Maya had a long history of learning to ignore her feelings and never discuss them. It made everything on the surface appear okay, but that didn’t necessarily mean it was. She and her husband wanted to unlearn their old habits and dig deeper to find the closeness and connection they deserved...
My husband and I have known each other since the 3rd grade. Our families live within a mile of each other and we never left the town we were born in. We definitely fit the stereotype of ‘Midwesterners’, and if you haven’t ever heard it, it’s pretty simple: we don’t talk about our feelings. We focus on actions, not words, and we are always stifling our emotions, ignoring issues, and focusing on the future instead of dwelling on the past. That might have worked in past generations, but we’re working through issues and that model no longer serves us. We want to become more open and insightful because our relationship depends on it.
Well, we had quite the learning curve. We found out our attachment styles immediately and it was definitely eye-opening. I’m a Labrador, and my partner is a Rabbit. Reading the description of a Rabbit was like reading a list of adjectives about my husband, and even though it was difficult to recognize that we essentially represented opposite ends of the security spectrum… it gave us such a clearer vision of the other.
I do everything on the app religiously. I read every lesson, I do every activity right away except journaling I like to wait until I can be alone or before bed to write in it. One of the ones I got recently was writing down 10 things about John I admire, and I realized that he’s actually not very comfortable receiving praise. We realized how much his hang-ups were attributed to his attachment style and we have been educating ourselves more on how we can help him grow towards security. When I checked in with my coach about how our week went, I mentioned that John had become really agitated and uncomfortable when I tried to share the list of things I admire about him. She responded by assigning me a lesson called ‘Receiving Love Is Harder Than You Think,’ which was literally the EXACT situation we were in. It was so perfect for us it was almost spooky. I felt like we had so much support from our coach and also John felt the relief of knowing he’s not an alien or an outcast… that he’s just a Rabbit, and there are tons of people just like him.
We’ve also found enormous success with Connect. It’s like a Facebook forum just about relationships – except it never gets trolled. We’ve shared about our attachment styles and found other couples who are also Labrador/Rabbits who gave us great perspective. We’ve asked the community questions and gotten really great feedback and moral support. There are so many elements that make you feel like you are on the right track and are making great progress. You just feel like you can do anything.
We’re improving every single aspect of our relationship, from our sex life to our household chores, everything is running smoother. I’m actually excited about the future.
Now that we’ve opened this can of worms, we can’t stop. John and I will talk about our feelings on almost a daily basis now, to the horror of both of our families. We don’t care. We’re improving every single aspect of our relationship, from our sex life to our household chores, everything is running smoother. I’m actually excited about the future. And most of all, I’m really proud of the example we’re setting for our kids.