Have you ever felt too angry to speak to a family member, friend, or your partner? Or you could sense that they were mad at you, and you avoided them out of fear of having a conflict? How do you get past the anger and have a productive and heart-open conversation?
Triangles occur in all kinds of families and are a very destructive force for relationships. More and more people these days get divorced and remarry. Stepfamilies have a built-in potential for jealousy, competition, loyalty conflicts, and the creation of painful triangles. That experience can go hand-in-hand with one partner being unable to find their voice in these triangles and being caught between the loved ones in their life.
The pandemic has been a real stress test for relationships. Most couples encounter different issues regarding finances, health, and family over the course of their relationship or marriage. But whereas in the past those challenges would have come up slowly over time, COVID forced new partners to confront them from the start. At the same time, a lot of stress that normally affects relationships through “third party interactions” was removed through the artificiality of the bubble.
As we are looking ahead, we need to ask how couples can maintain healthy boundaries with others and show up as a unit with third parties, including the extended family?
Can you talk openly and comfortably with your partner about money? Our attitudes towards money are often based in our childhood experiences and the money beliefs we have learned. It starts with understanding what motivates you and your partner to save and spend. Then you can work towards changing any limiting financial beliefs or limiting emotional connections to be able to work towards the same goals.
Having conflicts or disagreements does not indicate that a relationship is in trouble. What is essential is to address disagreements consciously and communicate well with each other when we have a dispute. Here are 8 agreements to set up with your partner regarding a fair fight.
When expressing our thoughts and feelings we need to use I-statements. Unfortunately, an “I statement” can also be twisted into criticism. Here are three examples of how to phrase successful I-Statements that do not make the other person defensive.
Have you felt bad or guilty because you seem to have it much better than others, perhaps better than your partner or another family member? How do we turn these feelings of guilt into something useful and beneficial?
In 1997 psychologist Dr. Arthur Aron explored whether intimacy between two strangers could be accelerated by having them ask each other 36 increasingly more personal questions. In 2015, Aron’s questions went viral starting with New York Times journalist Mandy Len Catron, who used the 36 questions in a self-experiment and did indeed fall in love with a stranger. That made me curious if this set of questions would be a good dating tool and what other applications they might have.
COVID-19 has created an unusual situation for our marriages and close love relationships. Suddenly many couples were forced to live and work in close quarters, often struggling with financial hardships and worried about their health, about educating and entertaining their children at home and about the future in general. The close and constant proximity has highlighted their differences and accentuated their conflicts and doubts to a point where the pressure has become unbearably painful.
Who loves adversity and especially a crisis like the one we are all facing right now? Right! Our Inner Critic! Our Inner Critic is that nagging voice inside, which is trying to protect us by letting us know in which ways we are “faulty” or not doing enough. No matter how well we are doing, the Inner Critic will find something that apparently needs to be improved, and it loves to compare us to others who are supposedly doing better or more.
The COVID-19 situation has disrupted our daily routines, affected our finances and is challenging our relationships. The crisis has changed everything we used to consider “normal”. This exceptional situation is an opportunity to work on our fears, learn how to release our emotions and improve our relationships, especially our closest partnerships or marriages. Here are some examples for subconscious beliefs we might need to change, emotions we might need to release or conversations we might want to have.