It’s easy to take a good long-term relationship for granted. Here are some questions to help you keep your relationship on the right track, and stay connected.
1. What’s going well in your relationship right now?
2. What has your partner repeatedly brought up as a concern but you’ve been ignoring? What has your partner been nagging you about?
What do you think your partner feels when they keep asking you about (topic) and you keep ignoring them?
What would be a better plan, rather than continued ignoring?
3. Do you use your partner as a dumping ground for your stress and negativity?
- you’re always telling them how frantically busy you are, or
- you’re a bit of a negative person. You have a tendency to be critical and judgmental of others. You frequently share these musings with your partner, such as “Why was such and such eating pasta if he’s supposed to be doing Paleo?”
What do you think your partner feels when they’re on the receiving end of hearing about your stress and negative comments?
How are the ways you’re using your partner as a dumping ground affecting your relationship e.g., your partner tends to tune you out?
4. In what areas would be better to be accepting of your partner being who they are vs. continually trying to change them, if any?
5. How have you grown closer to your partner in the last 5 years (or since you’ve been together if less than 5 years)?
- your partner went through a surgery and the experience led to you feeling closer, or
- you’ve been able to talk about your fears about your parents getting old and dying, which previously felt too vulnerable, or
- you’re now talking about planning your retirement together, which previously you both used to avoid.
Are there any areas where you can see the potential to get even closer? This will usually relate to some sort of shared moments of vulnerability, as in the examples above.
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You can read my prior articles for Psychology Today here.