You already know part of being human is the capacity for experiencing many emotions. Turns out that ability isn’t limited to homo sapiens. Anyone who’s ever had a companion animal knows the depth of the bond that develops, not just because we need their regard, but because they regard us right back. It’s obvious these creatures are as selective as humans when it comes to feeling affection.
Powerful experiences create emotions like sadness, happiness, love, fear, and anger in many mammals. It’s heartbreaking to watch an animal grieve at the loss of a companion, one who isn’t necessarily human. On the other hand, the internet antics of a variety of interspecies’ friendships has its own very popular niche; there’s no doubting the “awww” effect of such interactions.
So it is when office mates celebrate the completion of a long, stressful project with high fives all around. Intense battlefield experiences account for fellow-soldiers’ often unspoken bonds to each other. Members of winning teams embrace each other, jump on each other, or cry with each other while their fans do the same thing, even though they’re strangers.
Turns out that trust, touch, desire for social connection, bonding, affection, calmness, fear reduction, protectiveness, a desire for social connection – and, yes, perhaps love – seem to be experienced in varying degrees among sloths and humans as well as between them, a result of the release of oxytocin which is common to all mammals.
Dry your eyes if you assume your partner doesn’t care for you because he cares about others (non-sexually) as well. Be glad your partner’s in touch with others — pets, co-workers, buddies, family. Self-expressing, sharing emotional experiences with others, and being empathetic all enable your partner to be part of your healthy relationship.
Isn’t that what you wanted in the first place?
A Marriage & Family Therapist for over 20 years, Kathe Skinner specializes in couples work in her Colorado Springs’ practice. She has been married for over 30 years to David and has had many inter-species relationships, currently with kitties Petey and Lucy. Read more about Kathe and her approach to therapy at www.coupleswhotalk.com where you can sign up to receive her FREE curated newsletter.
copyright, 2016 Being Heard, LLC