The Date Night that Went Sour

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In our previous blog we shared with you the reasons why you sometimes act like a 5 year old. Today we want to share with you how your partner, or other people close to you, trigger your 5 year old to come out and play.

As previously discussed, children have a need for survival. When we were children our job was to do whatever it takes to survive. We also shared that developmentally speaking, most children are highly ego-centric, so any need that is not met is interpreted as a direct threat to their survival, which is how it gets imprinted in the brain as “need not met”/”survival threatened.”

This is important information to review before discussing how your partner triggers you, because it’s important to know that your partner, or others in your life, have the same needs for survival imprinted into them, too.

Armed with this background information let’s paint a picture for you:

It’s Saturday evening and you are getting ready to go out. You and your partner had agreed to go out to your favorite restaurant for dinner because it’s been a long time since you had been out on a date together. Your relationship was starting to get routine and the two of you remembered how much fun you used to have, so you have been looking forward to this all week long. You take a nice long shower, shave your legs, put on makeup, put on a flattering dress, spray your favorite perfume, and slip into some nice heels. You are all dolled up and ready to go…

And then you go out to the living room to see your partner sitting on the couch in his shorts, zoned out in front of the TV watching college football…

Before you know it, you are triggered and ready to lay into him. Here’s how it sounds:

“WHAT?!?!?! How come you are sitting there watching TV and you haven’t gotten ready yet? I thought we were going out to dinner? What are you still doing there being lazy in your shorts? I can never rely on you, I can never trust you, you always let me down.”

And then you storm out of the room upset while your partner is fuming, too.

Now you’re both angry, feeling disappointed (or like a disappointment), and there’s a greater rift and divide between you two.

Here’s what happened:

You were excited to connect with your partner. You felt good about getting taken out. You were really looking forward to it. And the moment you came downstairs and saw your partner not ready for your agreed upon date, your inner 5 year old kicked in with her alert signals, that said, “Need not met! Need not met! Alert! Alert! Need not met!” At which time she went into her 5 year old, ego-centric tantrum mode, shut down to hearing what someone else might have to say (there may have been good reason your partner wasn’t ready for your date yet), and fully focused on protecting herself for her own needs of survival…because it would be too hard for her to face that the person she chose to love in her life in that moment disappointed her just like her daddy did. So, partner becomes the villain, and date night turns sour, and both of you feel terrible.

If this sounds familiar, we want you to know, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here at the Center for Soulful Relationships in San Jose, we work with couples just like you to help you discover what might have been happening for you and how you can communicate about it so that you don’t end up with more sour experiences to add to your long list of grievances.

Through our couples counseling day long intensives, our skilled relationship therapist, Shirani M. Pathak, will help you and your partner identify and understand what your triggers are and how you can work together to understand one another better, rather than blowing up at one another.

Partner won’t come to therapy with you? No problem! We also offer relationship therapy for one. In our individual relationship counseling sessions, you will meet with your therapist to learn what your triggers are and how your partner, or others, push your buttons so that you can get a better handle on them.

All of our clients, whether they join us for a couples counseling intensive or individual therapy, leave us with a sense of relief, understanding, and a feeling of restored love and tenderness in their lives. 

If you are ready to welcome support on your journey, please reach out and schedule your Get Acquainted Call today.