Rough patches in our relationships are inevitable and can feel very uncomfortable. Who would not be scared when in examining their relationship they feel that they no longer see eye to eye with their partner, or that they no longer want the same things as their partner?
These situations may not necessarily mean the end of your relationship though-through working through them, relationships can be enriched and emotional resilience grown.
These sticky patches often arise when one or both of you is particularly busy, and you are spending less time together as a couple. It may feel like things are just ”not right” in the relationship; or it may feel that you are walking on broken egg shells. Your relationship may not feel as fun as it once was, and sex often declines leading to greater feelings of disconnection and lack of intimacy.
When we are going through big life-changing stressful events such as bereavement, redundancy or becoming parents, we often withdraw within ourselves rather than reaching out to the other.
So how can we work through a rocky patch? Well communication that is open and honest is the key. Communicating with your partner may feel very difficult because of the feelings involved. When talking to your partner, to avoid statements sounding inflammatory or accusatory, we need to pay attention to our choice of words and the tone of voice we use. It might be helpful to have a rule at the beginning of your discussion that one of you talks for five minutes without interruption, the other speaks for five minutes without interruption, and then you have five minutes discussing together. Stopping after 15 minutes is useful to avoid any potential for different perspectives to turn into disagreements and arguments-you may need to agree to disagree but understanding where the other person is coming from is in itself helpful to your relationship.
Talking about our feelings is important, because not talking about them does not help them to go away. Keeping our feelings to ourselves runs the risk of those feelings turning into resentment which adds fire into the relationship rough patch. And if you really feel unable to speak to your partner about how you feel, it may be helpful to speak to a counsellor.