5 Things You Can Stop Doing Right Now To Improve Your Relationship
Quick to action steps you can take yourself today
Think back to when you first met your partner. Can you remember how amazing it was in those early days, as you got to know each other? “They’re the one” you told everyone, certain that this was the relationship to end all relationships. You felt sorry for everyone else for not having a relationship as good as yours.
But now, the feelings aren’t quite as strong. You’ve come a long way since then, moving in together, getting married, maybe starting a family. And your partner does a lot of things that annoy you. What seemed like cute quirks in the beginning now can cause world war three in your house. And you’re fed up of the bickering and arguing. You still love your partner so much, you just wish you liked them a bit more. That you could get back to those early feelings of connection and understanding.
Today’s post will show you 5 things you can stop doing right now that will help you do just that. The best part of these things, the rely solely on you, so you don’t need your partner on board to start making changes.
1: Not Asking for What You Want
How often have you caught yourself thinking “they should know what I want” or “it’s obvious that I meant for them to do…”? I hate to break it to you, but no matter how long you’re in a relationship your partner doesn’t become psychic. In the beginning it might feel like they understand everything about you, and maybe they did, but you’re not a static entity. As time passes you grow, change and develop. So does your partner. Therefore, if you’re not talking about these things neither of you may have noticed the changes.
Next time you find yourself annoyed because your partner hasn’t done what you want them to ask yourself if you actually asked for it in the first place?
2: Passive Aggressive Comments
How often, if asked if you’re ok, do you reply “fine” when you’re not? Or say something not so pleasant to or about your partner, adding “just kidding” at the end? Be honest, you’re not fine and you’re probably not kidding.
You can argue that your partner should know that you’re not fine but see point 1 above if you think this! Also, chances are, if they’re asking you, they know you’re not but what else can they do if you don’t talk to them about it.
Passive aggressive comments create such a negative relationship pattern. It means your negative feelings fester, and your partner can’t really do anything to make it better. It also creates a dynamic where they feel you’re persecuting them which will make them hostile to trying to do anything differently.
Next time you’re about to say you’re fine or make some other passive aggressive comment, pause and ask yourself what you really feel. Share that instead.
3: Thinking You Can Change Your Partner
This one really grinds my gears. The only person you can change is yourself. Trying to change other people is manipulating them. True love and connection can never really come from manipulation.
It’s ok to hold your partner accountable and expect them to behave in a respectful and mutually beneficial way. But it isn’t your job to force them to behave in the way you think is best. This is coming from a place where you assume you know best, and I’m both against assumptions and this idea of right or wrong. Pushing your agenda on someone is overstepping their boundaries and it’s not ok.
Next time you want your partner to behave a certain way, or do something, ask them. But you need to be willing to accept it’s well within their rights to say no to you. That’s when you need to ask yourself if that’s something you can live with, if you can get what you’ve asked for without their help and if it’ll matter in a year’s time. Want more on what to do when your partner says no to you? Read about it here.
4: Only Doing Things To Get Something Back
This might be something you don’t even know you’re doing. I’ve been guilty of it, and if someone had said to me at the time it was what I was doing I would’ve denied it but it’s true. Society actually encourages this kind of behaviour and expectation, so it’s understandable that it happens.
The problem with this way of thinking is it creates resentment. Resentment for the amount of time and energy you give to other people, and resentment if you perceive to not be getting back something of the same value. This article explains the difference perfectly. The main character in this story isn’t “helping”; he isn’t doing the chores and childcare to get something back. His friend is only giving to get praise back.
This article is about men, but women do it too. How often have you said “No, it’s fine, you go to the pub/football/lads’ weekend away, I’ll stay home with the kids/dog/parents” then sat at home complaining about the fact he never pulls his weight? This is playing the martyr, trying to get others to recognise the good thing you’ve done. You’re looking for the praise, to make you feel important.
Next time you’re about to do something or agree to something for your partner, check in for your reasoning. Is it coming from a place of love or expectation of reciprocation?
5: Taking Them for Granted
Now I’ve know I’ve just shared an article that says you shouldn’t do things just for the praise. But don’t underestimate the importance of acknowledging the good things in your relationship.
In the beginning, compliments flow easily. Everything your partner does is great and you’re not afraid of sharing that. As the relationship develops though it becomes an integral part of your day to day life. Things that were amazing in the beginning become the norm. It’s easy to forget those things and start focusing on the negative, especially if the relationship is in a bad place. Research has found stable relationships have 5 positive interactions to every negative one. So if you’re only sharing the negative it’ll start to have an impact!
Being grateful for your partner and being able to recognise all the good things they do for you will foster generosity in both of you (read about how here).
You can start this now. Go and write down three things you’re grateful for with your partner. It could be things they’ve done, said or traits they have. Bonus points if you share them afterwards. Double bonus points if you can do this on a day you don’t particularly like them!
Originally published at www.idealbalancecoaching.co.uk on July 6, 2017.