It's Valentine's week and many people are focused on relationships. So Imagine Hope wants to help you discover what a healthy relationship looks like. This week we will not only address "Romantic Relationships", but we will also educate you on healthy family relationships and friendships. A healthy relationship can reap benefits on all areas of life. If you have healthy friendships, it can give you a great opportunity to practice being healthy with family, co-workers, and with your partner. As we look at healthy relationships, it is necessary to know the different stages that relationships go through. As we continue this week, you will see what each type of relationship looks like in each stage.
Stage 1- Enmeshed
This stage is when two individuals are very close and connected. Most people are overlapping each other in this stage. It is common and normal to be here at the beginning of any relationship. However, this stage becomes unhealthy when a person has lost their sense of self in the relationship. They will often feel smothered or that their identity has been compromised.
Stage 2- Emotionally Cutoff
This stage operates on the surface level. You may spend time and communicate with a person in this stage, but ist rarely goes to a vulnerable, deep level. One or both parties have emotional walls to protect themselves, and it is common for people to feel distant from one another. There may be conflict out in the open and/ or brewing under the surface in this stage.
Stage 3- Interdependent
This stage is the healthy ideal relationship people seek. Both individuals feel safe, therefore, it is not necessary to have emotional walls. You will fight fair and resolve issues. There will be boundaries as well as vulnerability from both people. Each person has a sense of self, and is able to operate like a team with their partner. Both are striving to be emotionally healthy as they work to keep their emotional baggage from controlling the relationship.
Keep checking in this week to see how romance, family, and friendships look in each of these stages. We wish you all to have healthy and fulfilling relationships!
Written by guest blogger Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling. You can find Teri at renewedhorizon.com