My summer of reading continues as I’m currently engrossed in a book that was recommended by a reader called “The Passion Trap” by Dean C. Delis. I found the premise of the book interesting because it discusses the imbalance that often occurs in relationships. I had read about the imbalance in many of the other affair-related books, so this book peaked my interest.
Delis suggests that if one partner is more in love (or “emotionally invested” in the relationship) than the other, the more love the loving partner wants from the other, the less the other partner feels like giving. He describes this as a state of imbalance, in which the more in love partner is in a “one-down position,” while the less in love partner is in the “one-up position.”
He states that in balanced relationships, both partners have secured the other’s love. They’re more or less equal in several ways: their attractiveness to each other, their emotional investment, and the number of needs each will fill for the other. Neither person feels suffocated or emotionally shortchanged, and neither is inclined to take the other for granted. However, there are problems that create an imbalance in love relationships because the wish for pleasure and fear of rejection gets in the way.
This imbalance causes the “one-ups” to question their feelings for the other person, as they begin to feel less loving, yet they can’t understand why. They begin to feel guilty, angry, resentful and trapped because they cannot get the love they want. The “one-downs” are feeling the pain of rejection and will do anything to get the “one-ups” to love them again.
Even though “The Passion Trap” is not about infidelity, I wound up labeling the “one-ups” as cheating spouses and the “one-downs” as betrayed spouses because I saw so many similarities concerning the behaviors of the two groups. And even though I had some issues with some of the concepts presented in the book, I felt that the author’s ideas of what to do if your relationship was off balance were very helpful – especially for the person in the “one-down” position.
Many of his ideas are similar to the ideas of leading infidelity specialists, where he provides seven equalizing strategies for the person in the “one-down” position. He provides ideas and examples for each strategy. Here is the list:
1. Be Good to Yourself
2. Get a Grip on Reality
3. Have Brave New Thoughts
4. Create Healthy Distance
5. Explain What You are Doing
6. Face Your Fears of Distance
7. Define Your Limits of Your Healthy Distance
The strategy that I felt was the most helpful was Creating a Healthy Distance. He states, “A one-down’s greatest chance for strengthening their relationship lies in their striving to shift their emotional energy away from it.”
I feel that betrayed spouses are often too afraid to remove themselves from working on the marriage, or so wrapped up in keeping their spouses faithful or getting them to change, that they forget what they need and how to just work on themselves.
I felt “The Passion Trap” had some interesting ideas, however it also made me question what love really is. I felt that it made love into a game of manipulations rather than something that we give to the other person. I agree that relationships definitely get off balance at times, and the person on the top feels more secure and powerful. I suppose just being aware of the imbalance, the causes and how to align it is the most important concept to understand.