The METAPHOR of a Relationship

A Metaphor is a representation of something else. It draws parallels between ideas and images in our mind… A Metaphor often gives deeper meaning to something. It gives a point of reference. It is an alternative representation of something.
We call our partners “the light of my life” not because that person is literally a walking flashlight but because that person brings joy and happiness.  We say the “apple of my eye” not because that person is a fruit lodged in the socket where your eyeball is supposed to be, but because they are beloved and held dear.” Nothing wrong with all these…they are just a representation of something deeper.

This isn’t a lesson on literature but it is one on relationships. What I have discovered as a relationship and life coach is that our relationships are a metaphor for something. They represent something. Every relationship is a metaphor for an underlying theme or a series of underlying themes. There is an underlying emotion or void that the relationship and the person fills. This is very important for you to understand because understanding what underlying voids you have or what your current relationship or partner actually represents is a vital key to having a deep fulfilling relationship. If you know what you really represent for your partner you are better equipped to meet his/her core needs and the same works for them when they understand what they represent for you.

Later in this article I am going to give you the questions to ask yourself in order to identify the metaphors of your relationship. You are probably going to want to read this article over…

For right this second, take a close look at your life and the trends that surround your relationship choices or the choices of someone you know. The following is not a given for every individual, they are just examples of the “possible” associations so read this with a grain of salt (Metaphor. Lol. Pls no need to actually chew on

It’s also important to note that some metaphors are stronger than others, and that there are positive and negative metaphors.

So here are some examples…Miss xyz didn’t have a much of a father figure growing up so she always dates much older men. The age difference may actually represent her desire to connect with a father figure….someone who guides and protects…and that metaphor of “father figure” may be more important to her compared to others like “friendship”  “laughter” etc.
Mr. xyz used to be chubby as a youngster and was teased. He now dates only models. They may represent his need for affirmation and social acceptance.
Mr. xyz prays a lot. Miss xyz is attracted to him and dating him because he represents spiritual stability even though he is not considered physically attractive. That metaphor of spiritual stability and leadership may be more important than the metaphor of social acceptance through physical attractiveness.
Miss xyz is dating Mr. xyz because of Mr. xyz’s incredible sense of humor. That sense of humor may represent a desire to replicate the laughter that she saw with her parents OR create the laughter she didn’t see in her parents. Your relationships have a metaphor or a mixture of metaphors.

Why should you explore the metaphor of your relationship?

1. The INTIMACY is deeper when you are able to decipher what you represent to each other…what holes you help each other fill….what CORE needs you help each other meet.

2.The  conversation of “what do we REALLY mean or represent for/to each other” is deeper than “Why do you want to be with me” “or why do you like me” . You see, “What do I represent to you?” is different because the answers (if honest) will point to: “These are the core needs that you help me fill”

3. Those metaphors (or mixture of metaphors) may evolve or change over time but if you make this a constant conversation, your relationship will be stronger for it because you will be able to be exactly what your partner needs at that moment. So for example, 5 years ago Mr. xyz represented spiritual stability because of his awesome praying habits. Now, after 3 kids, the most important metaphor to Mrs. xyz may be “partnership” in daily operations of their family. Meaning: “Honey, praying is important but please either put on an apron and fry these plantains or carry junior and change his diapers”. The ability of a partner to identify when the desired metaphor has changed for the other person and adapt to that change could be the difference between a happy partner and a frustrated one.


Three questions to ask to determine the metaphor of your relationship:

1) When I am most satisfied (not just happy but satisfied) with this person, it is because he or she ____________OR _________ OR _________ (This finds the EXISTING positive metaphor(s). i.e. what that person represents for you NOW)

2) What is the one thing that would worry me if I found out that he/she may not do much of, or increase in over the long term ____________ (This finds your DESIRED metaphor. i.e. what you want that person to represent for you in the future)

3) When this person does not ____________, I immediately get a bit insecure about the relationship (This can help you find BOTH the existing metaphor or the future metaphor)

The bottom line is that your relationship represents something(s). That person fills a void (positive or negative). There is a CORE need that you have that you have identified that the person can fill, OR that you hope they will fill: social status, a way out of poverty, spiritual leadership, sexuality, partner, friend, a connection to your younger self, revenge on all your past life teasers, companion, inspiration, motivator…fill in the blank.

Whatever you truly represent to each other, it is important that you both talk about it and discover it…it will serve you well as a catalyst for depth and untold intimacy in your relationship.

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