In order to have a healthy relationship, do you have to check your ego at the door?
I recently hosted a small group of professionals to discuss relationship dynamics. When one of the married women said, “Ego has no place in relationships,” I could not have disagreed with her more. Ego certainly has a place in relationships. It has to. After all, we all have one. I certainly do. They are as inescapable as our shadows, and that’s not a bad thing. The key to having a successful relationship is in the management of our egos.
My ego often shows up in my relationship. At times, I can’t help myself. There are certain things that I feel are important components of my identity – including what some would call “self-respect,” and an unwillingness to be “disrespected” by others. So, when someone yells or curses at me, my ego gets bruised, and I must take action.
There are times when my mate and I have spirited conversations, or even arguments. She can certainly say her piece, but she knows there is a proverbial line between the type of talking-to that I am willing to tolerate and that which my ego will not handle. She also knows that if she crosses that line, I might disappear for the next five hours or so. There are certain things that trigger such a stand in all of us.
It is not the existence of our egos (and the stands they take) that create problems in our relationships; it is our unwillingness to accept the inevitable role they play. When you and your mate know and understand each other well, and are willing to accept one another’s egos, you can manage the possible fall-out. There may be times when my mate’s ego causes her to cross my line, and I accept that her ego is as important in our relationship as mine, as long as she accepts that I will be getting out of the house for a while to cool off. But if her ego caused her to say whatever she felt like saying to me, and then she had a problem with me walking away, it would be safe to say that our egos had trouble co-existing. And that could cause our relationship, at least in its current incarnation, to cease to exist.
So, please give you partner’s ego a hug. Show it understanding. Remember, you have one too, and you would probably appreciate the same indulgence from your mate when it rears its head.