Struggling with Relationship Problems?
Relationship problems? The early days of your relationship seemed pretty special didn’t they? Your partner appeared to be in synch with you, to have a genuine interest in your perspectives and to be willing to explore a broad cross-section of topics. Even the hot-button issues were opened for discussion.
Suddenly in what seemed like a split-second he closed down and was unable or unwilling to communicate. You were stymied and questioned “Who is this person?” “Had she been putting her best self forward, but can no longer sustain it?” Or, “Does he need something more from me to help us through this challenging time?” You may wonder “Is it worth the investment of my time and my heart?”
The answers to these questions can guide you in determining what is occurring, trivial or not, and whether your relationship can be improved upon. Remember that it takes time to know the person you are attracted to and to form a friendship. People often fail to realize that the best relationships are based on good friendship. Think of the ones that have withstood the test of time in your life. What made them meaningful and sustainable? How did the relationship influence the resolution of the problems and conflicts that arose?
How do you determine who owns the problem in a disagreement? What is each partner’s contribution to the mix? What is currently aggravating you may be more reminiscent of an ex’s behavior and your associations to it, than to the appropriateness of your partner’s behavior. A return phone call cannot and generally should not be made in mac-three speed! Multiple demands on his/her time, both personal and professional, may be a reasonable interference to an immediate response.
Have you considered that the circumstances that irritate you can become the opportunity for growth and understanding between you? A night spent with “friends,” male or female does not mean that there is something for you to be jealous about. The periodic time spent away from one another can result in greater mutual appreciation. It is always, always good to nurture this in your relationship!
Despite the opinion that is often bantered about heterosexual friendships, men can have friendships with other women. And, they can be platonic. It is important to remember this, rather than to perseverate on the “friends with benefits” possibility. Knowing the person you are involved with over time, his/her reliability and integrity will help you form a clearer perspective on the question. A night spent with “friends,” male or female does not mean that there is cause for concern.
The person you are with may be very unlike those you have chosen in the past in external characteristics. However, it is important to remember that we are all creatures of habit. When it comes to dating relationships this dynamic surfaces in the psychodynamics of the people you are drawn to.
This repetition is grounded in your earliest relationship. You are attracted to what you are familiar with, rather than what is best for you! This can be very disconcerting, but with emotional relearning, growth and better choices are possible.
Are you attracted to a nurturing partner who is emotionally supportive, reliable and is a person of integrity? Or, do you often wonder whether your partner or the “devil” twin will walk through the door?
Has a delayed response to your message or an irritating comment fueled resentment, reactive behaviors and suspicion? How you address your concern is as significant as your thoughts on it. Are you able to express your objections and feelings? Can you hear his/her response with an awareness of the emotional communication, not just the words? What is your sense of the intent or motivation that prompts the words you are hearing? Do you experience sincerity or machination? Are you feeling satisfied or unsettled? Is this your problem or that of your partner?
An honest examination of these questions will help you determine if your partner is the one to build a future with. Is this the person who was initially presented? Are you attempting to determine whether or not to move forward? If this is that person, it may be time to explore couples counseling, examine areas of challenge or conflict and build a stronger foundation upon which you can resolve your relationship struggles.
If you would like to explore the above questions or related ones, call Dr. Maryann Schaefer at 516-627-1145 to schedule a complimentary consultation.