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The couple relationship gives us the opportunity of experiencing love outside our blood ties and can be one of the greatest sources of joy or of pain in our lives.
When we begin a relationship with someone, we do not realize that energetically our family system comes with us and that there is a resonance between our partner’s system and ours. It is as if our family system is seeking to see something, integrate, compensate or reconcile something through our partner.
There are some universal, archaic laws that Bert Hellinger called the Orders of Love that are unconsciously operating in family systems and, of course, couple relationships. Understanding and applying these orders to our lives will increase the chances of creating fulfilling, connected relationships most of us long for.
Our partner provides a mirror for us that brings to our awareness aspects of ourselves that are buried in the subconscious part of our psyche, the wounded parts of ourselves that are ready to be seen at the time and are in need of healing.
It is important for us to know that each partner we have had was the right one for us at that time, for the level of consciousness we were at when we were with them. In addition, if we end a relationship without seeing and taking responsibility for our part, and integrating the lessons it brought us what is unresolved will follow us into future relationships. Therefore, it is very important to go through a process of releasing unprocessed emotions, grieving the loss of our partner, of our future dreams together, of unfulfilled expectations, of the unique sides of us that came out with them and inner work after each relationship in order to see the parts of ourselves and the dynamics that were triggered. It is so valuable after a break up, for example, to explore our childhood wounds that were triggered that expected our partner to give us what we did not receive from our parents so we can begin to heal them from the adult we have become.
Here are the most important orders of love with respect to ‘exes’, our own previous partners, as well as our partner’s previous partners so that we can be fully present for our current relationship or for a future one. In doing so, we also free our children from carrying the energy of our former partner and getting entangled with them.
Orders of love regarding our previous partners:
- Going beneath any anger and blame in order to face and process the underlying pain of the loss of the relationship
- Acknowledging that our former partners were the right ones for us, just as they were
- Taking responsibility for our part in what happened in the relationship
- Thanking them for what was good in the relationship and giving them a place in our heart
- Not discussing intimate details about them with our current partner
- Not criticizing them (our current partner will feel that we would do the same with them of we broke up)
- Knowing that they are present in the children we had together and loving that part of our children that comes from them. This way our children will not be torn and will be able to love themselves.
- Allowing our children to embrace their other parent, our former partner, no matter what took place between us and telling them to leave what happened with us, the parents
- Wishing them well in their life
Orders of love regarding our partner’s previous partners:
- Taking our place amongst our partner’s exes with dignity, even if we are not the first
- Cultivating an inner attitude of acknowledgement and gratitude towards our partner’s previous partners for making space so that we could come together
- Respecting the intimacy and privacy my partner had with his previous partners by not asking questions about them out of curiosity, insecurity or for comparison
- If they have children, acknowledging that they came first into their life and giving the children and both their parents time together
- Not comparing ourselves to them or competing with them
Systemic exercise with former partners:
- Put a piece of paper to represent you on the floor and stand on it
- Place a piece of paper for your former partner in front of you
- Take a moment to stand in your paper and notice what comes up for you while you see him or her
- Step onto the floor and go to your previous partner. Stand on their paper and notice what comes up for them when they see you.
- Step onto the floor once again and stand on your paper. See what comes up.
When you are ready, notice what comes up for you if you say to them:
“Thank you for what you brought into my life. I will keep what was good in my heart and from what I complain about, I will look within to learn more about myself and grow, rather than blaming you. I take responsibility for what I brought into the relationship and I leave what is yours with you. I give you and the love we shared a special place in my heart and in our children. I wish you well in life.”
Join us for the next Family Constellations Online Workshops: Ready for a Shift, where we set up constellations on any issue that arises.
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