What to do about Negativity in Relationships

Negativity in your relationship

If you have negativity in your relationship, Valentine’s day can result in anxiety about how to manage the expectations of this special day.  What do you do? Is dinner appropriate?  Or do you go with flowers and chocolates?  Perhaps even a walk on the beach?  What do you do?

Consider going the extra mile this Valentine’s day. Go about making a stronger connection with your partner. The Gottman Institute has some advice on how to take a relationship a lot deeper, and make some meaningful and longer lasting changes in your relationship.  We refer to it as “Countering Negativity”, both powerful and easy – what could be better?

Change the Negativity in Your Relationship

Step 1:  Tune into the Negative grumbling in your head.

It’s natural to privately complain sometimes about our partners and relationship.  From daily items like the chores to bigger things like other some habits that are distasteful.

The first step is to begin noticing this internal chatter. As a starting point, look for your negative talk and become for aware and familiar with it. Everyday, for a week, record 5 incidents of negative thinking.  Don’t tell your partner, the idea is for you to get better at noting it.

Step 2:  The 1-2 Counter.

Once you’ve noted your internal negative talk, and the negativity in the relationship, begin to develop a habit of countering it with a positive claim and statement about your partner.  It easy to want to skip this step, so watch out for that.

The key here is to note the negative thought and feelings and alongside think about the things that your value in your partner and/or relationship. Think about the things that keep you together.  Consider 5 positive things, write them down.

Step 3:  Tell ‘Em the Good Stuff

The next step is significant and can really be a game changer. Begin developing a daily habit of telling your partner some of the good stuff, the bits of positivitiy about your partner and the relationship. This doesn’t have to be a big deal, simple and short comments about what you appreciate, or how you enjoy something about them.

Step 4:  Be on the Look-out for Positive Things.

Pay attention to how the positive influences you, and thus your partner and the relationship. Deliberately make a note of this, and talk with your partner. Share what you’ve observed, how the mood might be changing. If you are noticing a lighter feeling in your relationship or an increase in caring….say it out loud!

Hope this goes well for folks. Changing what you ‘tune-into’, like a radio station, will change the mood and culture of your relationship, your attitude and perspective.

If you are interested in seeking out relationship counselling, you have come to the right place. At Waypoint Counselling, we have many skilled therapists who can help you and your partner turn things around.

Best of luck and Happy Valentines.