STOP TRYING TO FIX YOUR PARTNER’S FEELINGS, CONNECT WITH THEM INSTEAD
One of our deepest needs as humans is to feel understood, and true understanding is not possible without empathy. As psychologist Carl Rogers put it, “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good!”
Think back to a time when you were listened to and really felt heard. How did it feel to be seen as you were?
The last letter in Dr. Gottman’s ATTUNE model is E and it stands for Empathy. Brené Brown describes empathy beautifully in this brief animated video.
Empathy is the willingness to feel with your partner. To understand their inner world.
DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE IN A ONE-SIDED RELATIONSHIP? HERE’S WHAT A THERAPIST RECOMMENDS
The good news is, if you’re currently in one, there’s hope.
There’s a specific moment in “500 days of Summer” when you FINALLY realize the thing you’ve tried to deny the entire movie. It’s the moment when Tom goes to Summer’s party with high expectations of restoring their relationship. And then he sees it: her ring. The engagement ring that did not come from him.
That’s when you realize this has been a one-sided relationship all along.
Some of us hate that movie. Maybe it’s because it goes against our idealistic senses of what a chick-flic should be. But it’s also possibly too close to home. Each of us can relate to having a one-sided relationship, whether friend or lover.
Ever wondered why a relationship that was seemingly going smoothly then takes a bad turn?
The reasons why partners drift apart is no brain teaser at all as they differ in various relationships but there are some reasons that cut across most relationships. The drifting apart might take some time to unfold but what is important is to tackle the issues before it is too late.
Here are the five most common reasons couples drift apart and what you can do to avoid or, as the case may be, correct these issues in your own relationship.
You were made for someone to study you. To read you. To reflect on you. You were made for someone to be attuned to you.
Attunement is the desire and willingness for someone to travel into your inner world to explore who you are and who you are becoming. In a securely attached relationship, this connection cultivates trust that allows your heart to rest.
To truly love another, we must read them well. I’m not talking about the kind of reading where you skim to the parts of a book you think might be interesting, but the kind of reading that engages you in such a way that you are captivated by the story.
There is probably nothing more devastating to a relationship than an affair, no matter how big or small.
We understand your pain
The contract two people had between them that was supposed to be unbreakable and impermeable has been broken. The betrayed partner finds themselves wondering about who is this person I am with and have the past years all been a lie.You do not have to go through this alone or without tools to repair the unfathomable damage. We gently support and guide both parties through this and help them understand the context of the affair. We do not minimize the damage but we do believe there is a way to navigate through it and rebuild trust and faithfulness again.
I was recently visiting with a friend and she shared a story about a blowout fight she had with her husband. Being a therapist, I’ve grown used to this over the years.
The story went like this. Someone accidentally moved her chair as she was going to sit down at work, causing her to fall and hit her neck against a desk. As a result, her range of motion was limited and it was very painful for her to turn her head.
After her fall, she and her husband had been driving on the freeway and as he was trying to make a last-second lane change, he asked her to check out the passenger side window for cars. She said she felt disregarded because he knew she was in pain, and his request only made it worse.
As you change your status from fiancé and fiancée to husband and wife there are so many things to expect as you settle into marriage.
Marriage they say is not a bed of roses as there surely will be ups and downs. For you to take the first step by exchanging vows then you are surely in for the ride. You need to know that every marriage you admire is because the two parties work towards it.
Take note of ‘work’ because it demands continuous effort. Marriage remains a major milestone regardless of how long you have known each other.
My husband was seriously injured at work in August 2002. He was unable to work for about six months. Much of his income is from overtime and his disability pay did not equal even 25 percent of the income we count on. We have five children and this was a massive loss of income for our family. It became necessary for me to work a second full-time job.
Most days I went to my teaching job at 7:00 a.m., went to my second job as a cashier at a local retail store at 4:00 p.m., and dragged myself home around midnight, knowing I had to do the same thing the next day. I still had to do lesson planning and somehow squeeze in family time. I worked seven days a week, and was rarely home. My youngest child, seven years old at the time, missed me so much that he started carrying a picture of me to school in his pocket.
Until then, I’d been very active in my church. But I became too busy for most of my church life and missed many meetings. Word spread about our situation, and I received many calls with words of encouragement and emotional support from fellow church members.
WIN RELATIONSHIP CONFLICT BY LETTING YOUR PARTNER WIN TOO
Good relationships are built on the belief of what’s good for you is good for me too. Partners realize that the best bet is to work together, rather than against each other.
Meet Jordan and Taylor, a couple in their mid-forties.
They’ve been having issues with housework. Jordan is exhausted from nagging Taylor about leaving dirty clothes on the floor and not vacuuming the house. Jordan feels Taylor doesn’t listen, and feels that Taylor’s unwillingness demonstrates a lack of caring. Taylor, on the other hand, feels that Jordan is demanding and unloving. If Jordan truly cared, Taylor would get some slack on when the housework gets done.
Paying attention is half the battle but you both need to do it.
I knew that my marriage was floundering but I didn’t know how to fix it. Fifteen years in, enough of what we’d once had was so eroded that there wasn’t any real way of retrieving it. I think both of us were just sick and tired of the arguing, the relationship, and each other.
Some years ago, a wise therapist named Susan whose practice was mainly devoted to couples’ counseling confided a sad truth as we talked about whether joint therapy with my then-husband would work. She shook her head and then continued: “The reality is that it’s relatively rare that the counseling works because people wait too long. Therapy is usually seen as a last-ditch effort to salvage the marriage, and it’s not always agreed to in good faith either. A husband or wife may simply accede because he or she wants to be seen as ‘having tried everything.’ By the time they book an appointment with me, the marriage has been failing for years. And it’s just too late. For those couples, my office is just a stop and a parking lot away from the divorce lawyer’s.”