The way individuals connect with the people close to them, reveals what they’ve learned from past relationships both as a child and throughout life.  On the simplest level, these experiences demonstrate whether they’ve learned that relationships are safe and people can be  trusted, or that being close to others is dangerous and people are likely to end up hurting you.  The fights, withdrawals and hurt feelings are therefore due to both partners’ psychological histories as well as current and recent circumstances .  It is a demonstration of where they are and a result of their chronological journey. 

The truth is that the past is always with us, it is just a question of how it manifests in each individual.  Talking with an empathetic listener is crucial for working this out.  We can talk about the hurt and attach a meaning to it and through this, a person is able to undertake whatever personal changes are advisable in order to deal with their current situation.  The task of identifying this is often a challenge.  We don’t know where our partners have been hurt as often it can be something that is buried away or a topic that your partner has learnt to live with.  Often we make pronouncements and blurt out supposed ‘truths’ about each other which are based on misunderstandings and unconscious assumptions. What we don’t know is what happened to our partners in their formative years or throughout their lives.  In our interactions with them we looking through our own lenses with no view into theirs.  Many good relationships go through the first two stages of attraction and then romance and when the third stage of the power struggle arrives, these misunderstandings come into play which can often be the birth of the first child, issues with in-laws, financial issues or just being together for a number of years.  How these issue are dealt with, are based on these earlier memories, conscious or not.  

It may be the case that during this power struggle phase of a relationship, some harsh words are said that hit a sensitive chord with one’s partner.  The reaction of this person may not be what you would expect and the result is a withdrawal and a feeling that your partner has ‘checked out’.  The partner is actually going to a ‘safer place’ away from the familiar hurtful position that they identify from their past.  That safe place may be withdrawing into themselves, going out or into simply into another room.

Becoming close to your partner is a journey of both self-discovery and a deep understanding of the person you are sharing your life with.  Through this understanding it is possible to develop a partnership that creates a wholeness in each other and at the end of the day a safe place that you both call home.