In the last section, we discussed intimacy as a stressor. We discussed the scale of fulfillment and rating aspects of the relationship as ways to identify the cause of stress and a method to begin coping.
In this section, we will discuss the technique of reromanticizing. This technique is ideal for an hour long session with a male intimacy client.
I implemented this technique with Paul and Erika from the last section. They found that by sharing specific information about what pleases them and agreeing to pleasure each other on a regular, consistent basis, Paul was able to turn his relationship into a zone of safety. Reromanticizing is a technique consisting of four steps. The four steps in the reromanticizing technique are identify what is pleasing now, identify what used to be pleasing, identify what the client has always wanted to pleased by, and combine and prioritize.
Steps one through three can be implemented separately. The remaining steps can be done together to maximize productiveness of the reromanticizing technique.
4 Steps to Re-Romanticizing
♦ Step # 1 - Identify What is Pleasing Now
The first step in this process is for the client to identify what is pleasing now. Paul and Erika got out separate sheets of paper and complete the following sentence in as many ways as possible, being specific and positive and focusing on items that happen with some regularity. The sentence Paul and Erika completed was; "I feel loved and cared about when you…"
Examples Paul and Erika shared were, "I feel loved and cared about when you:
-- Fill my coffee cup when it’s empty.
-- Let me read the front page of the paper first.
-- Kiss me before you leave the house.
-- Call me from work just to chat.
-- Tell me important things that happen to you.
-- Massage my back.
-- Tell me you love me.
-- Bring me surprise presents.
-- Sit close to me when we’re watching TV.
-- Listen to me when I’m upset.
-- Check with me first before making plans.
-- Make special Sunday dinners.
-- Want to make love to me.
-- Compliment me on the way I look.
♦ Step # 2 - Identify What Used to be Pleasing
In the second step of the reromanticizing technique, the client is asked to identify what used to be pleasing. I stated to Paul and Erika, "Now recall the romantic stage of your relationship. Are there any caring behaviors that you used to do for each other that you are no longer doing?" Once again, they used separate sheets of paper and completed this sentence: "I used to feel loved and cared about when you..."
Examples Paul and Erika shared were; "I used to feel loved and cared about when you..."
-- Wrote me love letters.
-- Brought me flowers.
-- Held my hand as we walked.
-- Whispered sexy things into my ear.
-- Called me up on the phone to say how much you loved me.
-- Wanted to stay up late talking and making love.
-- Made love more than once a day.
♦ Step # 3 - Identify What the Client Has Always Wanted to be Pleased By
In addition to identify what is pleasing now and identify what used to be pleasing, the third step in the reromanticizing technique is to identify what the client has always wanted to pleased by. I stated to Paul and Erika, "Now think about some caring and loving behaviors that you have always wanted but never asked for. These may come from your vision of a perfect mate or from prior experience. They should not, however, refer to activities that are a present source of conflict. These may be very private fantasies. Whenever possible, quantify your request. Complete this sentence: "I would like you to..."
Examples Paul and Erika shared were; "I would like you to..."
-- Massage me for thirty minutes without stopping.
-- Take a shower with me.
-- Buy me some jewelry as a surprise.
-- Go backpacking with me three times each summer.
-- Sleep in the nude.
-- Go out to brunch with me once a month.
-- Read a novel to me over Christmas vacation.
♦ Step # 4 - Combine and Prioritize
The final step in the reromanticizing technique is to combine and prioritize. I stated to Paul and Erika, "Now combine all three lists and indicate how important each caring behavior is to you by writing a number from 1 to 10 beside each one. A 1 indicates ‘not so important,’ and a 10 indicates ‘very important.’ When you’re ready, exchange lists. Examine your partner’s lists and put an ‘X’ by any items that you are not willing to do at this time. All the remaining behaviors should be conflict-free. Starting tomorrow, do at least two of the accepted behaviors each day for the next two months, starting with the ones that are easiest for you to do.
Add more items to your list as they occur to you. When your partner does a caring behavior for you, acknowledge it with an appreciative comment. Remember that these caring behaviors are gifts, not obligations. Do them regardless of how you feel about your partner, and regardless of the number of caring behaviors your partner gives you. If either of you experiences some resistance with this exercise, keep on doing the caring behaviors until the resistance is overcome."
At the conclusion of the session, Paul and Erika agreed to implement the reromanticizing technique over the next week. How might you apply the reromanticizing technique in your practice? Could this technique benefit clients you are currently treating?
In this section, we have discussed reromanticizing. Reromanticizing is a technique consisting of four steps. The four steps in the reromanticizing technique are identify what is pleasing now, identify what used to be pleasing, identify what the client has always wanted to pleased by, and combine and prioritize.
In the next section, we will discuss how intimacy can be used to foster intimacy. Topics we will discuss include the healing potential of friendship, the unconscious selection process, and a technique for overcoming limitations on intimacy.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Boucher, M.-E., Groleau, D., & Whitley, R. (2016). Recovery and severe mental illness: The role of romantic relationships, intimacy, and sexuality. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 39(2), 180–182.
Debrot, A., Cook, W. L., Perrez, M., & Horn, A. B. (2012). Deeds matter: Daily enacted responsiveness and intimacy in couples' daily lives. Journal of Family Psychology, 26(4), 617–627.
Milek, A., Butler, E. A., & Bodenmann, G. (2015). The interplay of couple’s shared time, women’s intimacy, and intradyadic stress. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(6), 831–842.
Richter, M., & Schoebi, D. (2021). Rejection sensitivity in intimate relationships: Implications for perceived partner responsiveness. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 229(3), 165–170.
Trinh, S. L., & Choukas-Bradley, S. (2018). “No messages needed—Just pats on the back”: Exploring young men’s reports of male and female friends’ sexual communications. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 19(3), 430–438.
Valvano, A. K., Rollock, M. J. D., Hudson, W. H., Goodworth, M.-C. R., Lopez, E., & Stepleman, L. (2018). Sexual communication, sexual satisfaction, and relationship quality in people with multiple sclerosis. Rehabilitation Psychology, 63(2), 267–275.
What are four steps in the reromanticizing technique?
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