Relationship vs. Single

Studies show that being in a relationship doesn’t make you happier or healthier than being single.

Many people live most of their lives single and are very happy and healthy.

What causes stress and a lower quality of life is going back and forth between being single and coupled. The stress of bonding with someone and then separating over and over wreaks havoc on your wellbeing whether it’s with the same person or different people.

It is worth it to heal this pattern.

Is It Better To Take Space or Hash It Out Now?

In intimate relationships there basically two tactics for managing strong emotions.

1. Take space from each other until you calm down.
2. Talk things out right now until you feel connected again.

What I’ve found working with unhappy couples are that they almost always disagree on which of these tactics to follow.

When this happens the partner wanting to take space will claim to feel trapped, controlled, and stuck with someone that’s “too emotional.”

And the partner who wants to talk it out will claim to feel abanded, not cared for, and stuck with someone that is “out of touch with his/her emotions.”

This can lead both partners to start questioning the relationship and consider finding someone who is a better match for them.

The problem is that this pattern will likely show up in the next relationship too. Just as it likely showed up in their past relationships.

The solution is not to find someone “better.”

It’s also not to finally agree on strategy 1 or 2. Trying to do that will only keep you in the pattern.

The solution lies in uncovering your deeper fears and experiencing moments of vulnerable tenderness together.

That’s how you heal the pattern that led to the disagreement in the first place.

How To Stop Your Negative Communication Patterns

Having taught couples communications skills for the last 7 years I’ve learned that you can’t simply replace “bad” communication patterns with “good” ones.

You can’t stop judging, yelling, insulting, arguing or stonewalling and start speaking with a compassionate tone, deeply listen, and use emotional intelligence just because you know it’s better to do so.

If you try to do that you’ll both start arguing about how the other is doing it wrong and nothing will change.

The first step to stop your negative communication patterns is to understand your patterns.

Why do you yell?
Why do you judge?
Why do you stonewall?

When you discover the deeper reasons behind your behavior, which always point somewhere inside that is very tender and vulnerable, then you can start to heal as a couple and your communication patterns will improve.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

Untitled design (6)As parents, we plan for family dinner to be delicious and bonding. As lovers, we plan to surprise and please our partner. As professionals, we plan to accomplish our work, not only competently, but in ways that inspire others.

Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out as planned. Sometimes this is because other people don’t show up the way we expected them too. Sometimes we try something new, and due to ignorance or lack of experience, we completely blow it.

Having things not go as planned is part of being alive. It is how we respond to these moments that make all the difference.