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Wine, Music, & Relationships

Relationships can be a struggle.  Sometimes they age like a fine wine; other times they sour early in the vintage.  Some moments we dance in beautiful sync to music we and our partners love.  Other moments, it feels like someone drags us to the floor and compels us to dance to music we abhor.

What compels us to keep tasting wine long past it’s prime?  

What makes us dance to the tune of someone else’s music?

If tasting wine and dancing to music are metaphors for relationship styles, a typical answer to these questions is codependency.  In a codependent relationship one partner is unhealthily manipulated or pulled onto the dance floor seemingly by another.   In a broad sense, the person being pulled depends on the needs and the control of the puller, consistently ignoring his/her own needs and dismissing his/her personal sense of control.  It’s as if she cannot say, “No thanks, I’ll skip this dance.  No thanks, I’ll pass on that wine.”

In my perspective, codependency is less about specific behavior and more about a partner’s inner need to accommodate someone else’s needs at the expense of his/her own needs.  It could look like this: (1) a wife sacrifices her sleep each night in order to “manage” her husband’s nocturnal anxiety attacks, (2) a 16 year old son curtails his social life in order to “change” his father’s drinking or depression, or (3)  an octogenarian exhausts her retirement account after years of compensating her adult son’s penchant for bad business deals.  Isolated instances of waking up in the night, staying home from a date,  or lending/giving money are not necessarily codependent behaviors.  Codependency lurks in the inner pull which propels us onto the dance floor against our better interests.

How do we break the spell of that inner pull?  Maybe a first step is to become aware of ourselves and our needs.  Maybe we learn to pay attention to the neglected dance partners – us.  Maybe we begin to acknowledge the taste of wine we enjoy.  It’s not about getting a new dance partner.  Rather than give up wine, music and relationships, we learn  a new way to relate to ourselves, and in the process,  discover a healthier way to relate to others.  

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  1. Betty Hamlett says:

    Sounds like me for years.

    • gsbinder says:

      Thanks for your reply. I think it sounds like many of us. Too often we’ve been conditioned to ignore our most important relationship – the one we have with ourselves. The good news is that it’s never too late to develop a new relationship with ourselves.

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