Five signs something’s wrong, what can we do to turn it around

The original can be found here.

I’ve pasted in the main blocks of text and underneath each section I’ll post my commentary. The aim of this is to look at areas in our relationship that could be or are problematic, and seek new ways to change and improve  Ideally I would love DW to post a counter-commentary, so we have both perspectives as I hate one sided dialogues. Let’s hope she does.

You don’t communicate

If you come home from work, stick the telly on and don’t speak to each other beyond the occasional “Pass the crisps”, you’re in trouble. Communication is the key to every relationship and without it minor issues can flare up into fights and you’ll both end up feeling unloved and indifferent. If you don’t want to talk to each other about how your day was or chat and laugh together anymore, it’s a clear sign that you’re losing interest.

Our communication, is a minefield, we do talk a lot, but its mired by distraction. Whilst writing this DW asked me if I heated up waffles as they’ve gone a bit hard. I replied with a distracted, uncommittal; yeh. Other aspects that ruin our conversation is I want to talk about issues a lot. I often find that we haven’t resolved something, we not in complete agreement, or later we have different interpretations.

Communication is a two way thing, and I often feel that DW either hasn’t listened or later on does something contrary to what I thought we had agreed. The not listening drives me nuts and makes me talk more. Her response is, (IMO) we talked what’s the point of talking more, its been said.

I read a book called “He Wins: She Wins” which put forward a Policy of Joint Agreement (a concise description).  We should adopt it as we have conversations whereby I say, “We shouldn’t do that” to which DW says something along the lines of “I promised” and I go along unhappily. I would like it changed so that, if I don’t agree or she doesn’t agree then we stop.

A secondary aspect of our communication is not doing something either of us agreed to in a timely manner. As an example, I’m not contacting people or agencies as quickly as I should as I’m caught in bad decision loops. With DW it’s been the bank branch she walks past daily, not going in and getting a card replaced.

On a more positive note, we discuss films, books, events very frequently, but the challenging conversations that go to the heart of our interpersonal relationship often get put off.

You rarely have sex

Once the initial excitement of a new relationship has worn off you will naturally have a bit less sex, but a strong desire for your partner and regular sex make for a healthy, functioning relationship. It may just be that your sex life has got a little bit routine and injecting some zest with a little bit of experimentation will put things back on an even keel, but if you still aren’t feeling it, it’s probably time to wave goodbye.

Bar illnesses, injuries and periods, we have sex three to four times a week, I guess a good example is during DW’s chemotherapy, when the cancer nurse gave her a leaflet that explained that other than the two days following chemo, and the onset of the sickness sex could be normal, and that in the immediate two days you could have sex but protection (condoms) was needed to prevent the transmission of chemo chemicals from one partner to another.

You imagine life without your partner

If you find yourself constantly having daydreams that fail to feature your partner it’s time to ask yourself some questions. You might long for a home free of their clutter and chat, or fantasise about a date with that hot new colleague, or wish you could just take a holiday alone: whatever it is, you’ve started to emotionally detach.

This one doesn’t apply either, I’m unsure whether its because we are so co-dependent or that we are sole-mates. We have a lot of very similar angst from our abuse childhoods, when she talks about childhood trauma I can understand and vice-versa. We also have those complimentary opposites, unfortunately we also have uncomplimentary failings, where two wrongs make the wrong, wronger.

You pick fights

If you find your partner irritating and can’t resist constantly picking them up on their habits then the writing is on the wall. Relationships require empathy, compassion and compromise to keep going, so if you’ve jacked all that in in favour of snapping and bickering it’s time to get out of there.

I do frequently, I’m a very contentious, challenging person, who probably is borderline abusive with micro aggressions. That isn’t my intention, I have a belief in saying it as I see it, and to sort out and fix problems. Which for some would be aggressive.

You forget about the little things

Whilst big gestures are thrilling and romantic they don’t help maintain a relationship on a day-to-day level. A recent study funded by the Economic Science and Research Council found that the simple things – such as bringing your partner a cup of tea in bed – nurture a relationship much more than grand romantic gestures. If you’ve forgotten about those little things and rarely think to do anything for your partner, from offering them a cuppa to giving them a cuddle, then it’s time to forget about the whole thing and move on.

Ah! now this is a tricky one, we both do try, yet our communication fail, stalls it. A couple of examples that I’ll use to highlight this. A couple of years ago, I spontaneously bought DW flowers, took them to where she works during lunchtime, phoned her (we have real problems with communicating over the phone), she huffed down from her office and was very ungracious in accepting the flowers.

A second more recent incident, she’d been complaining over a weekend about not getting the cuddle and cuppa on arrival home from work. So the following Monday I prepared just that, except she stormed through the front door very drunk. All that’s come out from incidents like these is me thinking “why bother”.

So although on the surface the five points don’t apply to our relationship failing, we do have a very tenuous hold on keeping it together, It takes quite a lot of hard work to ensure that we keep it working, rather than giving up and it failing. It would be nice if it was a natural thing, but our temperaments make it more contentious from time to time.

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