5 signs that you should pay closer attention to your relationship
Focus on the facts.
This is advice that we’ve offered over the years to countless women and men who were confused and worried about their relationships. Whether it’s suspicions that their partner is having an affair or anxiety that he or she doesn’t feel the same way, it’s always a good idea to lay out the observable, reliable and verifiable information available and then make a decision about what to do about it.
But is it possible to take this too far?
Here’s where technology comes in and could potentially be a big help can lead to relationship trouble...
The online Apple store offers over 800,000 apps for smart phones and tablets and there are plenty of apps available from other companies as well. Many of these apps help people keep track of calories consumed or burned through exercise or what they need at the grocery store, but a growing number of apps make it easier for users to monitor their spouse or partner.
Maybe you have some of these apps downloaded on your own phone.
There are apps that check your partner’s social media pages or even text messages on his or her phone and send you alerts and information. Some of these are questionable and in the gray area of legality, by the way. (Always do your research and make sure the app you’re using is legit!)
Other apps serve as a sort of interactive journal and promise to help you decipher the "real meaning" behind what your partner says and does. Their aim is to give you clarity so you know if your relationship is healthy or if it’s time to make a change.
These technology tools bring up a really important relationship question...
Is it dangerous to monitor your partner too closely or too much?
Our answer is... YES!
While it is appropriate and smart to get facts if you suspect that your partner is lying to you or cheating, this can go too far. When jealousy is the primary cause of your mistrust, it’s not a good idea to spy or track your partner. It’s advisable to first calm down so you can see more clearly and then assess whether or not your suspicions are based in stories you’re telling yourself or in what’s really going on.
It’s also appropriate and smart to stay awake and aware of the way you and your partner interact. There’s nothing wrong with making note of how he or she reacts when you talk and act in certain ways. Recognizing when your partner pulls away or moves closer to you is a necessary requirement for a happy, healthy relationship.
But if you are dissecting each word and obsessing about what every little thing "really means," you’re going to stress yourself out and probably put a wedge in your relationship!
Imagine feeling like you’re the one under the microscope. It’s uncomfortable, doesn’t foster trust and it opens the door to plenty of misunderstandings. Worried that you’ll disappoint or cause upset, you’d be less likely to be completely honest and authentic under this kind of scrutiny from your partner.
This definitely doesn’t nurture intimacy and connection.
There really is a balance to reach for when it comes to keeping track. We invite you to shift your perspective away from monitoring your partner and everything he or she says and does and, instead, stay aware of your relationship.
When you take a wider view, it’s easier to avoid blaming, criticism and the kind of nit-picking that doesn’t serve either of you.
Here are 5 signs that you should pay closer attention to your relationship:
1. You don’t remember the last time you two really connected.
Hmm, was it your anniversary? Way back before you two had kids or before your lives got so busy? If it’s been longer than a week since you and your partner really connected, it’s time to schedule some one-on-one time.
2. You’re confused about an issue or conversation you had with your partner.
When you keep re-playing in your mind a troubling conversation or comment, stop. Minimize the chance of misinterpreting what your partner said or meant and ask, "Please help me understand...."
3. You’re worried about "where this is going."
Knowing what the future holds can be a tricky thing for all of us. Instead of projecting anxiously about where you and your partner will be in 5 years (or more or less), return to the present moment and communicate about what you want for your relationship today.
4. You notice a disconnect between words and actions.
When words and actions don’t add up, that’s your cue to pay closer attention. It may not mean your partner is lying or cheating, but it usually means something needs to be tended to.
5. You realize you’re dissatisfied and unhappy.
Relationships aren’t always easy or fun, but they aren’t supposed to be a constant and painful struggle. Recognize your discontent and get curious about where it’s coming from. Hint: The source of your dissatisfaction has as much to do with you and your own beliefs and habits as it has to do with your partner.
Choosing the right words to express how you feel and what you want is the key to effective communication.
We tell you which words and phrases to use and which to avoid in this free Magic Relationship Words video.