In this conversation, you must ask for feedback. Why does this happen? In addition, you must be entirely open to your role in the problems.
For example, suppose you want your husband to be more emotionally open with you. You have to be willing to hear him say something like, “Every time we have an emotional discussion, you get so upset that I feel scared to share my feelings. I need you to calm down when we talk about things so that I might be able to go a little deeper.”
That’s on you, so to speak.
The best possible result from your conversation is to agree on the specific changes that each of you will make to create a better outcome. At that point, it’s time to let go of past frustrations and wait to see if the changes can take hold.
A few weeks down the road, maybe a month later, you want to ask yourself if things are getting better in a real and sustainable way. If not, repeat your discussion and identify the barriers to change.
I have tremendous confidence that when two people love each other and one person can spell out exactly what’s wrong, positive change will follow.
When to Pull the Plug
Of course, there are times when this does not happen. The problems are too entrenched; they’re too overwhelming; and/or, the person won’t or perhaps can’t behave any differently. As far as I see it, you’ve done all you can and it’s probably time to consider ending the relationship.
Before you do, ask yourself a series of questions. If the answer is “Yes” to every question, then it’s reasonable to think seriously about ending your relationship.
As I suggested at the outset of this column, ending a bad relationship can lead you to feel much better. If you answered yes to all of these questions, maybe now is the time to consider launching yourself on a new path in life. You can do it!
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