This week I want to talk to you about the fact that all relationships are like teeter-totters. Our own behaviors and actions are very much impacted by those of our partner. They are interconnected.

One of the things that often happens in relationships is, either we or our partner may take an extreme position in a relationship. If they are standing out here at the top of the teeter-totter and the goal is, for neither one of us to fall off and to keep it balanced, then I will have to take an extreme position as well to balance out their weight.

The problem with these extreme positions on the outer edges is, they’re not very stable. They can also be somewhat exhausting with all of the energy we expend trying to keep things balanced. Let me give you the two most common examples of how this manifests in relationships.

Example #1

Often times, one partner will become emotionally distant and in order to counterbalance that, their partner then has to start exerting a lot of energy pursuing and chasing them to try to get some emotional connection. Those two extremes balance each other out.

However, as soon as this distancer steps in and starts connecting and leaning into the relationship more, their partner can also relax and they can step in. The two of them can balance each other’s weight out from a closer position that’s actually more stable.

Example #2

Similarly, what will often happen with parents is, you might have a parent who takes a very extreme position, let’s say they’re being very wishy washy with the kids and letting them get away with murder. Their partner will take the other extreme position and become a stanch disciplinarian. Sometimes so much so, that it’s almost damaging their rapport with their kids because they are so focused on the rules and structure.

However, as soon as the wishy washy parent is willing to step in and set some healthy limits with the kids, then their partner can step in as well, soften up, and not be so focused on the rules. This is a much more sustainable position.

Ultimately, the extremes don’t work very well in relationships. What we all crave are these more stable, closer positions with our beloved.

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