Ok, so we’ve established that you’re both responsible for putting the happy into your relationship. That means how you talk about it, how you discuss it , how you negotiate it, how you share it. When you have a problem in your relationship, are you able to talk about it without it being explosive? Are you able to sit down and have a sensible conversation without all hell breaking loose? Lets have a think about what happens when you are both at loggerheads and absolutely can’t even agree on what the issue is. Maybe one of you is saying this is the problem and the other one is saying, that isn’t the problem at all, this is the problem. How do you even begin to work out what you need to do to get over it or to be able to even start having a conversation without one of you raising your voice or leaving the room? Its really difficult right!? One thing that you could try would be sitting down together in a neutral space and just being able to have a rule that there’s going to be no raised voices. Maybe you’ll have a keyword so that when you feel that one of you is getting heated or voices are getting raises, you ‘raise the white flag’ and say a phrase that can de-escalte it – like a code word if you like for the conversation. And just be able to take it in turns to just share, not only what the problem is in your mind but actually why you feel it is a problem. Like for example: I feel really pissed off about this. When it happens, this is how it makes me feel or it reminds me of this. And then what you need to do is be able to get over to your partner why they need to understand your point of view on that feeling. So say for example you’re really upset when your partner goes out late and doesn’t phone you to say what time he or she is coming back and doesn’t reply to your messages. He or she might feel like the issue is about you not wanting them to go out and have a good time, and and you wanting to sabotage them having fun with their friends. But it might actually be something completely different. It might be that the issue is actually around safety or vulnerability. It could be that not having contact with your partner while they are out brings up feelings of abandonment for you and reminds you of something that happened when you were younger, either in your childhood or in a previous relationship. So there are lots of different reasons why it is important to be able to have the difficult conversations and being able to give your partner a proper understanding of why you feel so strongly about something and actually being able to reason it. Maybe by being able to give them an understanding of what the feelings are that are evoked in you when he or she doesn’t answer phone calls or text messages and comes home 3 hours later then they said they would, their response is defensive but actually if you can break that down together you can come up with a much better understanding of each others point of view and feelings and come up with a more sensible and mutually acceptable plan.

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