Every couple fights. You know what’s crazy though?
On average, couples remain unhappy for a few years before they seek a therapist. YEARS.
It gets to the point where every conversation is an argument.
After the constant arguing phase is the quiet phase. Tired of arguing, both people give up on communication altogether.
Eventually, things get so bad that people *gasp* call a counsellor.
I’ve always found that funny. The average person thinks couples counselling is going to be so awful that they’d rather endure years of frustration and emotional pain.
We need to change the perception of counselling somehow, maybe if a bunch of us started doing sessions at the local bar instead of an office.
“If therapy doesn’t work, just get wasted!”
Problem Solve Like a Therapist
Sometimes relationships die a long, slow death.
It seems like nothing happened, but stuff went wrong… a whole lotta small stuff that went under the radar.
Chemistry seems to fade, intimacy isn’t there, arguing is almost constant, and you can’t figure out why.
Start by asking yourself some questions, and look for any common factors.
When do you argue? What do you argue about? Are there any people that seem to trigger arguing?
Where do you argue? This is a big one most people neglect.
When is the last time you had sex? What about a fun date? Uninterrupted time to just hang out?
Sometimes you can throw the psychology out and go back to basics. If you’re doing the basics but still have trouble getting through a conversation, it’s time to dig a bit deeper.
Put On Your Psychology Hat
Now the fun part. Do your best Sigmund Freud impression, but probably leave out the cocaine. Yes, the father of psychology was an addict (he found cocaine useful for talk therapy).
Chances are you’re already decent at understanding people and communicating. If you’re arguing lots, the problem you’re probably having is caused by your partner’s psychological defence system.
With awareness and a bit of skill, you can neutralize their defence and move the conversation forward.
How Does the Mind’s Defence Work?
You know the feeling when someone disproves your point but you still want to argue?
That’s the ego protecting your ass from the feeling of being wrong.
Sometimes, an issue triggers ego defenses and prevents conversation altogether. If you’re constantly arguing, this is exactly what’s happening.
Avoid the Triggers, Avoid the Argument
You don’t need to change your message to avoid triggers, it just has to be “packaged” so they aren’t scared, threatened, or hurt by what you’re saying.
This comes down to one thing.
Don’t Talk About Your Partner.
Don’t tell them what they did, what they need, what they need to change, or anything. Talk about you.
Most people fall into the trap of needing their perspective to be accepted before moving forward.
The truth is, both of your perspectives are “right”.
Stop obsessing over what they did. Start focusing on your experience.
BAD: You lied because you aren’t big enough to tell the truth. If you can’t admit that we have nothing to talk about.
GOOD: I felt hurt because XYZ happened again and you said it wouldn’t. When I feel hurt it makes me scared to open up to you. What makes you want to be dishonest with me?
You explain your experience without judging or insulting, you clearly communicate the problem, and you create a safe scenario for them to move the conversation forward.
Basically, it’s a simple formula for taking all the prickly bits out of the conversation. Once you do that, you’ve removed the biggest roadblock to resolving the root issues.
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