Blog Post D1: Theory of couple relationships
By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
23rd June 2021
Give up sleep-walking through your unconscious relationship
Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2021
We humans sleep-walk into and out of our romantic or sex-love relationships.
If we want to be happier in our relationships, we have to wake up and pay attention to the skills of happy and effective relating.
Our conscious and non-conscious goals
We humans have a ‘design fault’ which causes us to believe we are wholly conscious beings, who make our choices consciously. However, there is lots of research evidence to show that we are not capable of consciously processing all the information that we actually process every second of our day. In fact, we probably are conscious of about one-millionth of the data that our body-brain-mind processes, second by second.
There is research evidence to support the conclusion that individuals have both conscious and non-conscious goals, including goals for relationship. That is to say, a person may tell you that they consciously are seeking a ‘perfect partner’, with particular positive qualities. However, if you then watch what they do when they are presented with a choice between somebody with those positive qualities (in a speed dating context, for example), and somebody who totally lacks those positive qualities, you will too often find that they go for the person who lacks the qualities that they believe they are seeking. And what is the explanation for this strange behaviour? It has to be this: They also have non-conscious goals for relationship, and the non-conscious goal is normally very much stronger than the conscious goal.
This is the best explanation for the reason that advising individuals to carry a list of the desirable qualities of their ideal love match will not help.
They will make their choice on the basis of goals which are below their conscious level of awareness.
Isn’t it true that you have seen this perverse behaviour in yourself, and/or some of your close friends or relatives?
My work on couple relationships
I have been researching and writing about couple relationships for more than twenty years; and I have helped dozens of couples to either improve their marriage-like relationships, or to dismantle them as calmly and amicably as possible.
Take a look at my Couples Therapy page.***
Or my main book on how to build a happy relationship.***
Or my slender volume on how to more quickly fix your couple relationship.***
That’s all for now.
Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling