Scientists tell us that icebergs – masses of floating ice, like the one that sank the Titanic – have one eighth of their mass above water and seven eights under water. So, when we think we see the whole thing, in reality we see only the tip of it, as the biggest part is hidden.

The same is true with love. We think that we know how we feel; we know how our partner feels for us; we know what’s going on in our relationship, and yet we may be seeing only one eighth of what’s there. There is, in fact, a whole different reality under the surface. Of some of it we may be aware but don’t want to face and deal with it; other parts we may avoid acknowledging and sharing because we may be afraid it could affect our relationship in a negative way, and of some parts we may be totally clueless and unaware.

It is this hidden layer that provides the fertile ground for love to develop and be felt for a certain person and, often, for the challenges and difficulties that develop later on, because its existence affects our views, wishes, dreams, fears, thoughts, plans and actions. This is why, at times, couples are surprised when things change in their relationship that they did not see coming.

The metaphor of the Titanic is quite apt here, because this luxury ship was supposed to be the top liner, unsinkable, with all the latest and most sophisticated technology available in those days. All its passengers and the crew felt safe and convinced that there was nothing the Titanic couldn’t handle, until it struck the ice. So, here they were, in the middle of the ocean, partying and having fun and being self-confident about their abilities to avoid danger. When all of a sudden they were struck by something they did not see, all the security and comfort they felt a moment before turned into panic, as each was scrambling to save their lives.

But how can we prepare, you might ask, for something we don’t see and are unaware of? And my answer is: by getting to know as much as we can about what lies underneath the surface. While we may never know what’s going on underneath the surface in its entirety, the more we know and are aware of, the better tools we will have to deal with challenges when they come up.

We get to know ourselves and the people close to us by entering therapy, either individually or as a couple; by reading self-help books that open up new ways of seeing things for us; by learning more about how our mind works and how we can identify and get in touch with and regulate our emotions, preventing them from becoming overwhelming; by exploring our history and piecing together what happened in our childhood and beyond that might still affect us today; by having meaningful conversations, sharing and getting feedback. All this allows each of us to get to know, reflect and make better sense of who we are.

When lovers first meet and develop an emotional relationship with one another, there is an impetus for each to talk about themselves and listen to the other. They spend a lot of time, when together, sharing their histories, their thoughts and, particularly and more importantly here, their FEELINGS. Sharing feelings is the deepest – and the most difficult – level of communication, but the one that best allows for the development of emotional closeness and intimacy.

Yes, we all have heard that men typically say they have difficulties in getting in touch with and sharing their emotions, due to centuries of cultural prohibitions against doing so, but they are also the ones who suffer the most from violent acting out, substance abuse and emotional isolation, quite possibly because they have less healthy emotional outlets. So it is healthy for men to learn to be more in touch with their emotions and talk about them with people they are close to, and with whom they will get closer still if they communicate with them at a deeper emotional level.

In a culture like our current one, where men and women alike seek emotional relationships that are open, equal and balanced, being in touch with our emotions is a necessary requirement for healthy relationships to develop and thrive. It is like having a third eye, an acquired ability to see below the surface and understand and make sense of why we feel the way we do. This, in turn, facilitates deeper emotional connections, providing more emotional security and wellbeing in our lives.

Author's Bio: 

Daniela Roher, Ph.D. has been a psychotherapist for nearly forty years in a career that has spanned three countries in two continents. Dr. Roher’s passion for her work stems from a deep interest in human interactions and connections and keeps her at the forefront of the new science of relationships. She continuously studies and applies treatment models that best help couples identify, understand, address and resolve interpersonal issues, in order to bring intimacy and deeper connection back into their love relationships.

Born in Italy, Dr. Roher attended the Universities of Torino in Italy, Cambridge in England, Wayne State University in the US and the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. The experiences she gained from her studies in different countries nurtured her discipline and love of knowledge and her appreciation of the many ways in which different cultures affect and shape the human mind. From her many years of studying and practicing as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, she brings an ever deepening understanding of the human journey, with all its challenges and rewards.

Dr. Roher lives in Arizona where she has a private psychotherapy practice counseling individuals and couples. When not in her office, her love for the desert keeps her outdoors, not wanting to miss any opportunity to be in touch with nature and observe the miracles that constantly unfold. She is also an avid blogger on various psychological topics, with a special focus on couples’ areas of conflict.

To learn more about Dr. Roher’s practice and to read her blogs, visit or