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Tips for Troubled Relationships

Dr. Adam Pearson

Dr. Adam Pearson

Relationships are vital to the human experience. Relationships and the way a person perceives a relationship should be starting at the moment the person is born. The attachment of a child to his/her parent(s) will be a model for relationships with friends, intimate partners, roommates, bosses, etc. Romantic relationships and marriages seem to be the most prevalent among patients seen in online therapy. Communication is one of the most important aspects of a relationship including how we talk to each other, what we say, when we say it, and what we really are trying to say. It seems most people in a troubled relationship believe they know how the other person thinks and act upon these false perceptions. In marriage and family therapy arguing in a troubled relationship becomes a pathological pattern of coping with anger, resentment, hurt, jealousy, and is called the “dance”. Couples argue for the sake of arguing. They bring past mistakes the other person made and use them as a weapon to gain ground or power against their foe. If you do this you are hurting you, the other and the entire relationship.

men are from marsThe key to healthy communication is being humble and honest with one another, forgiving one another and not holding those mistakes against the other person. In an argument timeouts are a very easy and successful avenues of allowing each other to calm down and thinking with logical thought versus thinking with pure emotions. Decisions should NEVER be made when highly emotional, logical thought is minimized and instant gratification is sought when emotions are at their peek. The divorce rate in the United States is around 50% and divorce is proven over and over again to have ill effects on each partner and the children. Living together before marriage has been found to be the number one variable in predicting divorce. Commitment is diminished when a couple goes from living separate to living together and then getting married. The commitment and feeling of being married has been spoiled by living together and the sanctity and fortitude marriage is supposed to bring decreases and makes divorce an easy escape. People are disillusioned and somewhat delusional when they believe living together will help them make a more informed decision about getting married.

In any relationship there are bound to be times when the other person does certain behaviors which negatively have an impact on the relationship. It is not good to “suppress” negative feelings towards someone as they always come out in an uncontrolled and pathological way. There are also times when you will have to decide “Is this worth bringing up or is the problem actually me”. There is nothing wrong with doing a quick “check-in” with the person you are in a relationship with. While it might be uncomfortable to ask “Is there anything I am doing or saying that bothers you?” but for the health of you and your relationship this helps avoid blowups and arguments that severely damage the relationship. Yelling in an argument, name calling, talking down to someone, or demeaning someone all equal different ways of verbal and emotional abuse. Neglecting a partner and putting yourself first is a sure fire way to create problems in the relationship. Loving someone means serving each other and communicating with a balance of grace and justice. It is also important to work together as a team to develop boundaries in your relationship. This helps increase the quality and strength of the relationship when working together towards the same goal. This article is just a snippet to help aid people in their everyday relationships but simple, small things, the way we talk to each other, the validation of each other, a text message, doing something without being asked can make the difference between joy or pain.

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