Couple relationships

To be and to do in a couple’s relationship: Being and doing, falling in love and loving… the complexity of human relationships finds its most sublime moment in a romantic couple. All psychological mechanisms and processes that are put into the game are as large as quasi-infinite.

Why begin this article with those four concepts? The complexity and beauty of a couple’s relationship could be defined as of being and doing; a good part of the conflicts, small or large have their origin in what “I don’t like you to do” or “I don’t like being done”, and many times, it’s not something that the other does, but what someone is.

Being is what defines the person and is reflected in doing, but it is essential to understand that – for a romantic partner – one can stop doing, but not to cease to be. Consider, for example, a person who tells his/her partner:

– I don’t like you driving so fast.

The other party, if he/she has decided to love (this topic is explained below), may think “well, if it gives you peace of mind or security, I can stop doing it”.

The problem comes when the dialog starts like this:

– I don’t like that you’re so attached to your ideals.

It would be a big mistake to answer “OK, I’ll stop doing it,” because this is not about behavior, but something that you are, and if your partner doesn’t like who you are, then you simply can’t establish a healthy relationship as a couple.

Living and sharing as a couple, in a healthy mature and real love, entails an unconditional acceptance of being. And to clarify again, of being, because one should not be unconditional before behaviors or attitudes that make us unhappy or pitiful for any of those involved.

Unfortunately, reaching this conclusion is not easy. Obviously, the reason is that there are emotions involved that often obscure consciousness to such an extent that we accept change and generate dysfunctional relationships based on being a different person, just for our couple to like us.

On the other hand, the big question we have heard several times in our lives: is there love at first sight? Find a simple answer if you can fully explain it to us. The answer is no, it doesn’t exist; because to love you have to know and, if it is at first sight, then of course, we do not know.

We call this wonderful phenomenon infatuation, which is nothing more than the idealization of the being to which this emotion is directed; he/she is perceived as a perfect person (or better than he/she is). When the couple starts the relationship at this stage, there will be very intense moments of dedication and passion, but it also carries the advantage of being able to meet the other and, then yes, learn to love him/her. Erich Fromm explains it very well in his work “The Art of Loving” (1956).

Falling in love is a neurochemical phenomenon that makes us feel in the clouds and that makes everything feel better. Love, on the other hand, is an act of will: “I choose to love”. Understanding the latter would avoid a good part of couple conflicts and separations in marriages.
Couple relationships is a broad and deep topic, it can certainly be the subject of more articles.

Psych. Rodolfo Dragonné de la Parra


Erich, Fromm. El arte de amar. Barcelona: Editorial Paidós Studio, 1996 (1ª ed. 1956)