Relationship Trouble?

Relationship Trouble

Focus on Reconnecting This Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day will soon be here, and with it the stress of creating the perfect romantic gesture.  Despite good intentions of celebrating love, this holiday often causes people to reflect on what’s wrong with their love life.  So instead of trying to mask any issues in your relationship with impressive gifts, make an effort to work out your problems with your significant other in the weeks ahead.  (We don’t suggest dispensing with cards, flowers, and candy altogether, especially if those are things you know your partner will enjoy.  Just keep in mind that these things can’t “fix” a relationship.)  Here are some tips to start a productive conversation about your relationship problems.

Communication Is Key.

Your significant other is not a mind reader!  Many times one person is unhappy in a relationship, and the other person doesn’t realize it, or doesn’t understand why.  If something is bothering you, make the time to discuss it with your partner.  You should also check in with each other periodically about your expectations and goals for the future of your relationship.  This will help to prevent misunderstandings and allow you to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Avoid Distractions.

Show your significant other that your relationship is a priority.  Make time to address any problems you’re having without the distractions of the outside world.  Turn off the TV, switch your cell phone to silent, and send the kids to a friend’s house.  Relationships do take work, and both you and your partner need to commit to working out your differences.

Talk, Don’t Fight.

Relationship problems can be a difficult subject to broach with your significant other, and it’s important not to make them feel like they are under attack.  Screaming will not lead to a productive discussion.  So, take a minute (or a day) to cool your temper before confronting your partner.  If you still feel like you can’t talk about your problems without fighting, set aside some time to discuss your concerns with them in a public place; that way you’ll be less likely to yell since you won’t want to make a scene.

Remember to Listen.

Listening doesn’t just mean not interrupting.  You need to focus on what your partner is saying.  It may help to begin addressing his or her concerns by rephrasing them, something like “What I think you’re saying is…”  Then give them a chance to correct you before proceeding with your response.  It’s ok to ask them to clarify; a specific complaint is much easier to work on than a vague one.

If you and your partner are still having trouble resolving conflicts, you may need to find a professional counselor.  A third party can provide valuable perspective, especially if you find your emotions getting in the way of the conversation.  At South Denver Psychotherapy, we work with all kinds of couples to build greater understanding and respect.  Let us help you reach a compromise without feeling resentment.

Additional Resources

http://www.cmhc.utexas.edu/vav/vav_healthyrelationships.html

http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/couples’-best-strategies-managing-stress

https://news.unt.edu/news-releases/educational-psychology-expert-offers-valentine’s-day-tips