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The concept of “The Box” was something I created for clients very early on in my career after watching people coerce themselves (and others) into relationships that were clearly not meant to be. Most of us have a “laundry list” of traits, characteristics and qualities that we desire in a mate. Some, not all, even have very specific ideas as to what their dream man or woman looks like. Hopefully, things like appearance would be included in the items that are placed outside The Box. What goes in The Box are those traits that are too true to the core of who we are to compromise on them. Yes, relationships are all about compromising and self-sacrificial love, but, at the same time, we cannot compromise who we are in doing so. Things like spirituality, level of affection, sense of humor, etc. belong inside The Box. There are no right or wrong answers to these statements, but rather a compatibility that is necessary. If you are a very affectionate person and talk yourself into a relationship with someone who is physically non-demonstrative, eventually, you will end up feeling unattractive and even unloved. The dialogue with self might sound something like this . . . “Well, he/she is so smart, interesting, attractive, and funny that it's OK he or she doesn't hug me. I'm just needy.” Denying one's own legitimate needs is dangerous!
This self-renunciation will be acceptable only for a time. Ultimately, you will begin to feel empty, and as though you are not loved. The other could justifiably say, “But I have always been this way!” Now, this does not necessarily mean one should immediately walk away from someone if there is something unchecked in The Box. It does mean that the item needs to be addressed as soon as it is identified. You may learn that he/she has experienced some trauma in the past regarding touch and may be willing to work it through. However, you may learn that he or she is opposed to working on it and will remain non-affectionate. This could be evidenced by them telling you, “This is just who I am” or, he says he will change and remains the same. When this happens, you seriously need to consider whether you wish to live the rest of your life feeling disconnected from and even rejected by the one you love the most. This does not just apply to touch but is applicable to all the items in The Box. Address it. Find the reason for the incompatibility. See if there is desire for change and assess whether or not their actions are matching their words. Allow me to repeat that, ASSESS WHETHER OR NOT THEIR ACTIONS ARE CONSISTENT WITH THEIR WORDS! An important note: If you encounter the case given above where someone directly tells you, “This is who I am” BELIEVE them! Women especially tend to write their own scripts and can even twist a statement as forthright as that to satisfy their own desires.