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It's Time to Take the Romantic Relationship Check-Up

Thursday, February 13, 2014
heartValentine’s Day often conjures up images of lovers exchanging gifts and expressing their love. For those who are single, articles abound on surviving Valentine’s Day with cherished friends or “me” time.
 
“The focus on connections at Valentine’s Day gives us another opportunity – the chance to review the health of our romantic relationships,” says Michael Groat, PhD, MS, director of Menninger’s Adult Division. “How healthy are they? We routinely schedule twice-yearly dental check-ups, so why not take the time to review the health of your relationship?”
 
Here are some questions to answer in your own self-directed review:
 

Friendship:

  • Do I consider my significant other a friend?
  • If so, do we share a mutual respect and enjoyment of each other’s company?
  • Are we well versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes and dreams?
  • Do we have an abiding regard for one another and express this fondness in not only big ways but in the little ways day in and day out?
Good Memories
  • Are we involved in creating good memories together?
  • Do our positive thoughts and feelings override the irritating and inevitable disagreements?
  • Do I feel safe and secure with my significant other?
Rupture and Repair
  • When we hurt one another or create distance, can we work to repair the disruption?
  • Can we say we are sorry to one another? Can we learn from each other?

Damaging Dynamics

  • Do I fear my significant other’s temper, and live with the threat or possibility of being harmed?
  • Am I treated with contempt or disgust?
  • Do we put up walls and shut each other out, refusing to talk for days or weeks?
  • Do we routinely criticize one another and engage in name calling or belittling statements?
  • Do I feel I have to pretend my relationship is better than it is, especially to the outside world?
  • Do I feel guilty for staying in a relationship that I really don’t want to be in, or feel safe being in?
  • Do I judge myself a failure for not being able to make the relationship “work?”
  • Am I filled with bad memories and a lot of bad feelings about our relationship, to the point that good memories and feelings are hard to access?
If you respond “yes” to any question in the last two sections above, this could be a sign that you and your significant other are heading down a path of misery and increased disconnection. Contact a therapist for help in reviewing your situation further, and consider intensive couples work if both of you are committed to shifting your relationship in healthier directions.