Dating Exploration: Being More Present

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Dear Soft Hearts,

Welcome back for more on love and relating. I love this topic! I hope you’ve gotten something helpful from this series so far and if not keep reading because we have a couple more weeks of fun with dating and love.

One of my all time favorite routes of exploring and supporting relationships is through Imago Therapy. From my understanding Imago therapy was made by White people and held for straight couples. Yikes! Imago therapy, much like many other therapy approaches now includes a variety of people and relationship types and styles. I actually first learned more about heard about Imago Therapy from members in the LGBTQ and Black communities.

One of the strategies that I love about Imago Therapy that I’ll share with you here today much like I’d share with a client is called “Identifying Exits.” Oh this is a juicy one so get ready! “Identifying Exits” tells folks they can identify ways in which they check out of their relationships and repeat a childhood pattern. For example, someone may avoid their partners by checking work emails or cleaning inadvertently to get private time. Imago Therapy or the book, Getting the Love you Want, helps people explore where that need for private time came from. For example, if someone’s caregiver was overbearing with their emotions and checking in the now adult may desire this alone time in their current partnerships. There’s no need to transform exits, it is simple about noting and identifying the exits. Once we note the exits we then can work with patients to reflect on what this exit does to intimacy and presence in their relationships. If someone is in need of private time and constantly looking at their phone rather than asserting their need for private time their partner may experience a lack of presence or intimacy on the other end of this interaction.

It’s really possible to rewrite the script. I’ve seen folks who didn’t grow up with healthy models in relationships use these strategies to connect more deeply with their loved ones. I find it amazing that we can connect more deeply by noticing where we check out and where it came from. Anyway that we can show up more authentically in partnerships also helps us be more connected within too.

See you next week for more on this dating stuff!

With kindness,

Dr. Joharchi

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