What’s your relationship style?
Do you find yourself fighting like cats and dogs? Is it time to throw in the towel?
Somewhere down the road of dating you will find yourself in some kind of conflict. Some get resolved and some just doesn’t seem to go away. It’s the feeling of, “oh no here we go again!”
What’s going on here? You are most likely looking at some sort of relationship pattern in times of conflict and we play one role more than others. Here are a few common ones:
1. Seeker-Hider: This is a dance of cat and mouse-one who pursues while the other distances themselves. The seeker wants more closeness and deeper connections while the hider often feels overwhelmed, wants privacy and shuts down.
2. Critic-appeaser: In this type of relating one backs down, afraid of conflict and plays nice essentially negating themselves. The critic constantly blames and finds faults in seemingly everything-from their partners opinions to how their partner dresses.
3. Overfunctioner/underfunctioner: There are a few different faces in this system. Generally one takes on more of the responsibility of the relationship while the other is just tagging along. Examples of the overfunctioner are roles of parent, martyr, enabler, and caretaker. Underfunctioner roles are child, substance abuser, and illness.
It is very important to see how your behavior is reinforcing your partner’s behavior. Connect the dots and look how this behavior leads to another. Take a hard look if this is type of connecting with another is what you want in your life. You often teach people how to treat you. Identify which is the role you take the most. Be mindful of the sequence of events leading to the conflict, during and after. Once you figure it out do something different by communicating cleanly, seeing the cost of your behavior to yourself and your partner, and finally breaking the cycle.
**Professional help is a must in situations like physical violence and abuse as changing the cycle increases the danger.
In a perfect world both of you will be on board but it is not necessary. All you need is one person to own up to the change and a new way of doing things will be born. Either it will evolve into a more balanced relationship or it will end. So before you throw out the baby with the bathwater, take a look at what you can do different. And maybe just see the dawning of something incredible with or without your partner.