Have you ever found yourself on cloud nine from a first date’s emotional connection, only to be greeted with silence for weeks after? Talk about confusion. I know I have fallen into this pattern of having some elements present in relationships, but not others.
One resource I have found helpful in my own personal life and working with clients is the Relationship Attachment Model (RAM) that was developed by Dr. John Van Epp. The model, put simply, states that the level of each bonding element should never exceed the level of the previous one.
I am a visual learner, and like to picture a sound board to explain this concept. On the sound board, we have multiple equalizers (the knobs that move up and down to increase or decrease specific sound levels).
- The first knob is Know.
- Knowing can include talking, getting to know each other, and experiencing each other in different contexts.
- The second knob is Trust.
- Trust is increased as we get to know someone, and includes a positive belief in another person, the ability to depend on them, and overall levels of trustworthiness.
- The third knob is Rely.
- Rely follows trust, and speaks to the level that we rely on another person to meet our needs, and where we can be relied upon to meet their needs.
- The fourth knob is Commit.
- Commitment is the level that we are connected, and loyal to another person. Committing follows relying on someone to meet our needs.
- The fifth and final knob is Touch.
- This area speaks to the amount, and type of touch that you include in a relationship to foster intimacy.
When these knobs happen before one another, this can lead to unhealthy, unbalanced relationships. If you find yourself in an unbalanced relationship, you are not alone. Many relationships start with unbalanced sound boards. But, there is a guide to help your relationship equalize.
GROW Counseling is offering a unique program focused on encouraging individuals to date wholeheartedly. We want to help individuals understand the core components of healthy relationships, the way their individual traits are reflected in their relationships, and the techniques for applying core components and individual traits to the modern dating world. To learn more, please visit our website!
Kim DeRamus, LPC