Love and Shelter

May 13th, 2014 by Sit up a Tree

So often we are told that we must be strong and independent in relationships. We are told that being emotionally entangled leads to toxic relationships. Therapists and relationship gurus trot out mantras that imply we must be whole so often that it can feel as if we should not look to our partners for almost anything. It’s easy to find yourself wondering what is the point in being in a relationship if we must all be so separate and so independent?

Navigating these issues can feel very complex and in truth it will always be a balance between self and relationship. How entangled IS too entangled? How much emotional investment in your partner IS too much?  

Talking about it with your partner is an excellent way to find these answers and at the time create greater intimacy and connection between you.


Inevitably it is about finding the right balance for both partners. For example:

  • It is great to need your partner but it is vital also to be independent and realise that the other can only supply so much of your needs.
  • It is important to keep your own life and interests but also to share in the life and interests of your partner.
  • It is important to listen but it is also important to realise you may not be hearing what they said.
  • It is important to talk, but remember that your partner may not have the same meanings for the words and examples you use.
  • It is important to show empathy but we shouldn’t project our perceptions of what a partner is feeling. They are not your internal representation of them!
  • It is important to communicate but how much can your partner take on board?

For me the boundaries and benefits of a relationship are summed up by the Celtic phrase “We live in the shelter of each other.” To me this conjures the image of a ship sheltering in a harbour. And we can be that safe haven for one another. We are each separate ships, but we can also each be the sheltered cove where the other can safely drop anchor.

Shelter one another!

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 at 2:49 pm and is filed under Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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