Metaphors are my friend. They are fantastic tools in the midst of conducting therapy because somehow, when well-timed, these visual analogies make an instant impact in describing something that will help someone grow. One that seems to be coming up a lot lately is my metaphor for the magnetic pull of relationships, and the subsequent “flipping of the magnets”. Of course, I put a spiritual slant on it given my overall outlook on our experiences in the world.
In my experience, both personally and in watching others in my therapy practice, there is a phenomenon that pulls people (and sometimes situations) together, much like the intense pull of two very strong magnets. Many have experienced the magnetic quality when they’re falling deeply in love and can’t seem to think of anything but spending time with the other person. We feel drawn to them, connected in such an intense way that we are just sure they are “the one”, despite the fact that we are often blind to the incompatibilities, the red flags, the drama, or the overall complications that may exist. The love is blind thing applies, but is also trumped by the enormity of the pull toward the other person.
Then the magnet flips. Something happens, sometimes quickly and sometimes very slowly, to create the sense that no matter what you do, you can no longer feel connected. Try as you might, the polar opposites of the two individual magnets is making it impossible for things to fit. In fact, instead of feeling like nothing can tear you apart, you may actually feel repelled by the idea of forcing the union to work.
So, here’s my theory: When we experience the beginning of a relationship of that magnitude, it is the Universe’s way of bringing people together who are supposed to learn big things about themselves, the other person, relationships in general, and the world overall. And I mean BIG THINGS!!! Why else would we be drawn to someone this intensely unless it was a huge opportunity to grow? To me, there is clearly something larger playing a part in creating options for our evolution.
Many people get in the same kinds of relationships over and over again, only to be frustrated and disappointed with a series of unsuccessful outcomes. Or there are the “different” relationships—ones we’ve never experienced before but equally intense. These can throw you off to the point of losing yourself, all the while being drawn into them like moths to a flame (see, another metaphor that applies…).
The magnitude of these types of relationships is often catastrophic. The debris that remains can leave us feeling completely torn apart and lost. The devastation can take years to clean up—if we choose to do the internal exploration to make sense of the situation. But most people simply recover in whatever way they can, eventually dust themselves off, then return to the hunt for the ‘perfect’ mate—all without really interpreting the golden nuggets of information that are right there in front of them.
Our relationships often create our best opportunities for growth. If we raise our consciousness about each one, learning whatever we are supposed to learn along the way, we can master this aspect of our human condition to the point of little carnage left behind. So, no matter where you are in your relationship(s), you might want to spend a bit more time examining the wreckage to understand why the Universe sent the union your way—what you learned to do or not do… what impact the other person had, and how you can better recover and heal from the devastation. Every experience we have within the human condition is there for our development…. Make the best of it.