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Emotional Bank Accounts

Think about the time when you first dated your loved one.

You most likely remember the time as a joyous, exciting and fulfilling phase of your relationship. You were likely in what is commonly known as the ‘honeymoon phase’.

After years together, however, most of us have a rather different experience of our relationship as compared to those first few weeks, months, years.

Have you ever paused to ponder how the relationship differs now?

Have you ever wondered what has changed in your partner’s behaviour?

Have you ever scrutinised your own behaviour to explore how you may have changed?

If you experienced the honeymoon phase as many have described it, you would have likely experienced a range of unmistakeable thoughts and emotions:

· you were glowing with love;

· you could not stop thinking about your partner and about the next time you could be together again;

· you saw most of your partner’s habits as endearing traits of their personality, even those ones that today you find most annoying and frustrating;

· you could not keep your hands off of each other;

· you desired nothing more than to do whatever you could do to feed that love and bask in it.

If it happens, when it happens, the honeymoon is a wonderful phase in everyone’s life.

Imagine now that, as you entered the relationship, you came equipped with an invisible, internal, emotional bank account.

For simplicity’s sake, let us imagine that both your emotional bank accounts started in the black, in credit. You both started your relationship with a life thus far that deposited enough to make you feel generally happy and joyous.

From that moment on, all life events, and especially your relationship events, will continuously deposit or withdraw from the account.

You said good morning with a loving smile and a kiss? You deposited on the account.

You praised your partner for the great work they did? You deposited on the account.

You gave your partner a back massage after a stressful day? You deposited on the account.

You celebrated the announcement of the arrival of your first child? You deposited on the account.

No matter how large or small a gesture, a word, an emotion or a thought that convey care, love and respect, they always deposit on the account.

You attacked your partner because they did not give you enough sex? You withdrew from the account.

You sided with your parents instead of your partner on a matter that actually concerned the couple? You withdrew from the account.

You cursed at your partner for embarrassing you in front of your friends? You withdrew from the account.

You gave your partner the cold shoulder because they did not understand you? You withdrew from the account.

No matter how large or small a gesture, a word, an emotion or a thought that convey disappointment, judgments or resentment, they always withdraw from the account.

It goes without saying that in a healthy relationship there must be space to communicate disappointment, judgment or resentment, but what makes the difference is the way in which these are communicated. There are the adult, mature and skilful ways, and then there are the destructive, dividing, depleting ways.

Paramount for the health of the relationship, its growth and blossoming is to DEPOSIT DAILY more than you withdraw.

Some days you’ll deposit small change. Some days you’ll deposit a big chunk from your bonus. Most days you’ll deposit a few dollars. The key is that you keep depositing.

You may not know this, but the account offers compounding interest, and as long as you don’t make any large withdrawals (cheating, betrayal, abuse and similar), you should be able to enjoy a relaxed, fulfilling and satisfying relationship.

Life will inevitably create the opportunities to withdraw, even when you are diligently depositing daily. It is inevitable!

You can consciously stay away from withdrawing big chunks, but the small, nearly invisible traps of life will invariably deduct some funds.

Now, it goes without saying that if until that moment you have deposited regularly and allowed the funds to grow, the withdrawal is unlikely to break the bank. However, if you are hovering near the zero mark or worst still, you are in overdraft, any further withdrawal can bankrupt you.

It is my experience that most couples make huge deposits in the honeymoon phase. The desire to love and please our partner often so strong that we can’t help but be of service, offer the word of encouragement, spend amazing quality time together. However, as the relationship progresses, and we wake up to the need to “balance the score” we start demanding more deposits into our own account and often forget to continue making our own deposits into our partners’ account.

Not all partners are after your emotional millions, in fact you may not be as rich as you would like to be, no matter! What is important is that you deposit daily, whatever the amount you can afford.

You cannot replicate the honeymoon phases within your committed relationship. That phase comes with physiological and psychological traits that cannot be voluntarily replicated. But you can indeed create a nurturing, loving and exciting atmosphere by focusing on depositing every day.

“Hold on a second doc, how about my needs?!” some of you may be wondering.

Your needs are mightily important and I can guarantee you two things at least. 1) When you create a loving and nurturing environment and regularly deposit into your partner’s account, they are more likely to want to deposit on yours (unless you are dealing with an extreme narcissistic case, in which case send them to me and I will help them out); 2) You are most likely to have a relationship atmosphere where expressing one’s needs calmly, constructively and in a timely fashion is the most likely thing to happen.

These two conditions are therefore likely to feed each other, and again compound the positive impact of the love, care and attention you invest in the relationship.

In summary, we all come equipped with an emotional bank account that we want to keep as full as possible. When we do, we feel alive, generous, loving, curious, adventurous and open.

Our intimate relationship has the potential to be the largest contributor to our emotional account as it provides the daily opportunity for deposits, large or small. However, it also creates the largest opportunity for withdrawals and bankruptcy.

And so my recommendation is simple, DEPOSIT DAILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for reading my article.

I base all my articles on real case studies and research findings that are relevant to my work and my clients.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or if you would like to explore something together.


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