About two months into our dating relationship, I look out the kitchen window and see my boyfriend fixing my back fence. He’s out there in his full length slicker, cowboy hat, the rain’s pouring down and he’s mending the fence. I’m in the house sautéing some chicken, onions, and mushrooms and man oh man, does he look hot out there.
After dinner, we sit in front of the fireplace sipping mint tea. We talk about our dreams and our pasts, we laugh, and we really connect. Then at some point in the evening (and I know this is coming), he puts his arm around me and says…
“Jennifer, I love you.”
And I freeze. Like a deer in the headlights, I’m wide eyed and speechless, like I am every time he does that.
Here is my mate. The person I’ve been looking for is sitting next to me sipping mint tea. Everything I’ve visualized and journaled that I could want, he is, and then some. I couldn’t have done a better job creating him if I’d done it myself.
So what in the HECK is my problem?
I start to say things that I think he’d like to hear.
I start being really nice to him as if to make up for some deficiency I have.
I suspect that I don’t really deserve him and that I might be using him, which makes me feel guilty.
I start to get irritable and then apologetic. Yuck!!
The truth? I’m deathly afraid of being alone, of being rejected, and of repeating past mistakes.
Clear the Fear
Using one of the tools we now teach in our programs with couples, we “cleared the fear” by actually talking about what we were afraid of. Yes, the whole, vulnerable, depth of our fears of inadequacy and failure.
And in one, miraculous conversation, what I’m afraid of is out in the open and we see each other. I let go of my fears, he let’s go of his, and we move forward. Soon after that we promise to be together for the rest of our lives. One year later we are married, pregnant, and 100% committed to a lifetime together.
Amy talks about being brazen and radically authentic. In retrospect, I see that that’s exactly what I am. Brazen and radically authentic isn’t about being tough, domineering, or cutting-edge. It’s about having the courage to show your true self and realizing that your true self is that juicy, wonderful nougat-y center of you that people love. You do that and you’ll finally be able to relax. And you just might get to see the juicy, tender center of the people around you too.
3 Keys to Clear Fear in Any Relationship
- Don’t be afraid to talk about fear. Many people avoid talking about fears because there’s an assumption that if we talk about bad stuff, it’ll come true. Well, the success of whether or not you resolve fear, worry, and doubt depends 100% on how you talk about it, and how the communication is received. [tweet that!]
- Just listen. You MUST hear and understand your partner’s communication without allowing it to mean anything about you, without trying to fix your partner, and without trying to make their fear go away. This is a practice of active listening so that your partner feels heard.
- No agendas. When speaking your fears, set your intention to completely communicate all your fears without expectation that your partner is going to “do anything about it.” Your intention in this communication is to simply verbalize the stuff that’s rattling around in your head keeping you up at night so that you can let it go.
Your Turn! Tell me, do you ever get “deer in the headlights” in a relationship? What happens? Why? Post a comment to the blog!
Get a copy of Four Steps to CLEAR the FearTM so You Can Get On With Your Dreams or to apply for a free 1-on-1 Relationship Clarity Strategy Session call with us, visit us here.
About the author:
Jennifer Diepstraten, CEO and co-founder, runs FamilyCo alongside her husband Peter. They specialize in helping couples get over struggling and get back to snuggling. They are speakers, mentors, and trainers of their flagship program Relationships 202: Re-discover Joy, Connection, and Fulfillment in Relationships Naturally. Peter and Jennifer have a blended family comprised of an 11-year old son, 21 month-old son, 26-year old daughter, and three grandchildren. Jennifer holds a degree in Biopsychology and a Masters of Science, and Peter lead programs for 6 years for one of the largest personal development companies in the world.