"What makes people happy, healthier and live longer is having good and close relationships."


Couples often find themselves in a negative conflict dance. We dance around an old and familiar pattern of conflict behaviour. To stop from entering and being stuck in old behaviour pattern, partners need to discuss their respective deeper feelings that have been triggered and lie beneath.

Try to alter one negative step in the dance. For example, say to your partner, “You sound angry with me. Can you tell me what you need from me to help you feel better?”

Try to realise it is often not about the content of the argument, but it is more about the underlying meaning your partner attaches to the event. For instance, when you repeatedly come home late, consider the meaning your partner might tag to this behaviour. As a result of your repeated lateness, your partner might feel: unimportant, not cared for, unable to rely on you, your work is your priority, you don’t respect her or him, you don’t enjoy being with them, you no longer feel attracted to them etc. That is not the way you want them to feel. They need to feel your connection, love and support.

So, try to work out the significance and hidden message your triggering action has for your partner. He or she will help you with that. Then having understood the power and hurt the action is causing, attempt to repair the emotional damage. Show connection and compassion, by expressing your understanding, regret and determination to address the problem.

Inspired by Dr Sue Johnson Emotion Focussed Couple Therapist Expert and Esther Perrel International Therapist.