When Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra of Teen Mom fame signed up for VH1's Couples Therapy, we all wondered what these childhood sweethearts could possibly have going wrong in their relationship. They've been together forever -- through a teen pregnancy, their parents getting married, placing a daughter for adoption, and some pretty hellish childhoods -- what could top those tests?
Well, maybe being childhood sweethearts?
Last week we saw Tyler break off their engagement after a one-on-one therapy session with celebrity therapist Dr. Jenn Berman, leaving Catelynn (understandably) hysterical on her bed.
This week it was Catelynn's turn for a one-on-one, and Dr. Jenn quickly hit upon one of their biggest problems.
Every time Catelynn talks, she mentions the word "we," but she never talks about herself. The two are, as Dr. Jenn said, completely "enmeshed."
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It's a pretty common problem for childhood sweethearts, and I know from whence I speak. I've been with my husband since I was 16 (and we've known each other even longer). Sometimes I forget what my life was like without him in it. Sometimes I forget that there is a me beyond the we.
That's exactly what Catelynn is going through. As she said when Dr. Jenn asked what she does to take care of herself, "I don't know what that looks like or how to do it."
When your relationship springs from childhood, you don't get that me time in early adulthood to figure out who you are and what you want -- you go straight from being someone's child to being someone's significant other. Don't get me wrong; there are benefits to this (this is not an indictment of my marriage here!). But Catelynn and Tyler have to get past this sticking point if they want to have a successful marriage.
A marriage is only as strong as the two pieces that have come together. It's great that they've come through so much together, but their real test is in figuring out what they can do on their own, what they can each bring to the table.
Seeing the engagement called off was painful for Catelynn, but now she has a chance to find herself and get comfortable with herself before becoming a part of a married couple. And she deserves that!
Are you married to your childhood sweetheart? Do you ever feel yourself getting lost in your marriage?
Image via VH1