Relationships: the three glasses model

Relationships: the three glasses model

As I was going through difficult times in my relational life, I realized that a relationship must be an entity separate from the two individuals involved. If this is not the case, one or the other – or both – will progressively empty their self into the relationship and will suffer head on the negative consequences and on-going suffering resulting from the end of the relationship: one more dead weight to drag in one’s life!

I was able to share this thought on several occasions, triggering in the person to whom I was explaining this model at least the beginning of a useful assessment of what a relationship should entail, and more often, triggering an immediate realization that this model does have very practical implications. This is why I wish to share this model with you, and I will be pleased to hear your comments and exchange further with you on this topic (see the link at the end of this text).

So, here we have two individuals entering a relationship, each with their own glass that has been filled with their personal history, ego, Self, and everything that defines the instinctive, emotional and mental dimensions of each individual – each person being conscious, at least to some degree, of the content of their own glass. Two glasses enter into a relationship …

The challenge these two individuals face is to create a third glass, the relationship, in which they will each bring some personal contribution, being careful not to lose their essence, personality or Being in the process. The process that leads to a successful relationship consists in filling this third glass without emptying some of our own essence into it. Of course, this model does not make sense in the physical world: how could one fill a third glass between two full glasses without emptying some of the content of these two glasses?! We are, instead, in the wonderful world of Human Nature which has the capacity of creating something new without destroying what already exists.

Here are some implications of this model of relationships:
a relationship is something that is created from scratch without harming one or the other individual;
a relationship becomes a place for sharing instead of being a place where fighting and survival loom;
a relationship becomes a place where one fully respects the other’s needs as well as our own needs;
a relationship becomes a place where both can grow;
a relationship can be evaluated of its own without affecting the individual integrity of those involved.

So here you go: take up the challenge of the third glass in your relationship! Together with your partner and facing each another at a table, place three glasses between the two of you, choose which glass is your own and which one represents the relationship: what will you bring into this third glass without emptying your own?

I will be pleased to hear your comments and possibly exchange with you on this topic: please click here.

P.S.: I recently saw that this concept of a relationship separate from the involved individuals in the work of Jacques Salomé, who calls it the ‘triangulation’ in relationships (in his ‘E.S.P.È.R.E.’ method).

© Michel Mellinger, August 2015