to what we’ve been going through and a reminder that this isn’t just about us. By taking the time to work through our stuff Jason and I become an example to others of how couples can communicate and show up for each other. Our vibration is raised and it radiates out. When we love ourselves we heal each other and the world.