By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
IT’S NEVER JUST ONE THING.
1. They only “work on their relationship” when they are fighting.
The vast majority of couples only deal with the issues in their relationship when they are fighting about them – which by the way is the worst possible time to try to fix things.
When the going gets hot communication breaks down. Each person’s ability to hear the other goes right down the toilet when defenses come up. Couples need to create spaces and times in their relationship to problem solve when they are at their best and no one is at their best when they’re angry.
I’m not suggesting anger is bad or that you should never fight. However, you’re not going to fix anything in a way that’s sustainable from that energy.
It just doesn’t work.
2. They quit expressing appreciation.
Show me a couple where thank yous don’t flow liberally between them and I’ll show you a couple that has a lot of resentments lurking just under the surface.
Politeness and appreciation are the two things that make the day to day business of sharing a bathroom sink and a closet with someone doable.
Appreciation tends to flow very easily at the beginning of a relationship. However, as the newness starts to wear off, appreciation can drift to other things. The problem is, you get what you focus on. When you quit focusing on appreciation you find fewer and fewer things to appreciate.
Appreciation is an aphrodisiac. Without it intimacy starts to feel like a chore.
3. They stop prioritizing romance.
I often say romance feels like appreciation to most people. What feels like romance is different for almost everyone. However, we need to know our partners enough to know what makes them feel special – and then do it.
I get frustrated with men who say they don’t know how to be romantic. I just don’t buy it. They do know how to be romantic. They just don’t want to have to put out the effort to get laid.
I also get frustrated with women who complain about not getting enough romance but rarely even consider trying to show up for their partner romantically by putting in the effort themselves.
Romance isn’t very useful as a one-off kind of thing. Pulling out the stops for your anniversary is good, but it’s better when you invest in creating a romantic relationship on the daily.
A picnic, a movie together, occasional flowers, dinner out, a Sunday afternoon walk…
We know how to do these things – couples who don’t stop feeling like a couple sooner than later.
4. They criticize each other.
A lot of research has been done on partners who are critical of one another. The research all says the same thing. Couples who criticize will not remain a couple.
When a person picks at their partner over little things or big things regularly it starts to erode the sense of safety in the relationship. It also breaks down intimate communication in all areas of the relationship.
Partners who are strongly and routinely criticised start to feel like they are being abused and behave accordingly. The problem is, a pattern of being critical can be really hard to spot. I mean, if someone just can’t empty the dishwasher right, you have to point that out them, right?
No. You do not have to point it out. If you must, you can do it in a way that doesn’t feel personal.
Healthy relationships are much more affirmative than not. More compliments flow than criticisms. When that balance shifts to the negative, a relationship might continue, but it won’t be happy for either partner.
5. They mind-meld and try to become one person.
When two people wrap their lives around each other there is no breathing room for the relationship to grow. It takes two people to be in a relationship. When they become one unit or when one person disappears to accommodate the other, you no longer have two whole people.
There is something really satisfying about “we”. However, your partner can’t be your everything. It’s not fair to expect any person or relationship to do that for you. Not to mention, eventually, that expectation will break under the weight of a lot of resentment. Couples who don’t develop and keep their own individual interests eventually grow bored with each other. You have to know who you are outside of the framework of couplehood and like the person you are alone.
The stark reality of the mind-meld is that the sum is not greater than it’s parts. When you give up your individuality to fit into some mythical couples category, you run the risk of leaving behind the things your partner fell in love with in the first place. If you need completing, you have no business in a relationship in the first place.
More by Lisa:
Lisa is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
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