Silence is a Relationship Killer

silent

Silence is a Relationship Killer

Sometimes when something is wrong in a relationship one or both people will practice bouts of prolonged silence. This isn’t a moment of reflection or a collecting of thoughts. This is a wall put up. It speaks to an absence of emotional and verbal intimacy. The truth is, prolonged silences propagated by a strong emotion is a relationship killer. It speaks to an intense feeling just below the surface. Bottling feelings up inside does not relieve them. They tend to build like steam building inside a furnace. Sooner or later it’s going to explode. And the results will be ugly.

It’s better to communicate directly. Take some time to sort out your thoughts. Ask your partner for a particular time when you are calmer to discuss the issue. Talking about the issue with your partner will actually make you feel better, not cause you to act out. Another problem with silence is that it is a form of control or coercion. We usually think about loud, yelling people as controlling and coercive. But silence does the job just as thoroughly. It can even be seen as a form of bullying. Even though they aren’t being physically hurt you are controlling them through your silence. Instead of talking to them, explaining to them and persuading them of your point of view, in a respectful manner, you are asking for obedience and apologies merely by clamming up.

Sometimes silence is used for a particular offense. The aggrieved party then plays a film out in their head with them as the lead role and their lover doing and saying everything they want to make it right. They wait for their beloved to say and do these very things. And when the lover has no idea what they want, they get very agitated. This isn’t fair. No one is a mind reader. And if you respect the person you are going out with, you need to open up and talk about what is troubling you. At other times silence can be a punishment. But the problem is that instead of making the relationship stronger it actually starts to tear it down. There is no avenue of communication. Anger, sadness and depression can set in in one or both parties.

The relationship can’t move forward until the silence is broken, either by one party opening up or the other apologizing, or kowtowing and promising to make it up. The first situation is desirable as it will get the problem solved, though it may have hurt the relationship, showing one person that the other is very high maintenance and doesn’t have good communication skills. In the second one, one party is dominating the other. Sooner or later the dominated party will feel that they are being abused and seek greener pastures. Neither speaks well to the relationship. So speak up. Communicate. And if you are with someone that uses silence against you, evaluate if you want to stay with them at all. For more advice read, Why Can’t You Read My Mind?-Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get In the Way of a Loving Relationship by Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. and Susan Magee.

Small, Simple ways to improve your Marriage

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Small, Simple ways to improve your Marriage

It isn’t easy staying married, as today’s divorce rate can attest. But it isn’t always big problems that break up a married couple. Often it’s a buildup of little things that turn into a tidal wave of problems which ultimately wash away the couple’s married future. Fight back against the tide of tiny destroyers. Here are some small, simple ways to improve your marriage right now and move forward from this instant on. Follow these and the road ahead will be much smoother.

If you want to stay close, when you are wrong, apologize. Don’t insist you are right for pride’s sake. Your pride will get between you and your spouse. When you are in an argument, don’t only view it from your perspective. Try and see things from their point of view. Use your imagination. How would you feel? What would your reaction be? Putting yourself in their shoes will calm your anger, give you a little sympathy and help to organize the negotiation phase, conjuring up a plan on how to satisfy both of you without harming either. Laugh when you two are together. It is far more important to enjoy each other’s company. It will make your bond strong and resilient.

Pencil sex in if you two are so busy and don’t have time for a long, drawn out romantic encounter. A marriage without physical intimacy gets dull and fades. But being intimate together, even if it’s just a quickie a couple of times a week, will make you closer, release tension and help keep the spark alive. It’s important to make sure that you attack life as a team. That’s why a weekly meeting is important. Instead of killing the relationship with nagging and arguments, schedule a time each week to tackle important issues and solve them. Make a running list throughout the week on what is to be covered. Solve your problems at that time and spend some other alone time during the week enjoying each other’s company. Talk about the little things in life, good and bad. Talk about everything. Keep the lines of communication open and free.

Make sure you schedule some time for your own hobbies, friends, interests, and so on. Don’t yell. It doesn’t solve anything. It only makes matters worse. If you want to yell excuse yourself and go yell in another room, in a pillow or in your car while it’s parked. Then when you calm down schedule a time to revisit the issue, discussing how it makes you feel and possible solutions. Show gratitude. Thank the other person for what they do. And expect gratitude in return too. For some fun relationship advice read, Advice for a Happy Marriage: From Miss Dietz’s Third-Grade Class by Debi Dietz Crawford and Friends.

How Self-Loathing Affects Partners

relationship-problems

How Self-Loathing Affects Partners

Inadequacy can affect a relationship in a number of ways. Sometimes those who feel inadequate push their lovers away thinking that they aren’t good enough for them. But they don’t let the lover speak for themselves, a selfish act. Those who experience self-loathing often apologize over and over again for little insignificant mistakes, a behavior that can sometimes rake their partner’s nerves. Those who suffer from self-loathing often believe too that they are just one mistake away from ruining the relationship, or driving their significant other away. The other lover however may not feel that the bond is so tenuous. Still, this constant questioning weakens the relationship. When one person keeps on questioning it, the other lover may start questioning the relationship. Or they may decide that their self-loathing partner’s assessment is correct. They may feel that this person is too high maintenance or that their sucking all of their energy away. It’s hard to be with someone who suffers from self-loathing. Constant apologizing can also be a tactic to take the attention away from the one partner who feels inadequate and put it on the other when seeking apology. But inevitably the focus comes right back on the partner who loathes themselves, for their partner’s concern has been raised.

The other quality the self-loathing have is feeling that their partner is too good for them. They are haunted by guilt. Some people normally feel this way when they get together with someone they have strong chemistry with. But it usually fades with a little bit of time. However, the self-loathing never have this sensation subside. Here, even though the self-loathing believe that they are showing their lovers reverence and esteem, the irony is that the focus is actually brought back upon themselves.  Both of these behaviors display the inadequate person’s need for reassurance and attention. These people are usually high maintenance and needy or clingy. The truth is the self-loathing are constantly seeking validation from their partner. But they aren’t actually dealing with the root of the issue which is buried within themselves. Instead, their constant validation seeking will not only never satiate them, it is likely to drive their partner away as it will drain them of precious psychic energy. The relationship becomes boring and tiresome, and a lot of work, not really that much fun. The last problem is the self-loathing are oversensitive. If you are suffering from self-loathing, seek help. Watch what you say to your partner. Sensor yourself somewhat. And work through your issues. If you love someone who has self-loathing problems, get them to seek help. For advice on being nicer to yourself read, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff, Ph.D.

Things to Preserve from the Honeymoon Phase

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Things to Preserve from the Honeymoon Phase

Nothing beats that feeling when you first fall in love. You want to do everything together. You can’t get enough of each other. It feels so spectacular that you never want it to end. But of course sooner or later you have to move into a more comfortable phase. That too has its positive qualities. But just because you are out of that lovey-dovey part of your relationship, doesn’t mean you have to stop doing all those beautiful, romantic, sweet and special things for one another. In fact, if you continue to do those things you will keep the spark alive, appreciation alive, and love alive. Here are some things to preserve from the honeymoon phase in your relationship.

First, physical contact often takes a nose dive after you move into phase two. But physical contact and touching is one way we as humans show affection. You can’t live without contact. Some people need more than others. This is called our attachment style according to psychologists. Some people are open and loving, others closed and more reserved. Realize which one you are and which one your significant other is. But make sure to keep touch alive. Hug, kiss, hold hands, give each other massages, cuddle, and get physical. Studies have shown that couples who show physical signs of affection are the happiest. Couples who have sex at least once per week and on an average two to three times per week are among the most blissful.

When you are first together you want every moment to feel spectacular. If you do something wrong you can’t wait to apologize and wait with pangs of pain and guilt until they forgive you. But once you’ve been together for a while apologizing seems less important. Some couples get very adversarial; blaming, shaming, screaming and giving the cold shoulder. But wouldn’t a simple “I’m sorry” be so much better? Lots of times long term couples get so wrapped up in being right that they forget how much their romantic partner means to them. Remember how much you love them. When you’re wrong apologize. There isn’t any shame in it. If they love you they will forgive you.

The feelings of appreciation in the beginning are tremendous. Every little gesture and gift seems to set your heart soaring. But as time wears on the gifts, gestures and thank yous seem to fade. But don’t let them. Show how much you appreciate one another. Do little cute gestures for each other. Write notes. Text sweet sayings. Thank one another even if it’s for things you agreed will be there chore. Appreciation breeds appreciation in kind. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. It will also keep your love and satisfaction level sky high. For more advice read, Love Is a Flame: Stories of What Happens When Love is Rekindled by James Stuart Bell and Gary Chapman.

How to Kill a Marriage

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How to Kill a Marriage

Lots of people picture the perfect wedding, and little happy Norman Rockwell-like vignettes of what it’s like afterwards. But the truth is, after the honeymoon phase is over, there is a huge adjustment period where you really start to find out all the deep issues, the quirks, the funny little things, the scars, the emotional baggage and all the stuff you never even considered about the person who will now sit across from your breakfast table for as long as you both shall live, or as fast as you can drive to a courthouse, whichever you decide.

Lots of people fall into patterns and then wonder why their marriage falls apart. They don’t look at what happens as a phenomenon with steps and each person’s interpretation of what went on and what was said, and a conclusion in which the couple finally sees what’s happening and how to break out of it. Instead, they often fall into a routine and barely stray from it. The routine itself may be destroying nuptial bliss. Perhaps the energy or care that needs to be invested in a marriage is missing. But there are common routines people fall into that begin to pull you two apart, without you even knowing it. Here’s how to kill a marriage.

First, realize that watching TV after the kids go to bed and not interacting is a marriage killer. Of course you’re tired, everyone is nowadays. But you have to invest a little time in your marriage to make it last. Turn off the TV a couple of times a week and talk to each other, have fun, and maybe even get a little frisky. Remember when you two used to send lovely messages via text or email during the day? If you don’t want your marriage to last, by all means don’t keep it up. A phone call at lunch may be nice too, depending on what you do at lunch and your schedules. But just a simple “Hey good looking” via text may be all that is needed to make your spouse feel appreciated. Make sure you don’t stop saying “I love you.” It matters. It makes all the difference. It reassures, calms and makes the person feel special and loved. Don’t skimp out on those unless you want the marriage to end.

If you really want things to go downhill fast, when you mess up, don’t apologize. If you apologize you’ll show that your spouse is more important than yourself. And who would ever want to do a selfless thing like that in a marriage? Don’t cuddle, kiss, hug or be intimate. That would definitely strengthen your bond and make you much happier and less stressed. Lastly, nagging is a great way to put a marriage on the ropes. Finding better and more effective ways of communicating is a way to bring it back. For more marriage advice read, I Don’t Want a Divorce: A 90 Day Guide to Saving Your Marriage by Dr. David Clarke & William G. Clarke.