Are there days when your relationship feels like a powderkeg?
One wrong look, one carelessly worded comment and your partner explodes on you.
All you wanted to do was express your feelings about something or make a request, but it before you know it, you’re in a door-slamming, insult-throwing argument.
Maybe it gets so heated that either you or your partner proclaim things like:
“I can’t take this anymore! I’m done with this relationship!”
“Maybe I need to just leave. That’s the only way either of us will be happy!”
“We should just get a divorce if you’re so unhappy!”
You’re not even sure how or why what starts out as a minor complaint or disagreement about something spirals into so much defensiveness and drama. Maybe it’s gotten so bad that you’re afraid to bring up anything with your partner anymore, because you’re afraid of where it’ll lead.
So you bite your tongue when they do that thing they do that you dislike.
You avoid eye-contact when they’re angry or in a bad mood. You change the subject quickly when you sense you’ve touched a nerve.
You have to take a deep breath to avoid saying something sarcastic when they are contradicting themselves, or trying to tell you what to do, so you don’t antagonize them into a fight.
There’s enough good in your relationship that you do what it takes to make up when things do get heated.
But this roller-coaster of emotions is exhausting.
And no matter how much you talk about it or try to avoid conflict, it’s just a matter of time before something comes up to fan the flames of your tumultuous relationship, and the floor drops out from underneath you yet again.
Maybe there are moments in your relationship that are romantic, passionate, exciting, even tender.
In those moments, you are convinced you’re meant to be together. You catch glimpses of the potential for real happiness with this partner.
But then there are the times he or she ignores you, or says something condescending, or acts controlling or passive-aggressive, and all you can think of is how utterly alone you feel.
You feel alone because you question whether or not they really love you, or whether they really are committed to you.
You feel alone because you can’t express your needs and feelings to the one person whose response matters so much to you.
You feel alone because no one understands how deeply complicated this is for you.
If this describes you and your relationship, you’re NOT alone. After working with countless couples in my 40+ year career as a marriage and family therapist, I can assure you that many couples struggle with the same kind of high-stakes, volatile relationship.
Further, I’m going to tell you the same thing I’ve told thousands of couples over the years:
It’s not hopeless, it CAN be better, and you don’t have to leave your relationship.
You also don’t have to live with the roller-coaster quality of your relationship.
There is something you can do to bring back a sense of calm contentment in your love.
You can feel safe and secure again—safe to express yourself, and safe to love your partner without worrying that they’ll leave (or that you’ll have to tolerate this forever).
It just takes understanding what your REAL PROBLEM is, and what to do about it.
Before you can bring back a sense of peace and stability to your relationship, you have to figure out exactly what’s wrong, and what to do about it.
You may already have a fairly good idea of why you are always walking on eggshells around your partner.
Perhaps you think your partner is:
But it doesn’t matter how much you talk about it, how much you try to alter your behavior, or how much you threaten, plea, or negotiate, the drama doesn’t stop.
So why would I say that it’s not hopeless when to you, it feels utterly hopeless?
Because I’ve seen this kind of situation many, many times, and I know that what you THINK is the problem, isn’t the real problem. Therefore, the things you’ve been doing to solve the problem haven’t worked.
They will likely never work.
That’s why you’ll keep dredging up the same hurt feelings, the same arguments, the same drama that keeps you from fully expressing yourself in your relationship. Unless you are able to recognize the root cause of your relationship problems, you will keep experiencing them.
The real problem isn’t that your partner is too controlling...too insecure...or too this or that.
The drama, the fighting, the roller coaster of emotions— are mere symptoms of a deeper, underlying issue in your relationship.
Once you understand the true nature of this deeper issue, you’ll have a huge epiphany about why you haven’t been able to work things out before.
In other words, your relationship will never mend unless you have a clear understanding of how your relationship operates, and the way you relate to each other, and focus on fixing that dynamic from the inside out.
Without endlessly talking about it…
Or hiding your feelings…
Or walking on eggshells…
And to do that, you’ll need the knowledge and tools to fix the deeper, underlying issue in the most effective way possible—a way that I’ve used successfully in my clinical practice for decades.
Without this knowledge and tools, you’ll just keep going around in circles with your partner, never sure you’ve solved the issue THIS time, or for very long. Then wondering if this time will be the time they’ll finally leave, or you will.
There’s Only So Much Uncertainty and Turmoil a Person Can Take Before They Say, “Enough!”
You may not be thinking of leaving your partner or divorcing your spouse right now. You think you can figure out a way to get through your problems, and maybe you don’t think that things have gotten quite that bad. Yet.
Consider this, though: Divorces or separations never just happen out of the blue. It’s the result of hundreds of insults to the mind and heart over an extended period of time.
It’s all the days you feel alone and scared, wondering if your partner has stopped loving you or is so angry that they’ll never reconcile with you.
It’s all the moments when you can’t relax or focus on what you need to be focused on, because you’re so worried about your marriage.
All those moments add up, and one days something happens and suddenly, the floodgates open up, and you can’t take it anymore.
You are done walking on eggshells, or compromising your needs, or making excuses for your partner’s verbal insults.
Relationships die in small acts of destruction.
That’s why it’s so important to get to the source of why your relationship continues to be so emotionally charged, and do what it takes to resolve this issue for good, so that your partnership can become strong, stable and secure, and you can finally relax around your partner.
There’s a better way to stop the drama and have a relationship that feels calm, loving and secure, and it starts with self-examination.
You have to take a look at the unconscious motivations behind your behavior, and your partner must do the same.
WHY are you feeling insecure in your relationship? Why is your partner so threatened when you don’t follow the rules, or spend time with others? Why isn’t anything you’ve done to fix the problem helped?
You have to know what you are doing wrong to do something right.
When couples learn what is really behind the drama, walking on eggshells, and constant emotional turmoil, and what it really takes to solve the problem for good, they have a huge “AHA.”
They finally see WHY what they’ve been doing to solve their problem hasn’t worked.
When they learn what they REALLY need to do instead, they finally have hope that they can create an equitable, fun and supportive relationship that lasts.
But if you can’t see what’s really wrong, it’s nearly impossible to know what to do to fix it.
It’s a matter of perspective, and knowledge.
But I can’t possibly work individually with everyone who needs that kind of help. That’s why I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible, since almost all couples can benefit from these insights and tips.
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A relationship doesn’t need to cause you to lose sleep at night.
It can be enlivening, secure, and wonderful, if you have the right knowledge and tools.
The advice contained in the articles I’ve written for Flourish will help you uncover the hidden issues that are draining your relationship of joy and passion, and help you create and maintain a strong foundation of love and respect, so that your relationship can last a lifetime.
May you have an extraordinary day,