Is Your Relationship In Need of a Health Check?
It’s that time of year again where you start (if you haven’t already) reevaluating your life. A new year brings all sorts of questions, what do you want from life? What did you achieve last year and what do you want to accomplish this year? The new year and Christmas holidays often make you look at what’s going on in your life, whether it’s your job, your home, your health or your relationship. Sadly it’s the latter which often gets ignored as people tend to plod on because it’s the easiest thing to do or because they don’t even realize they are unhappy. There are a few signs that if you’re experiencing them, then your relationship may need a health check:
You’re bickering rather than conversing
If you spend most of your time talking about what the other one has or hasn’t done, whether it’s chores or annoying habits, and you’re not spending any time talking like people who like each other, discussing your days, your plans, etc. If you do find yourself getting annoyed with your partner over little things, then it’s time to talk about it. Don’t accuse them but ask them about it and let them know how it makes you feel.
You are withdrawn
If these conversations lead you to want to get out of the discussion with a “fine, whatever” or one of you walking out of the room, then this won’t help to fix things and could start a consistent pattern of conversations and a downward spiral.
You’re getting defensive
If a lot of your conversations end up with one of you accusing the other of not doing something and then the other one bites back with a defensive with an instant counter-complaint, the conversation will never move forward constructively. Even if your partner is criticizing you, it’s important to try to hear what he or she is saying and take some responsibility for your part of the conflict.
Do conversations quickly turn nasty?
If it’s not withdrawing, then it could be conversations quickly turn nasty and personal. What started with talking about washing the dishes could soon turn into “you’re a lazy slob.” This kind of communication, where you begin to express disgust to one another, engage in name-calling or mocking your partner’s feelings, can be disastrous to a relationship. It will take both of you to try and pull yourselves out of negativity, but if one of you isn’t on board, then it’s tough to get back to normal. There are strategies that couples counseling can teach you for preventing and repairing damaging interactions such as these before it goes too far.
Do you find yourselves rewriting the past?
When a relationship is going badly, one or both partners can have trouble remembering that there was ever anything positive about it. For example “well, you were never very good at that anyway,” or “You were always like that, I just didn’t know it then.” Conflict arises and escalates when the partners aren’t able to have empathy for the other person’s point of view.