Common Relationship Blunders

neglected

Common Relationship Blunders

No matter what stage you’re in, whether you are in a new relationship and want to do it right or just walked away from a bad one, anyone can benefit from learning what common relationship blunders take a couple who have potential and drive them apart. If you can catch these early on, or you and your partner have the gumption to renew your bond, you can change your fate and fall into a close, loving, and supportive relationship.

One of the most common is that as time wears on couples tend to slip into a very comfortable phase. The niceties slip and sooner or later they are taking each other for granted. It’s important to show your appreciation for one another. Reflect on what your life would be like without them. Then think about what they bring into your life. Leave them love notes. Tell them they look nice in what they’re wearing. Whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears. Make it special and make it count. If you take each other for granted, each of you will feel undesirable and unfulfilled, and may stray outside the relationship in order to fulfill those needs.

Another problem is when it goes the other way. One partner appreciates the other too much. That is to say they become dependent, or needy. If you feel insecure, look to the signs of your relationship to see if these feelings are justified. Do they call when they say they will? What do they say to you? Do they compliment you? Do nice things for you? If all signs point to a healthy, stable, well-adjusted relationship then relax. If you or your partner are feeling these signs of insecurity perhaps discuss them, or even seek the help of a mental health professional.

Do you complain about your partner to everyone except them? First, you two have to learn how to deal with your problems directly. You shouldn’t be complaining about them to everyone. Deal with them directly, or vent to a confidant. But if you are constantly focusing on the negative you will not see the positive in your partner and the relationship will thus sour. Come to terms with your sweetie’s shortcomings and expect them to come to terms with yours. Otherwise if you can’t, this isn’t the person for you. The same thing goes for passive-aggressiveness. Instead of slinging barbs learn to communicate in a positive and productive manner. For more on this topic read, Relationship Advice: How to Rekindle and Cultivate Healthy, Passionate, and Long-Lasting Relationships by Henry Lee.

Relationship Skills used by Happy Couples

Man And Woman Breathing

Relationship Skills used by Happy Couples

Have you ever looked at what you thought were the perfect couple and thought, “I want to be like them.” Well it isn’t fate or happenstance. Good relationships have certain qualities in them. They don’t come prepackaged. Anyone can practice them, and indeed should. Here are relationship skills used by happy couples. The first one is empathy.

Sympathy is knowing how someone else feels and showing compassion for them. Empathy is really feeling what they feel, knowing how they feel and showing compassion. Don’t assume you know how they feel outright. Our assumptions without the benefit of reflection are usually wrong and may anger or hurt our partner.  You don’t have to have lived through the same thing. Use your imagination and walk a mile in their moccasins. Close your eyes and feel what it is like to be in their position. What are their concerns, priorities, responsibilities and actions? What did they expect and what occurred instead? Once you understand their point of view intimately, from inside their head, then discuss things with them.

The next is called emotional validation. When your sweetie is upset or angry, let them know that you understand how they’re feeling, and that they have every right to feel that way. Give them your concern and sympathy. You may think that they will be even more upset with you. The truth is they will likely calm down and be able to discuss things with you rationally and calmly. That’s because you’ve validated their emotions. Emotional validation is something we all need. When we feel upset, angry or frustrated we want our partner to understand why we feel how we do, and sympathize with us. When this happens we experience an emotional release from the tension we were feeling.

Lastly, use civility and consideration in your relationship to make it healthy and happy. Little gestures such as letting someone sleep in, flowers, a small token, a handwritten note, a compliment or a big hug can change the tone instantly. These things can decrease the intensity of an argument and give room for talking and working things out. Often couples get caught in a cycle of negativity. One gesture won’t change that. But if you develop a routine of civility and consideration you can change that cycle. It’s particularly powerful if both partners become committed in breaking a cycle of negativity and replace it with a positive one. For more advice read, Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn, Proven Communication Skills by Georgianna Donadio.

Reminiscing Can Renew Your Relationship

Senior Couple Lounging on a Wood Deck

Reminiscing Can Renew Your Relationship

Of course we have to discuss the day-to-day upkeep of the household and so on with our partner, but this can get dull fast. However, sometimes when you’re sitting around, talking about the old days you can get to laughing and really get the old engines purring. Reminiscing can renew your relationship, so says a study out of the University of Queensland.

Just last year psychologists Kim Halford and Susan Osgarby sought out to test positive reminisce as a tool to boost relationships. Participants were all married for at least one year and ranged in age from 21 to 65. They all had varying degrees of marital satisfaction. None were in couple’s therapy. Two groups were created from this one pool. There were 27 put in one group and 25 in the other. Each person was asked to describe a “really positive relationship memory.” Then each partner proceeded to spend five minutes explaining one. Important events in their life together such as the birth of a child, their wedding, holidays, and shared successes such as buying their home.

Happy couples were more intimate than distressed ones as shown by this study. Happy couples became even happier sharing their reminiscences together, while distressed couples became sad. Researchers believe this is because they realize how much happier they had once been.  Happy couples seemed to be telling the stories jointly, joining in and adding facts or color as the other went on.  They elaborated on one another’s comments and this seemed to make them happier too. For happy couples even negative things that happened in their life were recalled positively. Happy couples even hugged and shared close behavior, which was absent in the distressed couples.

A lesson to learn from this study is not taking part in negativity in your relationship. Distressed couples criticize, invalidate and take part in negative behaviors towards one another. This reminiscing can make you sad if you are in a distressed relationship. If so, realize when negative behaviors pop up. Agree to take a time out at these times, and come back later with clearer thoughts and discuss calmly the issues at hand. Reminisce often. Get those old feelings flowing again. If reminiscing makes you happy let it renew your relationship. If not find out why and fix it. For more advice read, Renewing Your Wows!- Seven Powerful Tools to Ignite the Spark and Transform Your Relationship by Jeffrey H. Sumber.

Solving Problems without Arguing

problem solving

Solving Problems without Arguing

It’s no secret that arguments lead to breakups. And the best relationships split power equally among the two. That’s why learning how to fight right without hurting each other’s feelings, or taking one or another person’s power away are the secrets to an impenetrable relationship. But how do you solve problems without arguing? Fighting isn’t essential to couplehood.

Though disagreement is inevitable, getting angry or fighting is a choice.  Here are three steps culled from the book, Getting to Yes, that can eliminate arguing from your relationship, equalize power and make things run far more smoothly. This strategy also helps reconcile two parts in conflict inside an individual as well. So if you are suffering from inner conflicts try this strategy too. Generally speaking compromise is touted as the best way to solve issues. But if one person wants to live in Chicago and the other in Miami, settling in Nashville isn’t going to make anyone happy. It’s a lose-lose instead of a win-win. Compromise has its place but not in situations such as this. However a win-win solution leaves both parties satisfied.

The first step is to recognize the conflict. Say it’s a Friday night. One person wants to go out. The other wants to say in. The first step is to recognize that both parties are indeed in conflict. This sounds easy. But it isn’t always really. Sometimes one partner will go out only to make the other happy but harbor unseen resentment. Instead, both parties will voice that there is a conflict in preferences openly and honestly, without holding back. That doesn’t mean fighting. It merely means recognizing the issue. Next, instead of advocating for your position, trying to find both parties underlying concerns. One person feels that they aren’t spending enough time with their friends, while the other is exhausted from a particularly grinding week at work. Finally, the couple decides on something that will settle both parties underlying concerns. The couple decides to go out and visit with friends at happy hour. Then they decide to come home and relax. Or perhaps they have a nice dinner together, while one goes out and the other stays home. These two solutions are a win-win for each.

The solution has to fix each person’s concerns. That’s important. The couple also has to be patient and communicate clearly so that they can dig past what the person says they want to their actual concern. It’s important that each person find and then communicate their underlying concerns so that these can be fully addressed. For more advice read, Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury.

ADHD and Relationships

couple at therapy

ADHD and Relationships

When one person has ADHD in a relationship, and the other person doesn’t, unique problems can occur. The power dynamic can become that of a parent to child, which isn’t healthy. The non-ADHD person becomes the one with the power, guiding, reminding and helping their partner. When the ADHD partner has a chore to be done, their counterpart may remind them, indeed several times, until the ADHD partner does it. Or the non-ADHD partner may give up and do it themselves rather than keep reminding their other half. Eventually, too many chores or responsibilities are allocated to the non-ADHD partner.

The symptoms of ADHD unmanaged are permanent. Distraction, memory problems and other symptoms start to weigh on the relationship. The non-ADHD partner becomes the parent, the ADHD partner the child. The power dynamic in this relationship becomes off kilter, leaning only to one side. This leads to a lack of respect on the part of the non-ADHD partner as they begin to view their partner like a child, and a condescending attitude can ensue. The ADHD partner begins to resent their significant other.

Adaptation is generally considered a good thing. One partner sees an issue arising and both partners change to meet and overcome it. Some research has shown however that stronger couples see problems coming down the pike and counteract them before they become an issue in the relationship. For ADHD, this power dynamic increases over time. As more and more control is lent to the non-ADHD partner and the more they become the parent, the other the child, the more resentment builds. Both people in this relationship have their problems with the other. One doesn’t want to do all of the work of the other. The ADHD partner doesn’t want to be treated like a child. They get tired of constant reminders, general bossiness and nagging. And the non-ADHD partner gets tired of doing so. And this dynamic puts a strain on the relationship. The couple feels less inclined toward positive feelings of love, affection, physical intimacy and romance.

Child/parent dynamics will almost inevitably lead to relationship or marital dysfunction. ADHD should be treated with the help of a mental health professional. Both partners should be involved. But if you are married or seriously involved with someone who has ADHD or if you have ADHD make sure to talk about it in depth with your partner. Treatment should also be sought. For more advice read, The ADHD Effect On Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps by Melissa Orlov.