Building Body Trust in Relationship
As many know and have experienced, it is possible to change and grow together…even around deeply vulnerable topics with often disparate histories such as food and weight.
Often times we hear people talk about working on one’s self before getting into a new relationship. “It’s time to work on yourself!”, “I can really get strong and figure my stuff out!” or even most powerfully, “You can’t love someone unless you learn to love yourself first!”. While it’s important to actively support anyone’s desire to do this work, this life is rarely black and white and/or absolute. We can’t always plan when we fall in love, or when we meet someone of interest. And even when we do all the independent growth work in the world, building our awareness and strengthening/shifting into new healthier patterns, inevitably we may find ourselves in another relationship and quickly triggered back into old unhealthy patterns of interaction and relating. Even in the middle of a long-term relationship, an aware life means that growth and change can happen at any time. How does one build the skills of interdependence while in a relationship? How can one strengthen one’s own self care patterns when deeply engaged with a loved one?
Each of us brings our own history, beliefs, values, assumptions, meanings and triggers to a relationship. Even when we find partners that share many experiences, beliefs, values in common, we may still feel challenged, especially in the course of modern busy lives, to do the hard work of creating the life we want within the context of an intimate relationship. A couple’s level of cohesion, communication and secure attachment can potentially exacerbate the difficulties of maintaining a new pattern, especially when this new pattern involves one’s relationship to food, weight, and body image. It is the people with whom we live that we will more often share meals, see naked, share physical activities, insecurities and health concerns. Our partner’s beliefs about food, weight, and dieting can impact our feedback loops and those impacts can range from strong support to insidious sabotage. It is easy to declare, “I will TRUST my body” and can still be hard to maintain if the meaning our partner’s derive out of that statement is a far cry from our own newfound body wisdom and awareness. Stepping into the Intuitive Eating world, building body trust, and stripping away our old protective coping skills to reveal this deeper connection to our emotional lives and needs, can potentially complicate our feelings about our relationships. Our partners may not know how to respond or grow with us, and it may reveal hidden tensions, surprising feelings, and or misunderstandings. Even partners with the best of intentions may still find themselves on the outside of the partner’s process, feeling supportive yet disconnected.
As many know and have experienced, it is possible to change and grow together…even around deeply vulnerable topics with often disparate histories such as food and weight. How do we invite our partners (often more than willing in intention) along with us on this journey? How do we bridge the gaps in understanding and unpack the triggers each brings to the conversation? How do we transform the fear of change and its associated losses into a powerful vehicle towards deeper intimacy and mutual understanding? How do we ask for what we need in ways that neither require parts of our new self to disappear again nor sabotage our needs to be loved and cared for?
At the February Body Trust Network discussion on February 4th we invite you to join us for a skill-building workshop that addresses these questions and concerns. We’ll identify the strengths you and/or your couple already possess and expand the ways in which you make use of those strengths to deeper your mutual understanding and intimacy especially around food and weight. Join us to really explore how body trust looks in the context of a relationship and how the relationship can blossom as a result of this shared journey.