I imagine that right now you're upset and exhausted and so frustrated! Perhaps you feel like you keep trying to get your spouse to hear you, to understand your perspective, and to see things through your eyes...and it just doesn't happen. Maybe your partner is always busy, seems distant, or never seems to have time for you anymore. Maybe you've been fighting non-stop and wonder if this relationship is worth it...
If so, hang in there. It can get so much better. Relationships are just like so many things in life, there are times when things are fine and times when things are not so fine. Just because now is a difficult time in your relationship doesn't mean that things can't get better. They can! And you can start acting in ways to make your relationship better right now.
The first thing to realize is that your partner is not your enemy. As hurt or upset as you may be, try to take a step back. My hunch is that you've been hurting and looking for signs about how your partner really feels. Each time your partner fails to act in the way you were hoping for, you get more upset. The more upset you get, the more hints you drop, the more signs you look for, and the more things go sideways. More often then not, a fight happens. So, we must break this cycle of wishing, hinting, hoping, blaming, and fighting.
Start by reassuring yourself that things will be ok. Look for proof of this - has your partner done anything good or loving in the last few days? If so, great! Focus on what's good.
Then, ask yourself, "What do I really wish for so that I could feel better?" Is it for your partner to reassure you and say it will all be ok? If so, ask for this reassurance. Is it for your partner to be warmer, softer, and friendlier? If so, tell your partner what you wish for. I've found that we have a much higher chance of getting what we want if we just ask for it in a kind and clear way.
Now, I bet you're thinking, "Dr Kathy, if it was that easy, I would have already done it!" Ok, I hear you, maybe it's not quite that easy. There is a catch. In order for you to get what you want, you have to give them what they want. What I mean is that before your partner can soothe or reassure you, you have to soothe and reassure them.
So now that you've calmed yourself down, reassured yourself, and figured out what you want, I want you to think about what YOU can do to help your partner do the same. Think back to what your partner has been saying to you lately, can you think of anything they've been hinting at or craving from you? If so, great, figure out a way to give that to them. If nothing comes to mind, don't worry, I will help you. What most people crave is to be loved and accepted, not judged and criticized.
Find a way to very gently approach your partner and say something like the following, "Mark, I am so sorry that things have been so rough for us lately. I really do love you and I've been fighting so much because I am scared (or hurt, or angry). I know you are hurting too and I want to help you. I know you are a good person and I love who you are. Please tell me what I can do to help you feel better....."
Yes, you can email, text, facebook, or tweet the above to your partner, but nothing works as well as eye-to-eye heart-to-heart conversation.
Now that you've started the conversation, share one thing you'd like from your partner to help you feel better. Make a deal: each of you will do just one thing this next week to help the other one feel better.
If you've had a rough night, a bad few days, or a terrible fight, you may be in need of the Couples Crisis Kit. I designed this free kit for couples who are struggling and want to make an immediate and positive change in their relationship. Ideally, you should use it in addition to couples therapy or marriage counseling. Click here for the free Couples Crisis Kit
No matter how you are feeling now, I guarantee you, you are not alone. Many couples - successful, talented, hard-working, wonderful people like you - feel like they'd like to understand more about what is going on with their relationship and how they can make changes to feel better. If you like the idea of talking privately by phone, this option may be right for you, please click here to learn more or email me to discuss your needs. Or if you feel ready, please feel free to schedule an appointment by clicking on the button below:
You may be feeling especially low now and would like to work one-on-one with someone who truly understands how you feel. I understand completely and would be honored to help you connect with someone who is the perfect fit for you, whether that is me or another counselor. Please feel free to call me at 949.500.0546 or email me with your contact information and the best time to reach you.
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