So, should you stay or should you go? I shared this framework with a friend who is trying to decide whether or not to stay with her main squeeze, and it was nothing short of an epiphany for her.
She wants more romance; he thinks anything that smacks of Hallmark is needy and lame. She’d been thinking this could be a deal-breaker. “It’s NOT a deal-breaker!” she declared with obvious joy. “It’s a CYCLICAL CONFLICT!”
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They talked about the conflict in a way that made them both feel understood and loved. He admitted that while romance was hard for him, he enjoyed making her feel loved. They established a dialogue, made some headway (he even brought her flowers the next day), AND have also accepted that this is something likely to arise again in the future.
Knowing that she has a cyclical problem on her hands, and not a deal-breaker, has given my friend some peace. I hope having a better understanding of the problems that beset relationships also brings you a bit of well-being in this month of love.
Think about the problems that you have with your beloved: Are they solvable? Cyclical? Wounding? Or just plain deal-breakers?
© 2011 Christine Carter, Ph.D.
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This article originally appeared in Greater Good.