Conflict

BEING CHICKED

Dear Alison,

I am in a great relationship with a wonderful woman. We have many interests in common and we love doing sports (running, skiing, biking) together. Unfortunately, I get “chicked” by my girlfriend a lot. When she beats me in a race, I tend to get distant with her. I want her to accomplish her goals…click here to read the article

CRITICISM AND CONTEMPT

John Gottman, who wrote Why Marriages Succeed or Fail after studying 2000 married couples over two decades, found that contempt, criticism, and defensiveness ultimately lead to divorce. Does that mean we shouldn’t say anything when we have a complaint? No. The key is to make specific requests with a neutral tone of voice, instead of making broad negative judgments, such as “you’re always complaining.” You can…click here to read the article

CONTROL KILLS PASSION

She says she loves you, but you’ve got to get a “better” job. Trying to choose your partner’s friends, activities, or work all suggest that you consider your partner to be inadequate. Even when the controlling partner is simply seeking that magical feeling of unity, seeking it through control damages the respect at the core of love…click here to read the article

DEALING WITH ANGRY PEOPLE

1. Don’t take things personally. Anger is about the angry person. Anger is usually an expression of the person’s vulnerability—e.g., fear or powerlessness and therefore need to control others. It is sometimes about emptiness, and thus, a desire to feel strong emotions or connection. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have valid…click here to read the article

PURSUIT AND DISTANCING

Emotional Cat and Mouse

The ability to have a passionate, fulfilling relationship requires that a couple balance two natural needs—intimacy and independence. If we don’t consciously balance these needs, what often results is a frustrating struggle caused by the PURSUER/DISTANCER dynamic. Pursuers pursue intimacy, unaware of their need for autonomy. Distancers seek autonomy, unaware…click here to read the article

VENTING AND TRIANGULATION

Have you ever felt uneasy when a friend complains about his or her partner? Triangulation involves one person complaining to a third person about a primary relationship in order to vent anxiety, not to gain insight into how to deal with a problem…click here to read the article

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