Change can be viewed as an often terrifying encumbrance or an opportunity. Find the silver lining in forging new paths.
Change type: You’re tired of your partner making you late for concerts and dinners and are becoming angry at what you perceive as disrespect for you and the relationship.
Opportunity: Even where discontent is present, delivering it from an emotional perspective – in how it makes you feel – is more conducive to resolution than an intellectual standpoint, which can seem implicitly superior. In the above example you could let your partner know how much you enjoy seeing concerts, and gain so much pleasure in seeing the act walk on stage or the opening curtain. An example may be the fact that your partner is always late for any dinner, concert or theatre engagement. The initial reaction may be to state, “I’m sick of you always running late and having to constantly risk missing anything we ever go to!” It is negative. And likely to activate a defensive response. Consider instead, “I know that time sometimes gets away from you. What can we do to ensure that we aren’t as stressed when we are seeing a show?”
Change type: One partner’s new passion for hiking and wish to spend time with a hiking group means you no longer share together time or feel distant/left out/less compatible
Opportunity: Creates an opportunity to explore something for yourself. The healthiest relationships are the ones where we allow growth outside, and do not feel they are excluding us or not wanting to spend time with us, but rather working on self-development that will enhance themselves as a partner and an individual.
Change type: One partner’s increased confidence after a promotion (or decreased confidence after illness or other adverse circumstance) has altered the dynamic between you.
Opportunity: Relationships often need to be renegotiated if there has been an event that has impacted either party. Looking at expectations, needs and desires can encourage better communication. Openly discussing – in a non-judgemental, low conflict realm – any issues that you are feeling can reinvent and recreate a relationship. Relationship counsellors can assist in renegotiating relationships by being a mediator who can teach skills enabling open dialogue.
Change type: The kids have moved out and you realise that they were your shared interest and that you are now islands.
Opportunity: Seeking the help of a professional relationship therapist can encourage deeper exploration of relationships. Deciding whether you feel invested enough in a relationship – by identifying if your individual needs are being met – can assist moving forward. Reviewing the relationship can help meet needs.