psychology of relationships: symbiosis
Applying the concept of symbiosis
you've read the chapter on symbiosis in relationships,
you might have decided whether this is a pattern which exists in your
relationship or not.
about which role you would normally take, person A, who uses his or her
adult and parent ego states, who is in charge and who becomes the
"responsible one", or person B, who mostly accesses his or her child ego
state in the relationship and who gets to be looked after at the price of
course, you may not take the same roles in your life outside your
relationship. Person B might be the boss at work and person A might find
it easy to discuss his or her feelings and needs with his/her friends.
What's relevant here is what happens in your intimate relationship.
Symbiosis means that there is a loss of flexibility and difference between
two people. You can get it back by trying out new ways of relating.
Person A needs to look after themselves more, but also give up control
over person B and let him or her make their own decisions (even if you
think they aren't very good ones - people need to learn from their own
And who knows, your partner might just surprise you by how grown up and
independent he or she can be). Person B needs to take back his or her
power and be responsible for their own life.
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may be heavily invested in maintaining the symbiosis, in which case they
will resist change.
you change they will have to adapt! In the end you can only change
yourself and you may have to take the risk of putting your relationship on
the line to make sure you get to do what you need to do for yourself.
though, the second person in relationships will adapt once you make it
clear that you will change no matter what.
In terms of
your sex life, getting out of a symbiotic pattern can only be a good
thing. Sex thrives on difference, on change and flexibility, and freedom
out of a symbiotic pattern may mean that you feel free to experience sex
for your own pleasure, rather than feeling obliged to make it right for
the other person.
Symbiosis and sex really don't go together at all.
set-up of symbiosis means that neither one of you is in an adult place in
the relationship and having sex with someone you are emotionally looking
after or who you want to be looked after by will be rather strange.
This set up doesn't allow for the passion of sex to emerge.
If sex works at all you will more than likely be locked into the roles you
normally take on in the relationship, with one person now doing the sexual
"looking after" and the other person being the passive receiver. I am sure
an inflexible pattern like this will get boring very quickly!
So, what to do
about it? It probably won't be enough to challenge the roles you have with
each other sexually: you'll also need to start looking at the whole set-up
of your relationship.
This may sound
very scary, and yes, your relationship may not survive the upheaval, but
on the other hand, you only have this life to live - and right now! You
might as well go for making the best of it!
Each time you
challenge the roles you are both in, you are allowing for more flexibility
and new possibilities between the two of you.
to experience and strengthen the part of you that's not expressed in the
relationship (your own needs if you tend to be person A, and your own
power and competence if you are person B).
At some point
things will become more equal and open between the two of you, and this
will generate much more sexual energy and excitement.
Symbiosis is a big killer
of sexual passion, as David Schnarch reveals in his book Passionate
that the best way to enjoy a great sexual relationship is to be
disconnected from your partner rather than symbiotically tied to him or
I think many problems like delayed ejaculation
can be ascribed in many cases to a symbiotic emotional tie. Happily there is a way to overcome delayed ejaculation
- read more about delayed
ejaculation here - and regain the ability to ejaculate normally
during sex once again.