Everybody Marries the Wrong Person

Turning Flawed into Fulfilling Relationships

Love Do-overs

"I know now how I could have loved you then." Maia Sharp

Wishing for a love do-over? 

Maybe you're wishing you could undo destructive words and deeds in your current love relationship. 

Maybe you're pondering the question proposed by Michael Cunningham in By Nightfall: "How miserable would you have to get to be able to bear the actual separation, to go off and live your life so utterly unrecognized?"  Which, for many, leads to hoping for another chance at love in the form of a new, more suitable partner.  See previous post: There are no right people! 

Or maybe you're wishing for another chance with an old love, your regrets summed up in Maia Sharp's lyrics: "I know now how I could have loved you then."

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Without a doubt, frequent errors of commission and omission undermine partners' confidence in their relationship.  Eventually, accumulated transgressions weaken the bond of love.  Unless, we believe in do-overs!    

Self-responsible love do-over

First and foremost, this is not about simply giving your partner another chance or about your partner giving you another chance.  That's already been tried - repeatedly - without lasting satisfaction.  There is only one type of do-over that leads to relationship enhancement - the self-responsible love do-over. 

This is about doing-over your responses to your loved one!  Claiming the freedom to transform your thoughts about your partner.  Re-shape your expectations.  Revamp your dark moods and insecurities.  Transform your behaviors, too.  Away from thoughtless reactions motivated by negative emotions to thoughtful gestures motivated by love.

Special circumstances:  If your partner's behavior is abusive, you must take responsibility to rescue yourself.  See three previous posts: Great Mistakes.  

Self-responsible love do-overs are accomplished with deliberate practice.  Start by taking inventory of your own personality weaknesses and sub-optimal behaviors.  Your partner has probably pointed out the fundamentals.  Next chose which of your thoughts and behaviors to transform.  Then redirect destructive thoughts, inhibit negative emotions, and behave constructively - again and again and again

With persistence, you modify your brain, increase your repertoire of constructive thoughts and behaviors.  For "how-to' details, see previous posts: How to Train Your Dragon and Walking the path alone: Self-responsible spouse.  If individuals claim the freedom to do-over their own thoughts and behaviors, love relationships benefit. 

Ultimate love do-over 

The ultimate love do-over is, of course, one in which both partners adopt the self-responsible approach.  This focuses each partner on commanding his or her own thoughts and behaviors - not his or her spouse's - which produces that "I know now how I could have loved you then" perspective.  You not only see your past errors but also see how you can constructively modify your behavior in the future.  If both partners claim the freedom to do-over their own thoughts and behaviors, love relationships thrive. 

For more about the book, visit www.everybodymarriesthewrongperson.com

Christine Meinecke, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and author of Everybody Marries the Wrong Person.

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