What to Expect
If you are reading my blog, there are a few things you should know. First, you need to know that I am a no-nonsense get-to-the-point kind of therapist and writer. I don’t believe in beating around the bush. Your problems have solutions. I know what they are and, in this blog, I provide them for you clearly and concisely. Hence, you may realize things about yourself and your way of being with your partner that aren’t, shall we say, very nice. It will be up to do to decide what you want to do with that information. You can change or not, but it would be silly to think that your relationship could change if you don’t.
Second, this blog is about choosing to focus on your relationship. If you increase your focus on your relationship and apply the principles recommended, your relationship will get better. Period.
Third, this blog is about you – you fostering the focus, courage, strength and commitment to change. Hence, you need to be prepared to act in ways that result in change. If you’re not yet ready to do that, I suggest you temporarily set this blog aside in favor of a novel. Come back to it when you’re ready to do the work!
Finally, regarding whether or not to include your partner in the exercises I recommend, that’s up to you. I am writing this blog for you because so many people like you have come to me feeling powerless in their relationships. They start off their sessions with, “I can’t fix this because my partner is/does/has/ isn’t/ won’t etc..” They gravitate to the idea that it’s a deficit in their partner that keeps them from having a happy relationship so they don’t have to accept responsibility for what’s happening or extend the effort that it takes to create change. I am here to tell you that YOU can make a difference with or without your partner’s immediate participation so the blame game won’t work here! This blog is about the power you have to make a difference. You can and will see a positive change even if your partner isn’t participating. Not following? Think of your effort as a one-pound weight. While it’s true that if you each put a pound on different sides of the scale you would achieve balance, it’s also true that putting one on your side alone, will tip the scale in your favor. The goal is not to have equity (that’s stingy thinking). The goal is to have a happy relationship. That said, if both of you do the work, the results will be more profound.
To be clear, unless you are reading this as a couple, the tips in it will require you to make the first move for positive change. Initially, you may be the only one trying, but don’t worry – Relationships are dynamic and change in one person’s behavior always results in change in the other person’s behavior. Start the journey and they will follow . . .
On a final note, you will find that I use encounters that I’ve had with former clients as examples. In my experience, this makes learning easier, more interesting and fun! Please know that each vignette has been tweaked. Names have been changed and minor changes in circumstances have been made to protect the confidentiality of couples with whom I’ve worked. I thank them for their silent contributions to my development as a therapist. Without them, the valuable insights in this blog would not be possible . . .