Tolucan Times October 23, 2002
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By the time we are in college, how many of us are beaten and battered by romance? Or have we left our own corpses littering the playing field. Whether we possess beauty, brilliance; wealth, power, or all of these, we are often helpless in the face of our Love. Biographies of the titans of humanity show that they, too, suffered in romance just as we do today. If the greatest human attributes are useless in the face of Love, what might that tell us about our understanding or misunderstanding of this quintessential emotion?

What if falling in love were the opposite of what we believed to be true? What if falling in love required maintaining personal space instead of the ability to be intensely close? Since this is the opposite of what we have been taught, wouldn't it explain why our relationships and our marriages fail? What if each human being requires a certain distance, a comfort zone, which may be physical, sexual or emotional, depending on our individuality? What if love, being intimacy, makes us hang back and that's how a couple is formed; from one moving forwards, one stepping back, either in the physical, sexual or emotional domain? How many times have you been in love with someone who liked you, desired you, enjoyed you, but wasn't in love with you? Have you received proposals of love, marriage or endless devotion from someone who didn't interest you at all? Have you ever loved someone who was very interested but who eventually left you for someone else or even for no one else? Have you ever attempted to return the affection of someone who adored you and found that it became impossible after a time because you felt bored or annoyed?

Isn't it possible that for human beings, it is this personal space, whether physical, emotional or energetic that gives us the safety to love so deeply?

What were the feelings and what needs were met and what needs were not being met in each scenario? We have invented thousands of diagnoses, interpretations and syndromes to describe this need for distance. Most often, we blame biochemistry, pheromones. Much of this dance with one another is caused by the need for emotional safety or autonomy, according to Dr. Marshall Rosenberg who describes "emotional slavery to emotional liberation" within intimate relationships in his book, Nonviolent Communication.

Dear Divorce Coach©,

I have been married for one year to a man who I dated for many years before marriage. The problem is that now that we are married, everything has changed and I'm miserable! He was wonderful and loving before and now he is always at the office and is cold when he is home.


Thaw no more

Dear Thaw,

When we are dating, there is a freedom of choice that is crucial to many needing autonomy and certain independence. For someone like this, the IDEA of marriage may have a terrifying finality. When requests are heard as demands and love is a requirement instead of a gift, many relationships suffer. We recommend "Intimate Relationships" from which presents the skills to maintain a loving relationship as well as personal space.

Yours truly,

The Divorce Coach©

Dear Divorce Coach©,

My wife and I have kids so one of us is always driving them somewhere and we have no time alone together. In the last year, I have begun an affair with a coworker but I want to break it off because I feel so guilty. But if I do, I'll be back to being alone again.

Lonely Guy

Dear Lonely,

Were you attempting to have your need for company, recreation and intimacy satisfied by your affair? I'm guessing that your need for honesty and self-respect is not being met in this relationship and that is the cause of your conflict. Would it be possible to find activities that include your wife and children and some that are just for you and your wife? Be creative and persevere; then every family member can have fun and you can reconnect with your wife.

Yours truly,

The Divorce Coach©

Each person's idea of Intimacy is different; each of us has our own version of personal space. When we make a heart-felt connection and discuss our feelings and needs with our partners, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg says, "the solution finds us".


Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum™