I find myself often referring to “the edge” for a couple as they talk about aspects of how they relate to one another. I will take my hands, holding them flat, twist one hand 90 degrees, and then bring the fingertips together, trying to show with my hands how they are crossing each other, how they are hitting each others “edge.” I have seen some aspect of this with the majority of couples in marital and couples therapy.
Sometimes one or both of the couple will think that it might be easier if they were with someone else, and that may be true, but my belief is that they would still “hit the edge” with a new relationship they would be in; it might be a different edge, but they will eventually bump up against their edges. If you are going to be around someone enough and/or have enough invested emotionally together, then the “edge” will come up. To try to define this “edge”: it is where you cross each other, where what he or she does grates on you, where you offend your significant other though you didn’t mean to do that at all—it is where, even though you may do well in many ways as a couple, you “bump up against each other” and it hurts. Many times, a couple will recoil when this happens, and some of the time that probably works out fine. But it is also often true that couples need to “get through” what happens when they crash into each other emotionally. So the edge is not really a bad thing, though most couples would think so.
Finding out more about you and your partner’s vulnerabilities can be a way to soften both edges, learning that it is ok for your partner to have feelings, learning to deal with your feelings that come up when your partner has feelings, building trust where it is difficult to do so—these are all ways of softening the edges, deepening the relationship, building intimacy, and countering the pain of “crashing edges.”