Is Your Relationship on Life Support?

By

Is Your Relationship on Life Support?
If you are ready to improve your relationship, here are two must-do assignments to tackle now!

This guest article from PsychCentral was written by Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

If your relationship is on life support, it’s time for serious remediation. You can’t just hide your relationship problems under the rug, because they will only fester and worsen over time.

For a relationship to work, you need to address your relationship problems — just as you would work on a problem at school or at work.

So if you’re ready to get down to work, here are two “must-do” assignments for you.

1. Stop the zero-sum game. Start a team effort.

A zero-sum game is one where there’s a winner and a loser. It’s a great model for competitive sports but a miserable model for personal relationships.

If you’ve been playing a zero-sum game — or a game of tug-of-war — with your spouse, quit. Right now. Quit. Simply drop the rope.

 

Yeah, right. Like it’s that easy. Almost as easy as quitting that cigarette habit you still have. Wait! Maybe you have quit that habit. At least you probably know somebody who has. So it’s possible. No, it’s not easy. But it becomes easier when you’re dying for a smoke (pun intended) but have something else to do to help you curb your urge.

When you’re absolutely certain that you have a monopoly on the truth and that your partner doesn’t know what he or she is talking about, here’s what you can do to avoid slipping into a zero-sum game: Believe that something, even if it’s a small thing, about what your partner believes is valid. The simple phrase “you’ve got a point” will help you accomplish this.

Saying “you’ve got a point” does not mean you’re caving in or giving up. It’s simply creating a climate for respectful communication, despite your differences. It will help you end the polarizing tug-of-war game. And it will help you start a team effort to deal with whatever issues you are facing.

2. Curb your impatience.

Remember when your kid’s antics used to seem cute but now they’re downright exasperating? Remember when your spouse’s innocence used to seem appealing but now it’s just annoying?When others rub you the wrong way, you may get impatient and want to scream,

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

John M. Grohol

Psychologist

Dr. John Grohol is a mental health expert and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.

Location: Newburyport, MA
Credentials: PsyD
Website: PsychCentral
Other Articles/News by John M. Grohol:

The Crazy Reasons People Say Yes To Sex Are Shocking

By

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Eve Eschner Hogan. Why people have sex doesn't seem like it should be a mystery, but a study at the University of Texas asked that very question. We might assume that "it feels good," "I wanted to show my love" or "I wanted to get pregnant" were among the top contenders ... Read more

8 Pieces Of Common Advice That Will Derail Your Relationship

By

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. When you're tying the knot, friends and family may share a few nuggets of advice for living happily ever after. If later you're going through a difficult time in your marriage, they may again be quick to share their input. You might even seek their guidance, hoping a ... Read more

The Secret To Great Relationships Of Any Kind

By

This guest article from PsychCentral was written by Chantal M. Gagnon, PhD, LMHC. Gerry Spence, the famous attorney who has an amazing record for winning in court, says that people have "truth tentacles." That's how he became so successful — by telling juries the truth. I agree; I think people can tell when they're being lied to. ... Read more

See More

GET MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB