Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist and author of the book « the Hold me tight . Seven conversations for a lifetime of love » ( Hold me tight . Seven interviews for durable love”).

I grew up in my parents’ pub in England, where there were always some kind of tragedy. And all of these tragedies – fighting, flirting, tears, hysterics – were held out of love. And I saw how my parents are destroying love for each other. Since then, I decided that I’ll have to find out what love is. My mother used to say that love – is “five minutes of fun.” Others define love as a mysterious combination of feelings and sex. Or a combination of passion and friendship. But love – it is something more.

My personal conclusions based on research and consultation over a thousand pairs of more than 35 years, turned into a huge scientific Talmud, and now I can say with confidence that we know what love is. My conclusions are intuitive and not always obvious: love – is a constant search for the base secure communication with someone else. Through this relationship of love partners become emotionally dependent on each other in regard to the mutual care, support and protection.

We are linked, literally “built into us,” the need for emotional contact and feedback from important people for us. That the survival instinct, the vital need for security and satisfaction which the child is looking at mother. This observation is the basis of the theory of attachment. A lot of evidence suggests that the need for a secure attachment will never disappear, but develops in adults in need of a reliable emotional connection with your partner. Remember, the mother looks at her child with the same love that two people in love with each other.

Although in our culture it is believed that bad to be dependent, that is a weakness, it is not. When we cling to someone, we feel the greatest sense of security and safety. Dependence on a partner means that you are important to him that you treasure, and that he will be sensitive and attentive to your emotional needs.

According to the basic postulate of the theory of attachment, isolation – not only physical, but also emotional – injure people. The brain responds to her as a danger. Gloria Steinem once said that a woman also needs a man like a fish in a bicycle. Absolute nonsense.

Romance drama that played out in front of me in the pub every night, when I was a child, showed nothing more than the human hunger for reliable emotional connection – a necessary condition for our survival, from the cradle to the grave. Once he felt secure emotional bond with our partner, we will patiently endure those wounds, which will inevitably cause us to everyday life with him.

A break up

First, we are very attached and responsive towards our partners. But the extent of our involvement, as a rule, decreases with time. Then we experience moments of separation – periods when we do not express our needs clearly enough. He is very upset and in need of comfort and support, but she leaves him alone, thinking that he wanted to be alone. In fact in a relationship such moments are inevitable. If you’re going with someone to dance, from time to time you will be stepping on each other’s feet.

But due to the loss of a loved one threatens our sense of security. We are a primitive sense of panic. In the amygdala of the brain responsible for fear, an alarm signal. And then we do not think – we act. Anxiety can come from both the external and of our inner world. It is in our minds, but not in reality. If we feel abandoned at the time due to acute needs, we start to panic.
What do we do after these moments of separation, which have a huge impact on our relationship? You will be able to turn around and re-establish contact? If not, you will begin to participate in the battle for a clear scheme. I call them the “Dialogue of the demon.” If they start to gain momentum, it will seize you and cause a terrible feeling of emotional loneliness. Your relationships will be less and less perceived as a safe area and start to come. You begin to doubt that your partner – the man you want, that he appreciates you. Or that you have it in the first place.

Consider a pair with the first-born. Childbirth – stress, sleepless time. But it is also a time when the fear of loss of attachment and the need for proximity is particularly strong. A man may think something like this: “I know it’s wrong, I know it sounds pathetic, but I have a feeling that because of the child I lost my wife.” A woman might say, “I had a child, and I feel so vulnerable. I care about this little creature, I just needed some extra rest and care, and it is, unfortunately, all the time at work. ” They have good intentions – it takes care of the child, he works hard to provide for his family – but they could not give each other what they really need.

Or this: the man simply does its job well, while his wife makes a fantastic career in a new field. She spends a lot of time on various interesting projects, while he is deprived of love, attention and intimacy. Every night he lay alone in bed, waiting for her, and, of course, feels like a complete fool out of the fact that so needs it – and angry that she did not understand how much her absence affects him.

But as a rule, we do not discuss such conflicts in these terms, based on deeply rooted in us the need for closeness and affection. We are talking about a superficial emotion, irritation or indifference, and blame each other. “He is so angry all the time breaks down on me.” Or: “It’s so cold. It seems to me she did not care! “. Everyone retreats into a corner, both in the pair is getting harder and harder to express our deepest need for proximity, and they are deprived of the opportunity to receive comfort from each other.

Women are usually more sensitive to the first signs of losing connection than men, and their response to this is often the initiation of what I call a break dance. They will almost defiantly pursue their partners in a vain attempt to get a satisfying and soothing their response. But how do they do it practically negates the possibility of a positive result – after all, they blame all over his partner.

Men were taught to inhibit emotional responses and needs that could help them get out of the conflict. And her fury, and his indifference – only mask that hides the vulnerability and the need for communication, mixed now with sorrow, shame, and – most of all – fear.

Couples rarely notice that most of the “battles” between them – are actually a protest against the emotional separation. For all these quarrels partners desperately want to know only one thing: “You are my? Do you need me? Do you trust me?”.

Restoring relations

For many years, physicians have considered these “demon dialogues” as a struggle for power. They were trying to resolve conflicts, teach couples the skills to solve problems. But it’s still a lot to offer a handkerchief with viral pneumonia. Thereby ignored issues of attachment, which underlie the problem behavior. The problem, from this perspective, is not in the struggle for power and control, and emotional distance.

What particularly frustrates people, so it is not knowing how to overcome this emotional distancing. sometimes I speak to me in my office men: “I do my best to show their concern. I mow the lawn, bring the salary to solve problems and not flirting on the side. Why does all of this does not matter, all that is necessary to my wife – chatter about the emotional nonsense and hugs? “. I tell them: “Because we are so constituted. We need someone who is really attentive to us, who will hug us. You forget that you also need it? “.

When we struggle with our partners, we tend to follow which side the ball, paying attention to the last jibe to us, rather than to think about whether we should even be in the game. Break out of the “demon dialogues” is possible, but the first step should be out of the game, not just a continuation of the game for the game. Once you realize that stuck to quarrel, you will be able to agree to put the game on pause.

Frustration – inevitable part of a relationship. But you can always choose your attitude towards him and his line of conduct. Do you prefer a defensive position out of fear, or choose all in a spirit of mutual understanding? Suppose your wife says, “I do not really set up to make love tonight.” You can take a deep breath, think about how much she loves you, and say, “Gee, sadly, I do really wanted.” Or you can spit sarcastic: “Excellent! We never sex, is not it? “.

Of course, you may feel that you really have no choice, if your alarm button is pressed, and your emotions are boiling already. But even a simple understanding of it – “my alarm button is pressed,” – may reassure you. You might think to yourself, “What’s going on? I scream. But inside I feel small and helpless. ” Then you can say to your partner: “I was hurt, and I panicked.”

If you make this bold move and respond with a plan to restore the relationship, you can expect that your partner will do the same, instead of saying something insulting like, “You’re being stupid and disgusting.” This is part of a relationship that requires mastery: to change the dance, both partners have to make other moves.

Just take your need for intimacy, instead of ashamed of it – this is an important and necessary first step, and this applies both to the people, consisting in a pair, and alone. Single person can say, “I’m depressed because I’m lonely, but I know I should not be alone, I have to be self-sufficient and independent.” Well, of course, you are depressed, if you feel lonely, and you still scold myself for it! When you are ashamed, you tend to hide it from others, creating a vicious cycle, and it’s almost guaranteed that you will find the connection that you so need.

healing touch

Men often say to me: “Even if I think that she really needs me, or she was afraid, I did not know what to do!”. As a result, he would make his wife a cup of tea, which is of course very nice, but not what she needs. He put his hand on her shoulder and has attracted, his attempt to make contact would have been much more successful.

Men often say they do not know what to do. But they know how to calm their children when they are placed to sleep and whisper their affection. The difference is that they see the vulnerability of their children and to respond to it, but when they look at their wives, they see only the one who condemns them. But she also feels vulnerable.

Touch – the easiest way to get in touch with the other person. Taking her hand, when she is nervous, or by touching him on the shoulder in the middle of an argument, you can instantly negate anxiety and anger.

The world of psychotherapy in recent years, is obsessed with the theme of maintaining the boundaries between people. I believe that our problem is exactly the opposite – we are too far from each other.

If you look at the two lovers, you will find that they are constantly touching each other. If you look at two people who find a way back into love relationships after the fall in the “demon dialogues”, you will see that they are also more likely to embrace the ordinary. They literally attracted to each other – it is a tangible sign of their desire to be together.

Safe (and beautiful) sex

It is a myth that love is the “shelf life”, that passion – a fever, which is to take place in due course. It’s pretty stupid. I see no scientific or human reasons why people can not be happy in a long-term love relationship.

People who come into a loving relationship, do not do so because their sex life is boring. Nobody never came to my office to complain that having an affair because they were bored in bed. People enter into a relationship because it alone, because they can not emotionally connect with his partner. Then someone will smile and make them feel that they are valued and feel special – and suddenly they find themselves in a strange situation, where they are brought to one person, but are attracted to another.

Passion, like everything else, it is amplified, it is weakened. But sex will always be boring if between a man and a woman is no emotional connection. If you are emotionally involved, sex has hundreds of faces, and it is a game and passion.

I call this kind of sex “synchronous sex”, which is inseparably connected to the emotional openness and compassion, tenderness and sensuality. When between partners exists reliable emotional relationship, physical proximity may retain its original heat and creativity. Lovers can be at one moment gentle and playful, and then suddenly passionate and erotic. Partners who have a strong attachment can more openly express their needs and preferences and are more willing to experiment sexually.

The sound relations excitement comes not from trying to resurrect its former bright moments of infatuation, and when you go to open a risk here and now, at the moment, continuing to remain in the physical and emotional connection with their loved ones. With this openness comes the feeling that making love with him – that every time a new adventure.

A love that does not end

After you recover lost contact with your partner, and both satisfy your need for intimacy, you need to continue to work on the emotional responsiveness. You can do this by helping each other to identify existing problems in your pair of attachment, which tends to recur in your conflict.

For example, if you are frustrated by the fact that your girlfriend often goes into risky climbing tours, talk to her about what your anger is born out of fear of losing it. Agree, it can better protect themselves in these trips. Or, if you often feel abandoned, when you bear the brunt of responsibility for childcare, plan how you can more equitably share them with the husband, so that in a “perfect” moment did not call him in the hearts of the parasite.

It is also vital to couples celebrating the joyful moments – big and small. Regularly and consciously embrace and kiss each other every time you wake up, leave the house, go back and go to sleep. Celebrate your important dates, anniversaries and birthdays in your special way, just the way you want and like. These rituals will keep your relationship in this metuschemsya and chaotic world.

Stories shape our lives, and the stories we tell about our lives, in turn shape us. Create a future love story about you and your husband, which is described as your life together will look like in five or ten years. This will help you save your union.

wide-open arms

As the attachment – is a universal need, it can help parents avoid conflicts with their children. Recently I was in a cafe with his teenage son and shouted at him over the roar of the coffee machine, he pouted and offended. Then he suddenly said: “Mom, I think we are doing the very same thing: I feel like you’re criticizing me and you – though I do not care what you say.” We both started to laugh, and my anger melted.

Now we know what love really is, we know how to keep it. Now it depends on us how we will use this knowledge with our partners in our families, and then – in what ways will release the love in the world, to change it.