Often there comes a time in a relationship when there are growing pains, disagreements, struggles, or one person not being happy about where the relationship is or is going.
This can become a challenging time for both people in the relationship. Sometimes, we are the ones who feel there is a problem or issue in the relationship. Or, we can be thinking everything is fine and get caught off guard when the other person shares, they are upset or unhappy with the relationship.
All relationships will go through periods of growth and even conflict. How can we better understand what is happening in our relationships? Often there are some signs in a relationship that might give insight that you or the other person may need to evaluate and address something in the relationship:
When a relationship is stressed and one or both of the people are unhappy or concerned, the amount of talking is usually minimal and the talking that is happening may be more negative. Tension can be felt when you are talking, criticism may be happening more often, and emotions may be heightened.
Less Time Together.
Usually, when we are unhappy with someone, one of the first ways we tend to try to deal with it may be by separating ourselves from the person or the situation. This can be a healthy step if you need time to think about how you are feeling and develop a plan to work on the problem. But, if you are using this as a punishment for the other person or using it to avoid the person or situation then that would not be beneficial to working on the relationship.
Resentments are Building.
When working on different opinions, expectations or conflicts can cause either person is feeling resentment. If this occurs, it would be good to step back and evaluate what is happening in the relationship. Healthy conflict will lead to a resolution that both people can benefit from.
Words Become Hurtful.
When our words stop being encouraging and supportive, we find that we are using our words as put-downs. These can be criticisms or comments at the expense of the other person. These hurtful words show that there is a problem or an issue that needs to be addressed.
So, what can I do if I am seeing some of these issues in my relationships?
Take the time to reflect and evaluate the relationship. Be available to be with the other person. It is impossible to work through relationship issues alone. You can work on your part of the issue but to see a change in the relationship, both people will need to work together.
Focus on what the other person is sharing and not on what you are feeling as they share their thoughts. You will have time to think about how you feel and respond. But, when they are sharing, be fully present and listen to them.
Acknowledge what the other person is sharing even when you are not in agreement with what they are sharing. Acknowledging is different from agreeing with them. Acknowledgment shows that you are listening and can respect the person who is sharing their thoughts and feelings.
Be sure to take responsibility for things you have done or said. This is not a time to justify or try to explain away why you made those choices or used those words. Once you have taken responsibility, the other person may be in a place to listen to the reasons why. But, oftentimes you may need to move forward and discuss the outcomes of those choices and how to resolve the outcomes.
When sharing your thoughts and feelings, it is best to use “I” statements and keep your focus and comments on how you feel. You are the best person to speak about your thoughts and feelings. When you stay focused on yourself, it gives the other person the same chance to speak for themselves.
When working in relationships that are struggling, it is important for you to be clear about what you are looking for in this relationship. What type of relationship are you wanting? Do you want to occasionally get together? Or, are you looking for a best friend to do life with? Knowing want you want out of the relationship will help as you determine how to work on issues in the relationship.
We all have dreams of what a perfect relationship would look like. But, a perfect relationship is exceedingly difficult to find and would be even harder to try to maintain. As with all relationships, you will need to be realistic in your expectations of yourself and the other person.
In working through issues with another person, treat that person the way you would want to be treated. This can be hard to do when emotions are high. But, stepping back and giving both of you a little time and distance to process is a good thing. Coming back together when both of you are ready to talk and be kind will lead to a much more productive conversation and hopefully a stronger relationship moving forward.
Begin Relationship Counseling in Greenville, SC
Are you struggling with a hard relationship and would like someone to talk to? If so, a therapist from our team would love to listen and help as you evaluate and work on ways to rebuild and strengthen your relationships. We are happy to offer support in Greenville, SC, and across the state. To start addressing the relationship issues affecting you most, please follow these simple steps:
- Contact Upstate Restorative Counseling
- Meet with a caring therapist
- Start supporting the health of your relationships
Other Services Offered with Upstate Restorative Counseling
Therapy for relationship issues isn’t the only service we offer at our Greenville, SC-based practice. Our team understands that there are many mental health concerns that may affect you. This is why we are happy to offer a variety of mental health services including therapy for trauma, life transitions, anxiety, and depression. We also offer support across the state via online therapy. Feel free to learn more by visiting our FAQ, blog, or about page today!