Are You Trapped in an Unhappy Marriage?

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on Are You Trapped in an Unhappy Marriage?

5 Steps to Address Dissatisfaction in your Relationship

Most people in a relationship want the same things. We want to be appreciated, respected, understood, and loved. We want to feel connected to our partners.

Problems arise because partners don’t necessarily experience these feelings in the same way. How we meet our needs for attention, or affection, varies from person to person.

Those differences often lead to disappointment, or a sense of being let down, when relationships don’t fulfill our expectations.

So, what happens when we feel our needs aren’t being met?

We lash out or we withdraw. Basically, most of us tend to direct our anger and frustration at our partners and treat them harshly. Or, we become more distant and pull away. Sometimes we do both.

From there, a pattern begins. Our partner responds to our response. The more dissatisfaction you and your partner experience, the more unsatisfied behavior is displayed. On and on, a couple can continue to feed off one another’s disappointments, until lashing out or withdrawal becomes a vicious cycle.

Resentment builds within that cycle, leaving a couple quite unhappy.

How do you break the cycle of dissatisfaction?

You need a plan to turn your unhappy relationship around.

1. Speak Up. This is not just about airing your partner’s faults. Determine whether he or she feels similarly about your relationship. Share honestly and genuinely about your discontent. Talk about specific issues that concern you. This is less about complaints regarding your partner’s behavior, and more about your dissatisfaction regarding the connection with your partner.

You won’t be able to solve your issues until you can see them for what they truly are.

2. Make the First Move. Be the initiator. This can be tough, but you can’t afford to sit back and wait for your partner to take action before you do. If you take the approach that you’ll change when your partner changes, the situation usually results in a stalemate. This is a very destructive place to be in a relationship. A power struggle means that nobody moves, nothing changes, and nothing improves. Set the example for how you want to be treated. What don’t you want in your relationship? Make every attempt to be less reactive, and more focused, on setting the tone for how you’d like the relationship to proceed.

Take the initiative now to reinstate more kindness and respect in your relationship.

3. Reconnect with Your Partner. You may not be able to dive deeper into feelings of resentment or anger right away. You and your partner need an emotional foundation to build on. It’s often helpful to start reconnecting by rebuilding positive feelings and goodwill.

Talk to each other. Rediscover each other. What drew you together in the first place? Rekindle your friendship. Engage in activities you used to enjoy together. The point is not to recreate your initial relationship, as much as it is to revive and generate more positive connections.

Feelings of goodwill will be very important before you and your partner attempt to do more difficult emotional work.

4. Tackle the Tough Stuff. Effective communication and conflict resolution skills are crucial. You and your partner will need to navigate difficult issues without finger-pointing or shutting down communication. It will be important that the two of you reach a point where you accept responsibility for your individual share of the relationship’s problems.

Dealing with your problems in a more productive way will provide the means to restore your relationship.

5. Be Patient. Relationship problems build up over time. There is no overnight solution. Don’t give up too soon. Try to be aware that you and your partner see and feel things differently. To manage those differences requires perseverance and respect. Working through a troubled relationship requires an investment of time and effort, but the rewards can be tremendous.

If you’re stuck, or struggling to work through this relationship recovery plan, definitely consider the help of a couples therapist or counselor soon. With commitment and hard work, you can turn your unhappy marriage around.


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