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relationship problems advice

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My friend who is a relationship therapist said that the blame game is one of the biggest problems long-term relationships face, and one of the top reasons couples break up. I totally see how that can happen. Between surviving escrow on our recent place, my partner’s long bout of unemployment last year (which can be very hard on one’s psyche), and a six-month stretch of health issues I was having, my partner and I have seen how life can test your emotional strength and patience, and test how you respond in a relationship under tough conditions. We were taking a walk last night and I laughed to my partner, “Damn. These young couples who’ve only been together two or three years don’t know what they’re in for.”


Everyone’s on their best behavior in the beginning of a relationship. The excitement of a new thing—and all that sex you’re having—makes it so you don’t bring any of your stuff to the table. No matter how stressful of a day you have, you happily bound into the restaurant to meet your new boo of three months for cocktails, and say you had a great day. But I’ve got news for any newbie couples out there: that doesn’t and can’t last forever. Eventually, you start living your lives side by side—you don’t just put your responsibilities aside to have all fun, all the time together.


When you start living together, and especially if you own your home, it can feel like you run a business together. New, less attractive sides come out of each of you and you can start to get into a bad cycle of blaming each other for…everything. A plumbing issue. A double date gone wrong. The cycle can get bad, and you wind up in what my therapist friend calls the blame game. Here is how to stop it.


relationship problems advice

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Remember you love this person

It seems so simple, but many people don’t take the time to do it. Next time you want to go off on your partner for…being a little grumpy during your double date or…failing to clean a room he said he’d clean…stop, look at him, really take him in, and remember that you love this person. Now, you can still say what you need to say, but you’ll probably say it with a better tone if you first pause to remember the love that’s there.

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