Flipping the Script in Your Relationship
By: David Alexander, Psy.D.
Many people look at the New Year as an opportunity to set personal goals to eat healthier, work out more, or be more productive. I am inviting you to consider one more thing to add to your list and that is to be a better partner to your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. Too often, people get stuck in this never-ending loop of an unsatisfying relationship. I say that it’s time we end that cycle and build something new together.
As someone who has a history of being in long-term relationships, I have experienced first-hand what it is like to grow apart from your partner. It’s one of the toughest experiences I have ever had to go through. Contrary to popular belief though, it does not have to be the ending to your relationship’s narrative. In fact, it can serve as a pretty incredible launching point to take you and your partner to new heights you may have never realized were even possible.
I tell you this because it is not enough to just go back to the way things were when you were happy, young, and newly in love. We cannot recreate the past, but that does not mean we are helpless to manage the situation. What many couples do not realize is that they already possess all of the tools that they need. Their only problem is trying to figure out which ones to use when. The solution to this dilemma is simple. We have to communicate with our partners.
Hiding behind shame, frustration, or disappointment only prolongs the suffering. We need to face one another and talk about our pain openly in a way that helps us create a new narrative where we feel heard by our partners, valued for our contributions, and hopeful for a better future together; one that we can design together.
In my profession, I have been fortunate to have helped quite a few couples rebuild connections. I say this because I don’t want you and your partner to become another statistic among the hundreds of thousands of couples in the United States whose relationships end in divorce each year.Start talking to your partner and see which parts of your script need some revisions. Better yet, sit down and write an entirely new script together.Experience that excitement that comes for getting to know your partner all over again. Appreciate the moments when you see your partner smiling back at you as they realize how much you truly care about them. Above all, don’t be afraid to take a few risks along the way because it’s often times the deviations from our routines that are the most rewarding.