Culturally, we are taught to be critical—to scan our environment for flaws and errors, to assign blame, and to exercise “critical thinking.” We look outward because we are connected to the world with our eyes and ears. But unfettered criticism, when directed at your partner, will destroy your relationship over time. Sometimes the more subtle the criticism, the more it eats away at the foundation of what you have built.
The other common self destructive behavior in couples is when one partner stonewalls, or simply does not participate in a meaningful way when conflict occurs. This causes a dynamic where one partner retreats, and the other pursues, which may cause the the retreating partner to move even further away in the relationship, making the pursuer feel even more desperate.
If it is useful in business to get an unbiased third party’s perspective, why not apply this principle to the business of your relationship? It doesn’t mean you are defective. It means you are smart enough to get help at the right time.
WHAT KEEPS YOU STUCK?
I often find that couples often need to improve their emotional literacy. In other words, they fail at expressing exactly what they need from their partners.
Basically, like germs, we quickly pick up or “catch” the emotions of people close to us and do whatever we can to either withdraw from, fix, argue about, or push away those feelings, if we don’t like them or we disagree with them. You can use the felt emotions of resentment or discomfort as signals for yourself to detect when this is occurring.
If you are stuck in the same old conflict patterns, then maybe it’s time to ditch the excuses and get started on a more productive path. I can help with that. Contact me here.