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Rupture and Repair

All relationships will have some conflict - it's healthy to express our difference with the caveat, it's how you do it! No relationship is ever stable; each goes through a regular cycle of ‘rupture’ and ‘repair’. A healthy relationship is not one in which ruptures never occur, but one where both parties are willing and able to repair them.

Many tensions within relationships can usefully be looked at through the prism of a concept much used within psychotherapy: the idea of ‘rupture’ and ‘repair.’ For psychotherapists, every relationship is at risk of moments of frustration or as the term has it, of ‘rupture’, when we suffer a loss of trust in another person as someone in whom we can safely deposit our love, and whom we believe can be kind and understanding of our needs. The ruptures are often quite small, and to outside observers perhaps imperceptible: one person fails to respond warmly to another’s greeting; someone tries to explain an idea to their partner who shrugs and says off-handedly that they have no idea what they’re on about; in front of friends, a lover shares an anecdote which casts the partner in a less than flattering light. Or the rupture can be more serious: someone calls someone a stupid fool and breaks a door. A birthday is forgotten. An affair begins… So we venture into expressing our needs, being clear with boundaries and empathising with the other. We don't have to agree but we can hear, validate and empathise.


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