Emotional Monogamy Through Imago
by Maureen Brine
Love is a decision. We do not fall into it; we decide to participate or to withdraw. I have watched couples choose to love, often through incredible adversity. I have seen people withdraw -- refuse to love because the pain is too great. I have witnessed these same people decide to love again. Through the Imago Process, they were able to achieve the emotional monogamy that true love requires.
Emotional monogamy is the ability to hold onto a secure sense of the relationship in the face of adversity. It is a stretch for most people. Often during the power struggle it appears easier and appropriate to question the validity of the relationship rather than work through difficulties. Many couples are able to commit to sexual monogamy, but find emotionally monogamy a greater challenge. This is especially true when they are unaware of the Stages of Relationship.
There is a tendency for people engaged in the power struggle to flip-flop back and forth between feelings of attraction and feelings of repulsion. “Am I with the right person?” “This person is perfect for me.” “I want to be in this relationship forever.” “Did I make a mistake?” This ambivalence leads to Harriet Lerner’s
Dance of Intimacy – a tango couples often unconsciously dance.
I have seen many couples resolve their power struggle issues and become emotionally monogamous. They are relieved to discover that working through ambivalence paves the way to true love. They feel safe and passionate, and trust their intimacy. They are able to hold onto a secure sense of the relationship – a security they feel, appreciate and are able to build on.
It is truly a pleasure to coach couples to this place and watch the miracle of love happen. The beauty of being an Imago Therapist is that I learn and grow through my work. The couples and individuals I work with reveal to me great insights into life, love, relationships and the human spirit. I honestly believe I learn as much as I teach.