Useful Tips

Do not part with your loved ones: how to cope with a crisis in a relationship

This article is co-written by Paul Chernyak, LPC. Paul Chernyak is a licensed psychotherapist from Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.

The number of sources used in this article is 20. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

Many relationships naturally occur in relationships. This can be a move, a new job, time in separation, marriage or the appearance of a child. Some changes may not be easy, but there is no need to consider the changes as a whole as something bad. Try to adapt quickly and communicate regularly, and then you and your partner will be able to transfer any changes in your relationship.

Step 1: Accept the obvious

Accepting the idea that your relationship is going through a difficult (but logical) period is an extremely important step. It is at this very first stage that many couples part: not wanting to admit the existence of a crisis in the relationship and even more so to overcome it together, yesterday's lovers slam the door, rushing rushing with mutual accusations, insults and reproaches. According to statistics, this is precisely how the crisis of the first year of the relationship breaks up. 90% couples! The remaining 10% will have to cope with the crisis of 3 years, the crisis of childbirth, the personal crises of each partner (including the notorious midlife crisis), the crisis of 7 years, 15 years, and finally, the crises associated with external circumstances (you don’t have to go far for examples - the current financial crisis may well become one of these catalysts). It will be a little easier to survive each of these tests if you realize that the crisis of family relations is a natural stage that can bring them to a new level if you have the patience, love and desire to stay together.

Step 2: Set a Goal

In the popular Christmas comedy “The Family Man” (where Nicolas Cage turns from Wall Street bigwig into the father of the family in a provincial town), the protagonist’s wife, after another quarrel, tells him: “I choose us.” It would seem that the phrase is simple, but in reality it is much more difficult to make such a decision than to slam the door - for this it is necessary to put the alliance with your beloved person at the forefront, despite all the accumulated irritation, unjustified hopes, and insulting quarrels thrown into the heat of quarrel. The intention to maintain an alliance requires considerable effort, patience and time - sometimes it takes months, or even years, to resolve a crisis situation. Separating, of course, is easier, but in this case you will not only give up the chance to maintain relations, but also with a high probability will encounter similar difficulties in the future: any crisis in relations is nothing more than a reflection of our own “growth points”, a signal that that we need work on ourselves - and on the ability to build relationships as well.

Step 3: work on the bugs

Keeping your head cool during the crisis is not easy - emotions go wild, and resentment builds up like a snowball. Nevertheless, try to analyze and understand: what is actually happening? At what point in your relationship began to accumulate irritation, what was missing from you, what is missing from your loved one? What could be prevented, how can this be fixed? Please note: your main question should not be “Who is to blame?” (Everything is usually quite simple here), but “What to do?”, And it is up to you to do it. It is good if a professional psychologist comes to your aid - this will reduce the degree of emotions, ask the right questions and understand what exactly is the cause of the difficulties encountered and what you have to work on.

Step 4: Remember Men Manage Stress Differently

It will be a little easier to survive difficult times if you accept the fact that men cope with the crisis of family relations in a completely different way than women. Psychologists attribute this to the fact that in a state of stress we activate both hemispheres of the brain, and therefore we are constantly focused on what is happening, we analyze every detail, we are constantly haunted by an anxious desire to discuss everything and dot all i. Men, unlike us, who are trying to immediately bring all the misunderstandings to the negotiating table, tend to lock themselves up and restrict communication. This often looks like indifference and an attempt to “hide one’s head in the sand”, which becomes an additional reason for reproaches and disappointments. Do not rush to conclusions: as a rule, a man in a stressful situation needs just such a “withdrawal into himself” with the opportunity to be alone with his own thoughts and emotions. Try not to panic or crush, give him time - and soon he will be ready for dialogue.

Step 5: Learn to Talk to Each Other

It’s amazing, but true: psychologists say that about 80% of parting could have been avoided if we had learned to talk to each other. It turns out that it is incredibly difficult to express your emotions and thoughts and (even more difficult) to hear another person. Bob Grant, a well-known author of books on how to survive a crisis in a relationship, advises you to start with this exercise: every day a couple needs to set aside 20 minutes to communicate with each other, and for each such conversation a timer is needed. Each participant receives one minute to speak out - one minute and not a second more! After a minute, you must stop, even if you do not have time to finish the sentence. It is forbidden to raise the tone, speak too fast or ask questions. Your task at this moment is to share your thoughts and feelings, without trying to offend the interlocutor. You can talk about anything - about how your day went, about how you feel at the moment, you can even just be silent for a minute. The point is that during these 60 seconds you get the full attention of your partner. The listener also needs to follow a number of rules: it is necessary to listen to the interlocutor, looking at him, without any demonstrative reactions (such as smiles or rolling his eyes). Your task is simply to listen, listen very carefully. Questions cannot be asked either. Then, at the end of the minute, you switch roles and continue to take turns talking to each other for 10 to 20 minutes. Grant assures that in just two weeks of such an independent “therapy” you will notice a huge difference in your relationship. “We are quite capable of healing our own relationships,” he says, “we just sometimes don’t know how or are too lazy to do this.”

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