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Pain Can Be Your Relationship’s Best Friend

Sometimes love hurts.


By Scott Christian, The Nest

We humans are a pain-averse lot. Which makes sense. Pain, after all, hurts. But a recent injury has led me to understand something important about pain--it's necessary. In some cases extremely so. And when we try to mask it, things only get worse.

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Over the last six months, I've learned a lot about nerve impingement. When something starts to compress a nerve, an injury for instance, you'll feel pain. If that injury compresses the nerve even more, you'll start to feel pins and needle. More than that, and you won't feel anything at all. Spend too much time in this numb state, and the nerve will be permanently damaged.

So pain, in this case, is a good thing. It warns you that something's wrong, but it also tells you that things are improving. Pain is a communicator, and when you're facing a serious injury, you listen to it intently. You listen to how it feels, and you pay attention to when you feel it. You use that pain as your roadmap to healing. This is as true for emotional pain as it is for physical pain.

The reality of a relationship is that there will be pain. At some point, something will go wrong, and it will hurt. And very often our reflex is to run from that pain. Running from pain is sort of our thing. Watch TV for more than 15 minutes and you'll witness a barrage of commercials for drugs that claim to rid us of our pain. But most of the time, running is the worst thing we can do. Especially when it comes to relationships.
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Emotional pain, just like a compressed nerve, is tellings is that something is wrong. Ignore that pain, and the psychic injury gets worse. Ignore it for too long, and the injury becomes irreparable. We need to listen to our pain rather than ignore it. We need to diagnose the cause of our pain, and then we need to treat it. In a relationship, that can be any number of things. It can be resentment, fear, loneliness, etc. The trick to finding out the source of it is to communicate. Which is convenient, since that is also a big part of the cure.

Whatever you do, don't let that pain go unrecognized. Don't try to mask it with work, or retail therapy, or whatever your particular brand of escapism. Because if you ignore that emotional injury for too long, just like a compressed nerve, it will eventually be damaged beyond repair. Pain is good. It's what keeps our relationships from coming unraveled.

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Love Magazine: Pain Can Be Your Relationship’s Best Friend
Pain Can Be Your Relationship’s Best Friend
Sometimes love hurts.
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