What Makes a Relationship Work? Why Not?
Why are you only attracted to certain people?
I would like to share with you my theory on what makes a relationship work. I call it the Pac-man theory. Over thirty years of teaching Flirting seminars I recognized experiences that followed certain patterns. While sharing this information with you I will be simultaneously introducing you to my SIPPE Team through their conversations. Their names are Spree/Spiritual, Telly/Intellectual, Phoenix/Physical, Psy/Psychological, and Ember/Emotional. (It makes it a little more colorful.)
Telly (Intellectual) After all these years of teaching flirting, what information stands out that you have learned from your seminars?
Phoenix (Physical) – Yes, tell us.
Psy (Psychological) – Well, first-of-all, over the past thirty years, I have experienced a wealth of well-rounded, good-looking, nice people in all different age brackets, just waiting to meet the right person. It is not that the right person is not out there. The challenge is finding the combination that is right for you.
Looking for that special someone to share your life with is not an easy task if that is your goal. When you are looking for someone, a person rarely shows themselves. Yet, when you are relaxed in your own environment, enjoying life, others are readily attracted to you. It is the positive flow of energy, not the desperate, needy, anxious energy. This will only turn people away.
Spree (Spiritual) – Yes, as human beings we have a need to be whole.
Ember (Emotional) – Yes, I feel an intense yearning to find the person who can value who I am.
Psy (Psychological) – Exactly, many times, it is only a singular need that is attracting us to a particular person. As the relationship progresses and the need is fulfilled, there may no longer be a need for the relationship.
Bill met Tara at a friend’s party. They hit it off. They loved exploring together like two teenagers.
Tara never really had a chance to be a teenager because of having to be responsible for her younger brothers. Bill also had to be responsible at a young age because of financial needs of the family. So, they had this great opportunity to live out the teenage years they never had.
As the relationship progressed, they found that their adult lives were quite different. Their primary goals did not match, so it was difficult for the relationship to progress. Yet, they had a wonderful time experiencing what it was like to be a teenager. It did not take away their feelings for each other, but they realized they needed to move on.
Psy (Psychological) – This is called the Pac-man Theory. When a relationship is built on a simple need, it does not have a strong enough foundation for a long-term relationship. This foundation will most likely crumble if it does not build the strength and stability of at least three of the SIPPE energies.
Telly (Intellectual) – Can you share with us a little more about the Pac-man Theory?
Psy (Psychological) – Well, let me explain in more detail. I will use a romantic relationship between a man and a woman, but it can be applied to any friendship or business relationship as well. Imagine each person as an individual pie.
The person that is fulfilled in life is whole.
The person who has an undeveloped part of oneself has a need to be filled. As you can see a piece of the pie is missing.
Ember (Emotional) – What type of need are you talking about?
Psy (Psychological) – There are two basic needs that show up in one’s life. I am talking about bigger basic human needs.
- One type of need is to be comfortable. When this need is met, we have the sensation of; they understand me, they get me, and accept me for exactly who I am. It feels like coming home.
- The other need is to be challenged to grow as a person. What attracts us to the other person is… the opportunity to expand our horizons.
In a normal relationship, both parties have a need with a piece missing as well as a surplus to share. As you can see below, this pie has extra to share.
Over time as we grow and take on these aspects of ourselves, we may feel our partner is to the extreme with the surplus characteristics. But if they were not the extreme, we never would have seen it, to learn it for ourselves.
Once bringing the need and the surplus together you both can enjoy momentary fulfillment.
Phoenix (Physical) – Why is it just a momentary fulfillment?
Psy (Psychological) – Let me give you an example.
Stacey needs to feel safe and protected. She may not even be aware of this need, yet she attracts someone that will give her that experience. She loves the feeling of being safe. It heals specific wounds of her childhood.
If Stacey is a healthy individual, she will take this experience on as her own. She has grown. She no longer needs the strong element of safety from another. So, she begins to feel stifled in the relationship.
Or Shane has a great desire to protect a woman. So, he is attracted to Stacey who needs protecting. This role fulfills his masculine need. He has taken on the element of confidence through the role of protector. As time passes his focus is no longer on being the protector. He will play the part when needed but not all the time.
If Stacey does not take on her own feeling of safety and continually needs support from Shane, ultimately it will begin to drain him of his energy.
In either case, be it Shane or Stacey, there must be continual growth which creates a new comfort level. This will be wonderful for a while and then another growth spurt followed by another comfort level. This is life.
Spree (Spiritual) Yes, we are here in this lifetime to learn and grow. Most of us learn and grow when we understand the feeling of comfort. We are not here to stay the same. So are comfort changes. We need to move on to find a new sense of comfort. It often happens that one grows and the other stays the same. This can only last so long in a relationship. There must be a different growth mode that is activated within the relationship.
This is where so much of the misunderstandings come into play. You believe the person you fell in love with, will stay the same. Yet, you would be extremely unhappy if there is no change. The problem arises where you choose some things to stay the same and some things to change. The truth is nothing stays the same. A healthy relationship is supporting each other on their individual journey.
Psy (Psychological) – We all have aspects of ourselves that have a need, as well as, surplus to share. They are constantly changing.
The trick is to have a relationship in constant flow where our needs are met, and we can share our surplus with that same person. This is the ideal combination. I call this the ‘Evolution of the Pac-man Theory. This is only the beginning of a relationship.
Psy (Psychological) – For me personally, the biggest thing I have learned is the importance of not losing my own identity. In many of my past relationships I lost focus of what was important for me in my life. There must be a balance between the relationship’s needs and the individual needs. It cannot be an either/or scenario.
You become a shadow of your former self.
Spree (Spiritual) – There is such a powerful need for acceptance and love, that often times, in a relationship, the whole person does not dwell there, only the part of them they felt safe to unmask. This creates an unhealthy balance from the beginning and will have to right itself eventually.
Psy (Psychological) – Yes, the majority of men and women believe that to have a full and happy life, it is paramount to find their ‘special someone’. What they do not realize is to find that special someone they must be in the right place in their own life. Timing is everything. There is so much more involved other than being attracted to each other.
Spree (Spiritual) – I agree. Our love interests are there to show us what we are missing and the beauty we are not aware we have, by mirroring that particular aspect. This is one of the true gifts of a relationship. Both parties are given the opportunity to grow by what attracts us to our partner, as well as what aggravates us about them.
If you choose to recognize your special qualities and learn the lessons, you begin to develop from within.
Above is two healthy individuals and a healthy relationship.
Psy (Psychological) – Yes, we must recognize there are three separate relationships here, the two individuals and their union. To have a healthy relationship we must nurture all three. When both parties choose to be in continual transformation there is the opportunity to create new and exciting moments, more possibilities for fulfillment within the union.
THE REASON YOU GET TOGETHER ISN’T THE REASON YOU STAY TOGETHER.