Sometimes relationships are as volatile as a tidal wave, with surges of frightening force and power that can render us feeling afraid, disoriented and caught in the undertow, unsure of which way is up. Other times, relationships are as smooth and tranquil as a glassy pond, promoting shared serenity and peace.

Like the seasons and the tide, relationships have cycles. A pattern of closeness, profound intimacy, followed by a pulling back, even disengagement, then re-engagement, and then closeness again. For some, these cycles occur within a day, a month, a year or periodically throughout the course of a lifetime.

The cycle has to do with vulnerability, trust, and intimacy. This is the human way of balancing fear and desire. Trauma, fear of loss and self-protection are the winds that fuel the waves. When trust and a stable attachment or connection is there, the waters settle into a nice loving flow.

The more we fight the natural ebbs and flows, the more we thrash or cling to our partner, the more we run the risk of drowning or pulling each other down in the process. When your relationship knocks you off balance, beware of the tendency to panic. Instead, trust in the rhythm of life and ride the wave.

While our relationships provide tremendous resources like love, laughter, mirroring and grounding, do not fall under the illusion that any relationship is your absolute anchor — for no relationship or person is perfect and nobody can truly or consistently be your rock. If that is your expectation, you will be disappointed and afraid. Instead, know that you, your partner, and your relationship go through natural cycles that promote your psycho-spiritual development. Trust in the process.

Perhaps counterintuitively, solitude is an important aspect of establishing healthy intimacy. Rather than depending on another to refuel our love power, we need to access that source of love from within. This allows us to love in a way that is healthy and not enmeshed, dysfunctional or needy.

In moments of quiet and reflective solitude, we connect with our deepest, highest and most authentic self…

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