Do you know your relationship 'dance'? Negotiating closeness and distance with your partner

Every relationship has its own dance - one may reach toward the other, trying to get closer,  the other either comes close or pulls away. When we're dancing skilfully, tuned into each other, both steps are OK - part of the overall shape of the relationship. There's a balance - sometimes one or both move away, sometimes we move together. If it starts to feel too close, or too far away, we know the steps we need to take together to keep our dance fluid and connected.

It's when we lose the sense of moving in synch that the dance can start to feel wrong. I've made several movements that ordinarily would mean my partner moves toward me, but she's still standing on the other side of the dance floor. Or my partner has made several attempts to initiate the 'move away' sequence of our dance, but I continue to stay close, leaving him unsure of the next steps.

We all make mis-steps from time to time. Prolonged periods of stress, major life transitions (even positive ones such as having a baby, getting married, moving house etc.), and of course grief, loss or trauma can mean we are less capable of staying in rhythm together for a while. But repeated experiences of mis-steps over time can leave couples feeling unsure of their partners, themselves, their relationship. We may even lose a sense of confidence in our ability to 'dance well' together.

If you're in this position, bear in mind that even the strongest relationships go through times where partners are out of synch, perhaps even for a long time.  Research has repeatedly showed that what's most important is that you are able to find your way back, make the repairs, accommodations or adjustments that allow you to dance once again like the experts! And don't hesitate to call your local 'dance teacher' (relationship counsellor!) if you need some refresher 'dance lessons'!


Until next post, Vivienne

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