Real Change Destabilizes Relationships

Most couples who come to me for therapy are quite miserable but quite stable in the sense that they cannot separate. If one partner changes, the relationship is less miserable (for both) but also less stable. It is usually at that point that the couple stops coming. The same phenomenon is seen in individual clients. Of course relationships can and do stabilize on a better basis. But actually what is most desirable is less stability and more balance, just as it is with posture and movement. Stability is achieved (in furniture say) by having a wide base and low center of gravity. Humans have a narrow base (feet more narrow than shoulders) and a high center of gravity. That is why balance is so important, but it also why graceful quick agile movement is possible, leveraging rather than fighting gravity. But many of us have a fear of falling. The metaphor of a relationship being a dance is better understood in this way.

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