Despite all the Martha Stewarts of dating who would like you to believe that the holy grail of a healthy relationship is emotional stability: It’s not. A preoccupation with emotional stability, yours and your partners, will ruin your relationship. Lazy thinking causes people to think in binary opposition. They posit; “Emotional instability is bad, so emotional stability must be good.”
Then someone goes off and writes an article or a book about the virtues of emotional stability simply by comparing it to toxic, abusive, immature, selfish, and downright crazy emotional instability makes some money, talks to Ellen and boom! Suddenly no one wants to be labeled as emotionally unstable and be rejected from the dating pool!. No one wants to fly off the handle, burst into tears, get really pissed or jump for joy on Oprah’s couch because that is clearly crazy and dangerous!
Well, I’ll tell you what. Emotional stability is a passion killer. It’s the embossed Crane’s invitation to boredom. It’s your ticket to holding back, secrets, and resentment. A preoccupation with emotional stability is the gateway to emotional distance and it’s going to make you feel alone.
The trait to embrace and develop in your relationship is not emotional instability or emotional stability; it is emotional resilience. Emotional resilience is the ability to feel the highs and lows and then settle back to neutral when the excitement is over. Emotional resilience is the ability to feel the pain of job loss, the frustration of a flat tire, the elation of a promotion, the titillation of a passionate kiss and let it resonate within you, impact you but not destroy you, reverberate in your spirit without changing you permanently. After the event, good or bad, you naturally fall back to your regular emotional rhythm.
Emotional resiliency also gives you the awareness to keep things in perspective. You don’t treat that flat tire like it’s the end of the world. And you don’t treat that passionate kiss like it’s a sign from God that you are soul mates. When you understand and can ride the waves of your emotions you understand also that they are not permanent states. You will neither be this excited or this miserable forever. You spend less time trying to control and repress your emotions as you let them carry you to the next one.
Your emotions are revealing and they are a key to your instincts as well. The more we repress our emotional reactions or try to rationalize them away, the farther away we get from our true needs and wants. The harder it is for us to react when things are not going in a direction that suits us. If we ignore our emotions, we also tend to ignore a lot of other illuminating details about our lives, like that horrible feeling that someone is not being honest, or the feeling that maybe he’s digging you and leaning in for that kiss right now could be the perfect moment!
We work for stability and when we find that we are completely dissatisfied. And in the process we create spaces for dysfunction, deception, distance and other toxins to enter your relationship.
All the dating and relationship experts have sold you a lie that your relationship should be neatly boxed up and labeled and organized and tidy. That would make it easy, wouldn’t it!? That would exhibit maturity and then you could be an example of what is right!?
In addition to emotional resilience, we also need emotional variety. We need excitement, we need joy, we need fear, we need anxiety, we need silliness, we need anger, we need passion, we need serenity, we need peace.
Not all of these emotions need to be or should be expressed within the relationship, but they could be shared in the relationship.
I’ll give you an example. You don’t want your anger targeted at your partner. And you don’t want to be angry all the time, but there will be some things that will piss you off!
There are injustices in the world! There are probably injustices in your life! Let them fire you up and inspire you to positive action. Share your feelings about these injustices with your partner. Get fired up together! This is a healthy way to incorporate anger into your relationship.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. Emotional stability is simply practiced, acquired indifference. And it will kill your passion, intimacy and relationship.