The Silent Treatment – A Relationship Killer?
In most relationships there will be times of disagreement. This can be a normal part of a healthy relationship, and overcoming problems together can make you stronger, both individually and as a couple. Although there is one thing that can prevent this natural process from occurring… the “silent treatment”.
In times of conflict, staying quiet may seem like the best course of action, or might seem the best option to prevent future arguments that can take their toll on each other’s mental health and well-being. At the same time, it can be difficult to initiate difficult conversations and talk to your partner about things that are troubling you.
This can occur whether you are in a new or established relationship, getting back together after a breakup, or even if married. In fact, difficulties in communication is one of the main reasons people come to see our Couples Counsellors for marriage guidance and couples counselling in Newcastle upon Tyne.
In addition to contacting our specialist couples counselling service at Newcastle Psychologist & Counselling, here are some other things that can help improve communication in a relationship:
In times of disagreement, it may seem like the best way to resolve conflict is to “go with the flow” and try to ignore the problem. However this can be more damaging to a relationship than you realise – underlying problems will go unresolved and can then rear their ugly head in the future.
Instead, and as scary as it might seem, be brave. No matter how bad things are, initiate healthy conversation and ensure that proper communication remains the bedrock of your relationship.
This can be difficult, but will make it easier to raise difficult issues and can be incredibly rewarding once achieved. Those niggling problems can be more easily resolved, and both parties can work together to build a more positive future.
Understand Each Other’s Boundaries
One of the most important aspects of a relationship is understanding each other’s boundaries and expectations. This can only be achieved through constructive discussion, and often boundaries only become known when they have been violated (such as with unfaithfulness, affairs or jealousy).
Signs that boundaries have been violated might include “the silent treatment” (as described above), anger or cutting/sarcastic comments, and avoiding your partner.
If boundaries and expectations are mismatched and cannot be worked through, you may feel like or choose to end a relationship. Though this may seem daunting, and if things can’t be resolved, it may be the best outcome for both involved.
In this case, it is worth getting in touch with our service for couples counselling to help you decide whether this actually is the best route or whether your differences can be worked out. You will also know sooner rather than later if a relationship is worth saving.
Keep The Spark Alive
Although it can be tempting to keep searching for a fairy-tale romance, this isn’t the reality of many true relationships. It would be wise for both parties to realise this and understand that relationships will bring both good times and bad. Similarly, understanding that love does not have to be exciting, perfect or unexpected in order to stand the test of time.
Instead of wishing your relationship was like the plot of a romantic novel, try to set realistic expectations of one another. Aiming to understand each other completely and engaging in healthy discussion when necessary will help you both to remain strong through the bad times, and feel happy and secure through the good.
Another effective way to keep the spark alive is to show affection to your partner and let them know that they are important to you. Buy or make them small gifts (actions often speak louder than words!) and when you understand your partner completely, small token gestures will become much easier, and will help keep that spark alive.
For Further Information and Couples Counselling in Newcastle upon Tyne
It is not always easy to maintain a healthy relationship, but implementing some of the tips above can help breathe life into a dying fire. All relationships go through times of difficulty but it is important to resolve problems as they occur.
Keep in mind that open and honest communication is of core importance in a relationship, and can help navigate many difficulties and improve your enjoyment of each other. This can be made easier by talking it through in a neutral, non-judgemental setting where an experienced specialist couples counsellor can help you resolve your problems.
If you and your partner feel like you need additional help with your relationship, contact Newcastle Psychologist & Counselling’s Specialist Couples Counsellors in Newcastle upon Tyne using the below contact box now.
Dr Stuart Sadler
Lead Clinical Psychologist