Don’t Get Sucked Into The Spiral

If you turned the average relationship into a movie, this might be the plot…

The Crush (Act 1)

Two people meet.

They’re excited to spend time together. They notice every delightful thing about each other. They’re at the beginning of a great adventure.

They want to hold onto this amazing feeling, so they get into a relationship. They decide to share their lives.

That’s when…

Things Get Serious (Act 2)

They begin to feel something they hadn’t felt before:

Irritation at each other.

Not everything he does is delightful, so she asks him to do things differently. He experiences it as criticism. He hates criticism, so he doesn’t do what she asked.

She feels disappointed and stressed.

He senses her stress and disappointment. So he withdraws. He does less in the relationship.

That’s when they fall into…

The Spiral (Act 3)

His withdrawal triggers her anxiety.

Her anxiety triggers his need for space.

This downward spiral will end in tragedy unless the couple gets thrown a lifeline.

It’s Not Over Yet

Have you ever been in this kind of spiral with a partner?

It feels like you’re being sucked down into a hole of negativity and nothing you do can stop it.

The relationship isn’t fun and easy anymore.

Breaking up seems like the only answer.

But here’s the good news:

The spiral is not a sign that your relationship is doomed.

Even happy couples get sucked into the spiral.

They don’t panic. They know there’s a way out.

Toss Each Other a Lifeline

When you’re stuck in the spiral, the message you’re giving each other (without meaning to!) is:

“I’m not happy you’re here.”

He doesn’t seem to want to be with you.

And you don’t seem to like him very much, either.

Even though you both know you love each other, neither of you feels very loved.

To get out of the spiral, your first task isn’t to work on communication. (That can wait.)

It’s to make each other feel welcome again.

Your relationship should be a place where both of you feel welcomed.

The Art of Welcoming

There are few things better than being welcomed home by someone who loves you and is overjoyed to see you.

Life is hard. Work is stressful. You can’t control what goes on outside your front door.

But once you step inside your home, your shoulders can relax. You can take a deep breath. You can release all that tension and meet the delighted gaze of your beloved.

But time has a way of wearing down that welcome.

It’s hard to feel excited at seeing each other, because you’ve seen each other every day for years.

You’ve got so much to do. You can’t afford to relax as soon as you walk in that door; you both have chores.

And if one of you is coming home in a dark mood, you don’t want to take on the other person’s stress.

In that state, it’s all too easy to spiral.

Three Tips to Make Him Feel Welcome

How can you turn that around?

How can you show him that you’re happy he’s here, despite everything?

These tips will get you started.

1. Smile with genuine pleasure when you see him.

Even if you’re tired and busy and frazzled, you can still take a moment to catch your partner’s eyes and smile.

A smile says, “I see you, and I like what I see.”

Your partner feels noticed in a positive way.

You’re not catching him doing something wrong. You’re enjoying the view.

2. Enjoy him.

There are things about him that annoy you, and there are also things about him that please you.

Unfortunately, in long-term relationships we tend to assign more weight to what annoys us than what pleases us.

Make a conscious effort to spend some time enjoying the parts of him you like best.

What’s your favorite thing about him?

When’s the last time you remember enjoying it?

3. Touch him affectionately.

When couples are in the spiral, they often stop touching.

They may still sleep together, but they stop rubbing each other’s shoulders, or giving each other quick kisses, or sitting curled up together on the sofa.

When you touch him affectionately, even if it’s a quick hug, it makes him feel loved. Many men consider physical touch their love language.

The Hardest Challenge

Making your partner feel welcome is easy when you’re not fighting.

It’s much harder to practice these tips when you’re angry or upset at him.

But you can be mad at him and still want him to stay.

You can be upset at him and not want to push him away.

Feeling welcomed home is what brings him back to you when he pulls away.

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