Time to do some soul-searching
Over time it seems to be a common enough occurrence that couples speak to me about feeling like they are being taken for granted. It’s not a nice feeling and can lead to some pretty destructive behaviors, in some cases, affairs or other passive-aggressive ways of acting out.
So, what to do? I think it’s a good time to take stock and as always do a bit of soul-searching and reflecting. Ask yourself a few questions like: am I acting as I wish to be treated? Do I regularly express my love and care for my partner and show them I appreciate them? I can hear you say, “No you’ve got it all wrong, it’s him, who is not appreciating me.” Yes, I know. Nevertheless, a good place to start when we expect our partners to change is a quick check in on our own behavior. Look for hypocrisy and start with yourself as a powerful place for change!
Next, try talking to your partner about how you feel. Explain in a non-critical way using “I” statements; speak from your heart so that he/she can really get a sense of what you are talking about. Ask directly for what you want and don’t send mixed messages. Explain that you are reflecting on how you would like to feel and that you think these things would help. Don’t let the conversation become a you said/I said argument but if it goes down that track gently bring it back and remain firm: simply, this is what I need from you.
Thirdly and very importantly, check in to see how you are treating yourself. Are you abusing yourself in ways that are subtle or undermining? Do you really prioritize your health, your well being, and your life? If you care well for yourself it is more likely that others will do the same. There’s an old adage that we get the treatment we deserve or allow. That sounds harsh but there is an element of truth in it. Check that your boundaries are solid, that you are not acting with passive resentment and that you are not leaving your partner to guess how you feel about the chores, the work distribution or the caring of the children.
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