Depending on childhood experiences, adults often seek difference as part of the attraction within the love of their choice of partner.

This conscious or unconscious choice can be part of the glue for a long term relationship.  It can be a positive collusion but it can also carry negatives which need altered management skills.

An example of the interaction of drama versus denial might develop in the following way.

In a social interaction, a couple experiencing stress, anxieties, loss, trauma or any of life’s difficult feelings, might be asked how they are.

The person defending their painful feelings with drama will go into full details of the situation dotting all the Is and crossing all the Ts.  The defence of denial from the other person might encourage the reply, ‘We’re fine’.

These different ways of protecting yourself can be comforting at the outset of a relationship because each side feels safer when they see no apparent harm coming to their loved one when they act out their feelings so carefully defended against by the witness.

This can encourage each person to try and modify their defence which may have become extreme.

Sometimes, however, our therapists at Coupleworks notice that the difference becomes so polarised that couples enter therapy to try and make some sense of their estrangement.

Clare Ireland.