There are several facets of relationships which are important, but none are more important than one’s ability to self-soothe. When one partner is feeling emotionally vulnerable, it is important for them to be able to temporarily regulate their emotions. The reason is that at times, your partner may not be available, perhaps because they are working or because they are not responsive in the moment due to their own struggles with self-regulation. Either way the ability to self-soothe is a must in healthy relationships. Yes, even in healthy relationships partners maybe unresponsive at times. This does not mean a partner repeatedly being unresponsive is a sign of a healthy relationship. We all have our moments of struggling to be available, but we all must be able and willing to self-soothe so that we can then be there for our partners and with our partners.
Some partners have grown up in unhealthy homes- whether they experienced trauma or a lack of nurturing. Individuals who grew up in these conditions may depend on their partners even more than usual to feel secure and validated. We all want to feel like we matter to those most important to us such as a husband and or wife. In many cases, survivors of trauma and or neglect will struggle with self-regulation and instead are filled with anxiety and or shame.
In sessions, I work with both partners on the ability to self-soothe. It is crucial in order to build a healthy relationship. The same is true regarding being able to soothe your partner. Once both partners can regulate their own emotions they can lean on one another more in order to help reduce the anxieties and fears which can come from the outside world and create feelings of security.