Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Does Too much Disclosure Kill the Romance?

I was reading an article a day or two ago about the kinds of damage Narcissistic mothers cause in their daughters and the resultant difficulties they have in later life. And one of those areas of damage is how we conduct our relationships. We're often either too remote and removed, overprotecting ourselves from possible further pain; or we're too ready to jump in wholeheartedly, and engage in the relationship too early in a too-intense way. I think I have both of those tendencies, if I reflect on my past relationships with friends and lovers.

When I'm feeling safe I get very intimate, very fast, really feeling like the relationship only has potential if we have found an intense connection and joy in each other - like we really KNOW each other at a deeply connected level. And I have the ability to get there fast with people too - I'm comfortable with real and honest conversations, and so don't temper my own self disclosure. This either puts the other person off completely, or encourages them to go deep with me too. Most people don't go AS deep as me, but I have had some pretty hectic disclosures from people over the years, very early in our relationship, often at first meeting.

I must say, I've only recently started realising that fast intimacy (not sexual, just personal) isn't always the best thing. That total disclosure early on in a relationship may well take the 'juice' out of it. I'm starting to see that little disclosures, over time, may well be a way of growing slowly together, and revealing insights and truths over time can actually be a very rich and rewarding journey. It's never even occurred to me, until now, to pace myself on something like that.  Meeting a new possible girlfriend the other day, for instance: OK, it was an different kind of 'first meeting' with a new friend as she went deep, fast with her own revelations to me. But my immediate instinct was to see her again straight away. I liked her. I wanted to get to know her better. I wanted to spend time then. Or the next day. Not wait a week or two before we continue. But waiting is rich - lots of things to ponder about our first conversation. Time to wonder about her and her journey. Thinking about how much of her I see reflected in me. And how much of her journey matches mine because of that. Actually, she may be one who, like me, goes close. Quick.

So am I doing the same thing with the men I'm spending time with? Going in fast, intimate, deep. Lots of disclosure. Lots of words to share because of all the work I'm doing here on the blog. SO many thoughts. So many insights about me and where I'm at. My whole life story of relevant events that shaped me, all currently at my fingertips. But maybe I need to be more careful about how, and how fast, and even if I share those thoughts. Because it tumbles out of me in piles - and although I am slowly sifting through it all to find the sense that is me, I can't expect other people to be able to hold it. Get it. Unravel it. And work it in a way that is even safe for me.

Am I too much?

And once all of that is on the table - what else is there to talk about? Discover? Disclose? What does the second or third date look like? When all important things were laid bare on the table in the first 3 hours together?

Whew. It's so weird to be 47 and trying to figure this stuff out. Decades of not second-guessing my natural responses to think for a second, and now, wondering about every behaviour, every thought. Trying to find more functional ways of being in the world when I know, finally, how some of me was shaped so skew in my early years.

I'm not even sure that it's the right thing to try to change my behaviour now. My faults and flaws and cracks are all part of what makes me me. Maybe I need to be focusing more on WHO I decide to let in (because attracting the bad people has been part of my pattern), and less on who I am when I am 'in relationship' with people.

It's OK Trudy - you don't' have to finish every blog with a profound insight or a new decision. Just know that you're thinking. Wondering. Turning things over in your mind. It's enough, you know. For now.

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