When we meet the person that we feel is so ‘right’ for us that we want to commit to a relationship, we are usually in the grip of a kind of madness called ‘romantic love’. Sooner or late reality wakes us up and we see that the person we thought was perfect actually has flaws, and although we believed that they would always make us happy, there are times when we feel irritated or frustrated. The good news is: All of this is normal. All relationships go through stages and phases, and when we feel conflict begin to arise, something healthy is happening. The trick is to understand whats happening, and know that it takes work and skill to not only stay connected and happy but to deepen and enrich the relationship so it brings us even more joy over the years.
That’s where your Imago Relationship Therapist comes in. By having a few sessions you will learn not only about the underlying unconscious attraction which ensures that we meet the right person but also that arguments are healthy. You will also learn how to keep the romance alive. Relationships are never simple, but they used to be a mystery; now we know whats going on.
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Reduced to a few simple guidelines, these are some of the ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ which will help you keep the sparks flying.
– Be negative. Negativity is invisible abuse, and highly corrosive to the connection between you. In fact, romance goes out the window when negativity comes in the door. Negativity is any kind of words, tone of voice, facial expression (such as rolling your eyes) or behaviour that your partner says feels negative to them. Yes, that’s right – your partner decides whether you are being negative or not. You might think you are only joking but if it doesn’t feel good to your partner, you need to stop it. Negativity makes your partner feel unsafe and without safety in your relationship neither you or your partner will ever grow and your relationship will never become the deep, connected one that you want.
– Think that conflict is bad. Conflict is growth trying to happen, and its a good thing. Its not good if you resort to criticism, blaming, shaming or stone-walling (silence), but it is good to express your frustrations and ask your partner to makes behavioural changes. However this can be hard to do without professional guidance.
– Think that things are going to improve on their own. If you have difficulties in your relationship – even if your partner disagrees and thinks everything is alright – its important to say so. If you are unhappy or feel unsafe, things are not going to improve unless you speak up. Failure to do so is consigning the relationship to stagnancy and long-term lack of fulfilment.
– Think that your partner is a mind-reader. Unless you say exactly what is upsetting you, or which of your needs you don’t feel are being met, your partner is unlikely to know. Sulking or attempting to express yourself through your behaviour will only make things worse.
– Express your appreciation of your partner. Take time at least three times a week but ideally daily, to tell your partner that you appreciate them. It could either be something that they did, that you acknowledge, or something about them that you really like. That could be something physical or something about their personality. And then when you have told them what you appreciate, tell them how that makes you feel.
– Express yourself kindly. Often its not what you say, its the way that you say it that can upset your partner. Use lots of ‘I’ statements (‘I’m feeling upset’, ‘I don’t like it when that happens’) rather than accusing or attacking, and suggest to your partner an alternative way to behave and what might happen if things are changed.
– Keep the romance alive. Remember what it was like when you first met? What did your partner like you to do? – Maybe it was little notes on the pillow, or texts through the day, or flowers. Whatever it was – start doing it again, and keep it up. Having the relationship of your dreams doesn’t just happen – you have to work at it.
– Not only have a regular date night when you are at your romantic best, have a Relationship Health session once a week to talk about how the relationship is going. Discuss how things have been going, and what you need to work on. Discuss changes, frustrations, irritations, hopes and goals. Celebrate when you achieve successes.
– Be loyal, faithful, and your partner’s best friend. You have to prioritise your relationship and remember that energy follows attention. The more attention you give to your relationship and the more you focus on the good, the more good there will be to focus on.
For more information and to get in touch with Annie, head to www.anniegurton.com
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