Strong, healthy, loving relationships take a lot of work. Love only goes so far. More than that, you also have to like the person you’re with, respect them, want to spend time together, and just have fun. Often times, especially with the passage of time, these feelings of respect go by the wayside as we feel bogged down by the daily minutiae of it all.
When you start to have issues in your relationship, it’s important to nip the problems in the bud as soon as possible to avoid ongoing stress to the foundation of your union. Being open and honest with each other, as well as the use of emotions as genuine information to guide how you function together, are all important tools to have in any relationship.
Are you feeling the strain in your romantic relationship? Here are four proven therapy techniques to help you reconnect.
1. Interrupt the Cycle of Negativity
When couples experience problems, it’s often due to falling into a cycle that breeds negativity. For example, one spouse may come home stressed and snap at the other spouse, which puts him in a bad mood, as he feels unwanted. This cycle continues as they both worry they can’t find common ground anymore.
Becoming aware of the cycle is the first step. Only then can you take steps to interrupt it. For example, the spouse could take a brisk 10-minute walk to process her day first without unleashing her frustrations about her bad day.
Perhaps the other spouse could practice being empathetic when his significant other first gets home, recognizing this is a difficult transition as she attempts to unwind. Identifying this cycle is the first step. Of course, the above scenario is an overly simplified one. We realize there are very real and serious issues that go on in any romantic relationship, beyond “how was your day dear.” But you can use these tools to apply to any issue, no matter how deep rooted and serious it is.
2. Explore Each Other’s Feelings
Now it’s time to mitigate and mediate subsequent interactions, taking the time to explore each partner’s feelings. No, it’s not a cliché: “exploring your feelings” really does work. But only if you approach it in the right way. Making quick assumptions about those feelings and failing to talk about them further will only serve to perpetuate the existing negative cycle. Together, determine what went wrong, and talk about how each person contributed to the situation.
3. Understand Your Needs and Wants
You can’t have a successful relationship with someone else without understanding yourself. Both partners have to understand their own wants and needs as individuals before getting caught up in the “we” mentality of the relationship. Remember, you have your own expectations, wants, and physical and emotional needs that are independent of your partner’s.
Communicate these needs to your partner so you can have a better understanding of each other as individuals.
4. Be Supportive
Accepting your significant other’s emotional experience and then supporting them no matter what can be very difficult. However, finding a way to maximize both partners’ satisfaction will enhance your happiness in the relationship because you’re helping them achieve their goals every single day.
Contact Comprehensive MedPsych Systems
We offer comprehensive couples therapy, with a focus on developing problem resolution strategies to make the relationship healthier so it can withstand stress and crisis. Contact us now to book your appointment.