How do you know if your relationship is in trouble? I am sure you can feel it on a daily basis. You can feel the pit in your stomach, and you can feel the tension between the two of you. It is like there is a wall between you both and nothing can break it down.
He says, “you’re too emotional,” “too critical,” and he can never get it right with you. You feel he’s too distant, doesn’t listen to how you feel just wants to “fix” the problem for you. You don’t feel validated. When you get into it, you both attack each other and say hurtful things, even though you regret saying them later. Or maybe you shut down and withdraw in the heat of a conflict. The more this happens, the bigger the wall gets and the more hopeless you feel. It is a lonely and sad place for the both of you.
This place where you both get stuck and feel this way is your negative pattern or dance that happens in the moments when you hurt each other. Over time, this pattern repeats itself and becomes rigid. When you are in emotional distress, this dance keeps you from turning to your partner and asking for comfort or for your needs to be met. You tend to blame each other in these moments when you are stuck in this dance, but really the only thing to blame here is your dance, your negative pattern is the problem. Not you. Not your partner.
Every couple has a negative dance. Some couples are able to step out of this dance and turn toward each other quickly. Other couples have a harder time and stay in the dance longer. These couples may need professional help to learn how to step out of it.
My approach in working with couples is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. This approach has the highest degree of effectiveness with a 90% improvement rate and a 70% full recovery rate. This approach is scientifically proven to make long lasting changes in couples. I help couples step out of this dance, and create a new dance where they dance toward each other.
How can you work on this now with your partner?
Read this article with your partner. Start to notice when you get in this dance. Notice how you feel when you are in this place. Notice what you do because of how you are feeling in that moment. Ask your partner how they feel in the dance and what they do. This will begin to help you create a new dance of safety, trust, and a secure connection.[xyz-ihs snippet=”Blog-Post-CTA”]