Updated: May 3
Everyone is in survival mode during this period. It is stressful when you are having relationship issues with your partner prior to COVID-19. Especially for those who live together, and there isn't a lot of space at home. It can be challenging, and will affect your mental health being.
I have been seeing individuals for therapy who have communication issues with their partner. Often one will continue to have negative thoughts and worries on what he/she should or shouldn't do in their relationship to make it better. I find without open communication between partners, the relationship would break down.
My recommendation to you is to be assertive in your communication style, this will create an open dialogue with your partner. It is absolutely a daunting task because you don't know what he/she thinks or how he/she will react. Also, being assertive takes practice and it doesn't come overnight. Often, I find people would start saying to their partner, "You are doing this or that…" and it often leads to the partner feeling attacked.
One technique that I teach my clients is to use "I" statements, it will allow you to communicate your thoughts and feelings. It keeps the door OPEN to communication instead of leading to arguments. You can try "I don't like it when you…, and I feel... I appreciate in the future if you don't do it again…" My recommendation is to write down your thoughts and feelings before speaking to your partner. Also, before you have an open dialogue with him/her, you can say, "I would like to talk to you about some issues that were bothering me. You might not like what I have to say, but I would like you to listen first."
I usually find its one person who is willing to work on himself/herself. For relationships to work, it shouldn't be one person who does the work; it requires both individuals to work together to improve their relationship. I always recommend my clients to seek couples’ therapy.
I highly recommended the book “Hold Me Tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson because it provides you with different techniques and exercises on how you can engage your partner with love.
“When we feel safely linked to our partners, we more easily roll with the hurts they inevitably inflict, and we are less likely to be aggressively hostile when we get mad at them.”
― Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
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