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Fragile Moments

In relationships, it isn’t uncommon to experience moments where you feel big emotions. It’s possible that you stay calm and cool on the outside, but inside, you’re all knotted up with emotion.

The other day, Kelsey and I were outta sync. She wanted to chat, but I was busy with something. I could tell this was bothering her and I tried to make it better. My efforts didn’t seem to restore her mood, so I gave up.

I had some big emotions that are a part of my side of our conflict cycle. Sometimes I feel like I have to be perfect to be loved. I feel like I always do it wrong. Neither of these things are true, yet that’s the emotional child within me. This is where I go when my attachment longings flare up.

Kelsey wasn’t okay, either. For her, it seemed like I didn’t care about the situation. She looked at my outward actions and thought I was simply able to move along without a worry. NBD. This brought up her side of the conflict cycle. She worried that I don’t care that much about being close and connected with her. She worried that I’m not in tune with her. This wasn’t true either. I was, in actuality, very aware of her emotions and it was bugging me in the worse way.

Later that evening, we sat down to figure out how to get back outta this funk. We started talking about what took place. When Kelsey shared her perspectives and worries (that I didn’t want to connect with her), my initial reaction was to defend myself. When she shared that she felt I would connect only when it was convenient for me, I wanted to tell her this wasn’t true! And it triggered my initial worry, that I don’t do it ‘right.’

This easily could have spiraled into disconnect, and in the past, these moments have done just that. But this time, I had experience and practice with changing it. I simply let myself know that I do want to connect with her. I do want to serve her. And I happily make sacrifices for her every day. She is my rock, she just doesn’t feel that right now, and that’s okay. This time, I was able to hold my arms open. I moved in to hug her.

I told Kelsey that I get it. That I am happy to just hold her and to hug her right now. I told her that I love our conversations together and that I will always serve her. I know that, and I believe that for myself. But even in this moment, I re-promised myself to show her in the best ways I know how. And it worked.

Some days, I’m the one to break the cycle. And other days, it’s Kelsey. Conflict cycles are hard to break. Inside this work, we often feel fragile. As we are navigating through them, we can feel sensitive and things can flare back up again and again.

Yet, I’ve seen that when delicately handled, we can reassure each other once again of the care that we hold.

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