Thanks for connecting me with the information and inspiration to write this whisper about intermittent relationships, Jesse! I often work with clients who are struggling with their relationships. Perhaps they’re dating someone, possibly having had sex, then suddenly their phone calls and texts go unanswered. Emotional discharge follows, with confusion and frustration topping the list.
Animal studies indicate that when a lever delivers food or water with each push, the animal uses the lever whenever they feel hungry or thirsty. If the lever stops delivering the reward, they lose interest and stop pushing the lever. But if the food or water becomes intermittent, the animals begin to obsess and push the lever all the time, regardless of their needs. The end result is that the animal stops taking care of itself, and their health declines due to their detrimental hyper-focus on the lever.
Psychologists believe this to be true for human behavior as well, whether the intermittent nature of the relationship exists in the beginning stages, or whether the relationship is a long-term marriage where one partner displays intermittent affection or attention. This could occur due to circumstances as well, where one of the partners works away from home, such as a military deployment. An on-off relationship makes it hard to let go, the sensitive heart reacts to the pain, and the draining effect of energy creates ruminations that can linger and fuel a negative response to every interaction. Let’s get a whisper on the subject of intermittent relationships:
Human nature can desire something that is not available, but unlike animals, humans have a higher mental capacity that enables them to control their emotions and to recognize detrimental behavior. Humans are also very giving by nature, so they can get caught up in expectations or ideal viewpoints, instead of accepting the reality of the situation.
Society has fed the martyr complex for so long that it has become engrained in the collective consciousness to reside in the human psyche. The awakening energies of the human species today are illuminating the path toward enlightenment, with people taking on roles that inspire the model for personal responsibility. In other words, for an individual to accept abusive behavior in the name of spirituality cannot be part of a sustainable model for the future.
Using the term abuse to describe someone engaging in intermittent emotional engagement may seem strong, yet each soul is learning how to enforce personal boundaries through experiences that may seem extreme. Most people are totally unaware that their actions are bringing harm or suffering to those they have cut off from communication or being emotionally available.
Neediness in a relationship is as much an imbalance as withdrawal is, so one must look into the mirror to answer the question of what qualifies as bringing wellness. If someone in a relationship has communicated their lack of desire to maintain the relationship, but the other has chosen to hear what they want to hear, a form of denial has entered the emotional landscape. Each person must take personal inventory by examining what is being expressed, with words or without, what is truth, and what is being held in the light of love between two people.
Bring joy, ease suffering and create beauty, then dance like you mean it!
"The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.” Anne Morrow Lindberg