Finally being in a healthy relationship can feel uncomfortable

It could feel peaceful and a relief, but sometimes other emotions come up. We may feel distrustful - is this too good to be true? We might feel unworthy and be healing from poor treatment (do I really deserve to be treated this well? We might feel afraid (if this love goes away I'm afraid of feeling abandoned again). We might be overwhelmed by this new level of intimacy or even suddenly turned off!

I remember the first time I got into a relationship with a man who was truly emotionally available. I was used to being with partners who were more distant, not in touch with their emotions etc. Connecting felt like a struggle.

I was used to being the one who had an unmet need for closeness. Then I got to learn that when I actually received that closeness, it sent me into a panic! All the ways closeness was traumatising in childhood rose to the surface.

To the man who first witnessed me in a way I had never been seen before, I'm so sorry you were the recipient of those unhealed parts of me. I felt too ashamed to tell you parts of my story, and other parts of my experience I didn't have the language for yet.

I felt guilty for years, but with perspective I also see that I never really had a chance. How could I model back behaviour I had never seen? I had no context for what a healthy relationship actually looked like. I had to seek out examples to learn from: books, videos, observe and ask questions of conscious couples... practice radical honesty + conscious communication in friendships too.

If you find yourself struggling in a connection that seems positive on paper, it's often worth getting a second opinion from trusted loved ones, a therapist etc. And if you know that feelings of discomfort are a natural part of undoing wounds, you can prepare a plan of what to do when you get triggered (e.g. communicate feelings to partner, turn to support system, self soothe).

You deserve the magic on the other side of facing your fears with a safe person beside you.

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