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Where are you? What type of Relationship do you Have? Right now! — 12 Comments

  1. Hi Al,
    I hope you are well. I have a query that I can’t find the answer to on your website: How do you know when romantic love has ended for certain? How do you gather data as much as possible in order to move as quickly as possible into the university of life? Is there a way of minimising the power struggle length of time?
    I feel in love. I’m sure I’m in Romantic love and the 9 minutes to 9 months time is here. I’m trying to prepare myself for the upcoming power struggle. I have data because I’ve known this person as a close friend and coworker for years. But I have only known them in a Romantic love capacity for 8 months. We loved each other as friends before we loved each other as partners. Will the end of Romantic love be sudden or gradual? We are absolutely in that place on the map but I’ve clumsily been incorporating as much as I can of what I’ve learnt up until now. Any feedback or pointers would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Lorraine, I’ve looked at this subject many times as people have come forth asking, “How do I avoid or at least skip thru the Power Struggle phase?”

      I believe the Power Struggle is there to help people focus on the work ahead of them. Each couple, heck each person, has built up in them a different learning agenda. It seems nature has a way of asserting that you don’t need to learn lessons you don’t need. And if you learned those lessons in a previous relationship, maybe you just need the advanced courses. Well, pretty abstract stuff here.

      At a practical level I think the best course is to get to work on being dialogical: leaving arguing behind, holding each other in respect, developing durable curiosity, learning boundary skills for yourself and for the two of you, and preparing openness for your journey and your partner’s. The general trend is away from keeping secrets, and sharing more and more candidly.

      But perhaps as you move along you can share some more specific questions.

      I do believe people can shorten the learning time by engaging in the major topics of the Biological Dream: Safety, Reliable Membership, Diversity, Autonomy, and Purpose. Lots of couples spend a lot of time around the Choice Point, with one foot in the Power Struggle and one foot in the Divorce Door or Door #2. Seems so sad, to me.

      Good luck to you.

    • Hey Scott, What would you share with Lorraine. I recall you asking this question some years back.

      Hi Al..
      Sure, here’s what I would say to that..

      First, the fact that you know about the Power Struggle means that you are well on your way to avoiding it…the world is filled with good people trapped in bad relationships simply because they don’t know what is to come. The end of the bliss of Romantic Love is not the end of Love it self. Rather, It’s the beginning of knowing who that other person really is and loving them for that instead of the mirage that’s created by Romantic Love.

      I don’t believe there is a sharp edge as to when the Power Struggle begins, we slowly drop into it unknowingly until one day we give up on love. The hope is to skip along its edges or to avoid it all together by using the skills learned at the University of Life. I believe one of the the most important elements in this is the Biological Dream. Never loose sight of your Biological Dream or that of your partners for that matter. As long as your biological dream is alive, the power struggle will be minimized. Read up on the Biological Dream, it’s at the heart of all of this.

      Remember that you and your partner are each on a journey driven by the Biological Dream. As long as you are helping each other along the path, as long as there is hope, you will have the kind of connection that is needed to evert a destructive Power Struggle in your relationship…

      One thing that I have found that is important is to give up the notion of “being right.” The Diversity Principle states that “All people make sense all the time” when there is argument there are two people trying to be right, there are two Masters trying to prove their point, and this can be very destructive. In essence, both are right, so try listening and validating what you hear from your partner. That simple act will clear the air much faster than any argument that try’s to prove a point. The argument will take you to the Valley of the Masters and we want to avoid that place.

      When couples are in self gratifying argument is when the Power Struggle rears it’s ugly head. You get hit with an emotion like abandonment, jealousy or whatever, and the Master on Master dance begins, spiraling downward into the Valley. It’s critical that at that moment to put the breaks on and realize that the painful emotion you are experiencing is inside of you, that it comes from you. Your partner, the one you picked, has triggered it, but you picked them specifically because they would trigger it. Now you have an emotion that has revealed a wound, this wound is attached to a fear, and that fear is attached to a hidden desire that is going unfulfilled. Go to work to heal that wound. Learn Al’s work on Restructuring Frustrations and Resentment, get rid of expectations and heal the wound. That’s the best way.

      You see the magistracy of the universe has put you together with this person specifically because they would reveal the wounds you carry and that need attending. This attending starts with you taking responsibility for your own stuff, your own wounds. So don’t blame your partner for your emotional distress, enlist your partners help in healing it. They are part of it, like maybe 5%, but the rest is all yours, take responsibility for your 95% and you are well on your way to avoiding the Power Struggle.

      Try to see your emotional distresses for what they are, a series of unhealed childhood wounds. You see, what I have found is that The Power Struggle appears when couples start to blame each other for these wounds. The Valley of the Masters is filled with people blaming each other for the pain associated with these wounds, wounds that happened so long ago that only the Lizard brain can remember them, but wounds that are so powerful, they cannot be ignored.

      So how do you do that.. in a word, you grow up, you be the adult and stop blaming your partner for your pain. Your partner will follow, guaranteed, when they see you being an adult they will want to be one too, we all want to be an adult.

      Romantic Love is only the first course, the good stuff comes later in Vintage love when you know so much more about each other and many of the the lessons have been learned. Start by catching the emotional pain In your hand and holding it up to the light. Try to remember where it originally came from and address it for that angle. All wounds were created in childhood, then they get put in a place in our subconscious mind and held there endlessly by our Lizard, who by the way, is only trying to protect us from more pain. Give your Lizard a break by revealing the solution to the problem and he will reward you with a lifetime of peace and no Power Struggle…

      Scott Dodson
      Turtle Logic and the University of life.

      • Hi Al & Scott
        Thank you for both replies, both illuminating the other’s words.
        I can’t emphasise enough how valuable I am finding having knowledge of the lizard and of the biological dream. I find myself anchored with reference points and have a way of explaining behaviours to myself that keeps me calmer and more self holding.
        For the first time I feel like I might have an idea of the way and I may have the tools (or at least know where to look) which in itself keeps me feeling reassured and hopeful.
        I have wondered if knowing some of these skills now, when I didn’t before, has contributed to a new type of love. My old feelings about behaviours are still there but the accompanying actions are much less apparent. An example would be feeling insecure because we’ve been out of agreement. Rather than seek agreement with master talk etc. I’ve found I am more easily able to sit with the idea of diversity, inside me or to state that I feel wobbly inside. Or both. I have been able to value connection above agreement (sometimes) and that has led to a kind of self containment I’ve not experienced before. I think I may be developing a kind of curiosity, that is a basis for durable listening. I can’t contan myself always, rarely when the information I’m getting is very hard / triggering, however I am now aware that I’m not containing and I’m able to say how I’m feeling and ask for the data to slow down a little. Or a hug! Or time alone.
        All these skillls feel unfamiliar and I’m not good at them. But I can practice. I’ve found they improve my relationships in all areas of my life, including teaching and friends.
        So much to learn and so much to say! I’ll leave it here and ponder your thoughtful answers.
        Thank you.

  2. Hi Jacqui,

    Thank you for reply it was very thoughtful of you and made me feel not so alone. I know that with every minute my husband is not with me is the message that he does not want to be with me. When I read Al’s words I feel hopeful that we might have a chance but in reality I have no chance and I have to learn how to survive this. It seems that time is the only thing that will make it better and so I need to practice patience.

    Best Wishes to you also

    Barb

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