To his dismay, she isn’t comforting. She brushes off his stress and doubts about his future as a Financial Advisor. Over the following two weeks, Jake tries to get the support he desperately needs from Amy to help him bounce back from this, but she doesn’t budge and finds it silly that he even needs comforting.
Jake ends up coping himself with alcohol to handle his stress and uncertainty. Eventually his dissatisfaction with Amy, due to the lack of intimacy and comfort, causes Jake to end things.
Jake ends up taking a trip to see his best friend. Through some talking and separation from work, Jake gains some resilience. When he returns to work, he works even harder to build up his client base and deepen his relationships with the clients he already has.
Through one of Jake’s leads, Jake ends up meeting a daughter of a retired gentleman.
Jake and Debra
She’s very cuddly, warm, and nurturing – all the things that were lacking in Amy. Debra is really supportive of Jake in his business efforts as well. In fact, she offers to help with Jake’s marketing. The first two months of help are perfect; Jake’s business is growing and his relationship with Debra was deepening.
But in month three, Debra started to take control of Jake’s marketing plans and started telling him how to run his business.
Jake did appreciate the help, but eventually, Debra’s intrusive behavior caused Jake to view her and their relationship in a bad light. He felt that she limited his ideas and was trying to make the business hers. Over time, he began to resent her.
Six months into the relationship, he calls things off.
Jake and Sammy
Within two weeks Jake meets Sammy in a supermarket. She is sensitive and responsive when things in Jake’s business aren’t going well. She is encouraging, not intrusive or hostile when Jake told her his ambitions and ideas.
Not all individuals are equally willing and able to take the risk to live the life they want or ask for the support they need to do so. Not all romantic partners are equally skilled and motivated to provide a secure base to help one explore, or a safe haven when things go wrong. Moreover, existing beliefs and expectations that partners bring into the relationships may become self-fulfilling prophecies in the relationships.
Click here to learn more about existing beliefs and expectations and the strange way your childhood shapes your romantic relationships as an adult.
It’s easy to see that when Jake was unable to get his basic attachment needs met, he experienced a chronic sense of anxiety – just like the rest of us do. Not only do our emotions become a cocktail made in hell when our romantic partner doesn’t support us, but our physical health does as well.
Some of us gain weight. Some of us drink more alcohol or stuff our faces in a bathtub of chocolate and peanut butter. Having a partner who is inconsistently supportive can be a debilitating experience that can literally stunt our growth and ruin our health.
Ironically, when someone fulfills our intrinsic attachment needs and is comfortable acting as a secure base and safe haven, we not only become more resilient but also physically healthier and live longer.
In fact, Jake’s business and his relationship with Sammy are thriving today. They have their ups and downs like all of us, but their unconditional love and support for each other is the bedrock of their success.
The paradox of love
Our partners not only profoundly affect our relationships; they profoundly affect the way we feel about ourselves. Being dependent on your partner doesn’t mean you have to sew your bodies together centipede-style and give up on other aspects of your career, passions, or friends. Paradoxically, the opposite is true.