Anna and Alex were stuck in Level Two Intimacy. They were always changing and they were having great sex; but the two of them were unhappy. They burned-out from their fast paced life. Anna and Alex were trying to find something in their life that would make them happy. All their activity failed to make them happy. So, they tried to force the other person to change, and that gave way to vicious arguments. Through therapy Anna and Alex grew. They stopped blaming each other and they stopped trying to win arguments. Anna stopped trying to convince Alex she was right and Alex stopped trying to "WIN" the arguments They became willing to compromise and willing to “agree to disagree.” They finally moved out of Level Two Intimacy and into Level One Intimacy.
Bethany and Blaine were also stuck. They were stuck at Level One Intimacy. They knew how to compromise and how give into each other, but this left them resentful. They were angry at each other, because they were giving up to much of themselves. Bethany and Blaine needed some confrontation, they needed some change. Therapy offered the challenge to grow. Bethany went back to work and started making new friends. This helped her feel better about her self, and this alleviated Blaine’s worries about finances. Blaine learned to try new things sexually. He started to view their sex life as an adventure for himself and not a sacrifice for Bethany. This helped him manage his depression. Instead of giving up things for each other, they challenged each other to grow. Bethany and Blaine moved from Level One Intimacy to Level Two Intimacy.
These couples needed therapy to find the space for growth. They were both stuck in their patterns. Anna and Alex were stuck in a pattern of constant challenge. Bethany and Blaine were stuck in a pattern of constant compromise. Therapy helped them get unstuck. Real healthy relationships grow. Growth happens when the couple can cycle from Level One Intimacy to Level Two Intimacy and back again. This cycle effectively produces growth. Couples must compromise, but they must challenge each other too. The challenge of Level Two Intimacy creates vulnerability. When that vulnerability is met with safety of Level One Intimacy change is rewarded with security. When couples can do both Levels effectively, they grow.
No confidentiality was breached in this article.
The stories in this essay are not actual clients,
but composites from several clients,
cases I have supervised
and people I have known personally.