Today I am launching a cooperative sharing of blogs with Mandy Traut, MA, LMHC. Mandy opens here by musing on the question, “How do you dance with your partner?”
It’s All About Connection
Mandy Traut, M.A, LMHC
Over the years, I’ve heard many statements from couples about relationships:
“I imagined he would be my prince charming and we’d never have any problems.”
“She pushes me too much.”
“I just want to feel special – but I’m taken for granted.”
“Nothing I do is ever good enough.”
Underlying many of these statements is a need to be loved, respected, and cherished. Moreover, couples and partners of all types want to feel connected. We are intuitive beings. When there is a problem with the connection, it is felt at the core. It probably feels like life is coming to an end during these moments. The social animals that we are – it is very understandable that human beings would feel tremendous fear and anxiety when connection is threatened. So often, things get in the way to create this very reality. Finding a way back to your mate (s) becomes a primary goal.
Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally-Focused Therapy likens emotional connection between couples to a tango (retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDlciU8Z7bQ on June 17th 2013: Johnson’s keynote speech at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium)
When you are secure with your partner, you have a sense of how the movements are supposed to go, and you work in concert with each other. John Gottman, a renowned researcher on couple’s relationships, as well as the founder of the Gottman Method, believes connection is something you create on a daily basis. He states, “Real life romance is fueled by a far more humdrum approach to staying connected. It is kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life.” (retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/GottmanInstitute on June 17, 2013).
Dr. Johnson and Dr. Gottman may come from different approaches and styles, but their message is the same: emotional connection is vital in all intimate relationships. Likewise, most people want to feel cherished in their relationships.
How do you “dance” with your partner (s)? How do you communicate appreciation for your partner’s involvement in your life? Do you communicate how you cherish, respect, and value your partner(s)? Do you feel and communicate fondness towards your partner (s)? Does your partner(s) communicate these messages to you? Many stressors, past issues, and emotional blocks get in the way of connection. Nevertheless, I challenge you to believe that you can take those baby steps each day. Let the “dance” be something to aspire towards. Still, acknowledge that connection – above money and fame – is something we are all seeking in this life.
About Mandy Traut
Mandy Traut is a sex-positive Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and a graduate of Antioch University. Her private practice, New Connections Counseling, located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, was established to assist more self-aware clients in fostering their growth, empowerment, resiliency, and freedom of self-expression, related to alternative sexuality, gender issues, and self/relationship development. Taking on a more strength-based, client-centered approach to treatment, she serves individuals, couples and polyamorous partners. Additionally, she serves clients with physical disabilities and those that as identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual transgendered). Though a shortened list, she asks clients if they want to improve their relationships, better their communication, explore or expand aspects of their sexuality, overcome isolation, take accountability for emotional regulation, and/or better live their authentic truths.
Mandy present workshops on numerous sex-related and relationship-oriented topics including – polyamory, open relationships, gender-variance, sexuality and disability, as well as other sex-positive and kink-aware concerns.
Mandy can be found at: New Connections Counseling