It seems that for most of us, getting together and falling in love is the easy part of relationships. Unfortunately, these folks have romantic love idealism, meaning we think our relationships should be loving, kind, filled with romance 24/7. And when it's not, we get worried and scared something's going wrong, our marriage is in trouble or one or both of you are making mistakes or not doing enough in the relationship.
Often when we feel our relationships are struggling, it can be the smallest of behaviors that can seem to eat away at your happiness. In the beginning, you are attracted to your partner's many special and lovable behaviors that only they may have. We may love these behaviors until one day you find yourself no longer attracted to them. In fact, they may repulse you. For example, your husband may be a bit of a messy, sentimental (hangs on to things) person compared with you who is quite organized and a minimalist. This is no longer "cute", in fact, you are cleaning up after him most of the time and it is making you feel resentful. There are many other examples, such as an overly friendly spouse, a partner that is a bad dresser and you are stylish (yes, this is a problem with couples), a spouse that likes to "remind" you to do things, which you used to find helpful but now feel is controlling. If you've tried to talk things out together and it's pushing you both apart, try a few of these tips:
- Try to change your perspective of your partner. Reframe her/him and their behavior in a more positive way ("his cleaning up after me is a way for him to make himself feel better about the house").
- If you are in a negative pattern with your partner and attempting to change it, try to use humor (with an attitude of goodwill) to make a break somewhere. This will help to defuse the seriousness of the continuous negative, unhealthy pattern.
- When you are irritated, try and ask yourself what your partner may be needing but is unable to ask for.
- Bring the issue up in a loving way if you haven't been able to. It is truly hard to "hear" someone when they are angry and yelling.
- Try to apply good intentions to your partner's behavior. ("He wasn't nagging, he's really worried about me").
Don't let annoying behaviors from another eat away the love from your relationship. Remember it is the meaning that we attach to the behaviors being exhibited (or not) that's causing you so much hurt and anger. These suggestions will help you see the behaviors in a more positive and understanding way.