- Posted by Shirlee Kay
- On May 6, 2015
- 0 Comments
I was reading about Jon Stewart’s decision to quit the Daily Show, the American satirical news program that he has hosted for 16 years. It struck me that he could’ve been talking about the end of a relationship. He said: “It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more, Yup, it’s working, but I’m not getting the same satisfaction. These things are cyclical. You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it’s OK. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that’s when you realise, OK, I’m on the back side of it now.”
For many couples, these thoughts might resonate. Long-term relationships bring good times and bad but couples usually find a way of getting through them. There are moments of dissatisfaction, anger and love but hopefully couples begin to accept the ups and downs and continue to value their relationship.
When couples get to a point where they feel the relationship no longer offers them what they hoped for or what they need now, problems naturally arrive. The narrative many couples get caught up in is that because something in their relationship is problematic it means everything is wrong. This is obviously not the case. At this time, slowing down and considering couples therapy is one way of addressing these feelings.
Couples can learn to see the pitfalls of creating a disaster out of an issue and learn to talk about it differently. This can create an opportunity of having a different, more positive perspective.
Questions to ask before blaming the relationship:
- Are you unhappy yourself or is your relationship really in trouble?
- Are you creating a story about the issue that is worrying you?
- Are you playing a part in the dynamic that you can take responsibility for? In other words, are you blaming your partner for the entire problem and not seeing your part in it?
- Can you clearly and specifically identify what the issue is and communicate them to your partner without blame and recrimination?
- Are you able to listen to what your partner has to say and hear it without prejudice and your own point of view getting in the way?
These are some of the questions that can disentangle difficult feelings that couples become entrenched in. By clarifying concrete problems from confused feelings we can have a better understanding of what’s really going on.
All relationship change and evolve over the years. Successful long-term relationships are those that accept changes in ourselves and our partners, and learn to see and accept what is there, rather than what we feel is missing.