Contrary to popular belief, fights are not better talked out to the bitter end and happiness and intimacy are not the result of more loving couples. It really comes down to how you manage these perpetual fights. I want to give you the main reasons people end separating or remain happy and together - based a couple different disciplines of research. Because a lot of what is the most damaging, isn’t obvious or calculated by a person. It’s totally accidental.
When we have the same arguments and we start to get distant, it’s often because we don’t want to fight and we have a sense of dread around a repeated loop, so the distance is like a no-war zone between two foreign cultures. And the SHITTY news is when you get distant, your relationship is actually in the most trouble – because both parties are no longer demonstrating an investment in the bond. This is when you stop identifying as a couple and you start thinking in terms of me, the individual. And with that solo identity you start to focus on goals as an individual and not as a couple. Your focus redefines your past together as crappy – you see things from a personal interest standpoint. So if you guys are feeling distant and resentful, this is an episode for you!
Caveat: I want to stress that this is NOT for people with abusive partners. Domestic violence is not something that I recommend using these tools for – if you’re in an abusive relationship, my heart goes out to you. If you like this episode, check the Gottman Institute for more! A lot of this is from his work.
For more of my writing and the blog version of this post, check out Yaywithme.com (the blogs will be posted a bit later than the podcasts).
Couples counselor questionnaire:
How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It
John Gottman’s most popular book:
The Gottman Institute – all their good, short articles.
A book by the creator of Imago:
What to look for in a couples counselor: