Hello and welcome back to the Therapy Spot! This week, it’s time we gave our relationships a temperature check. When it comes to connecting warmly with your partner — that is, not too hot and not too cold — the logical path doesn’t always work.

Once we get past the rush of falling in love, we sometimes discover we’re really bad at disagreeing with our partner. This shows up in a variety of ways:

  • Maybe your conflicts are loud and passionate. You say everything on your mind and take no prisoners, before retreating to lick your wounds.
  • Sometimes we decide to be respectful and polite, at least until everything explodes.
  • Maybe you compromise, compromise, compromise and in the end, nobody is happy with their options.

While the first option is obviously too hot, the second two are much too cold. You might think, “What’s wrong with being respectful and polite? Isn’t it polite to be kind to my partner?” Unfortunately, in relationships we sometimes use kindness as protection from conflict.

Both of these approaches can lead to isolation. As we become more isolated, we become more critical and judgmental both in our thoughts and actions. When this happens, the distance between you and your loved one grows. Soon, that distance in itself is painful.

So how do we turn up the connection, keep the kindness, and get the warmth and spark back? If you want to have a breakthrough and not a breakdown, the key is empathy, not apathy. Join me and learn how to take your relationship’s temperature.

You may feel defeated, as if you’ve made too many mistakes in your relationship to ever recover. Remember, your mistakes are not failures. Mistakes point you towards what you need to learn! Now that you’ve brought these things into the light, you can address them and start turning up the warmth on your relationship thermostat.

Image Credit

The Thermostat” by Flickr user starmanseries, licensed under CC BY 2.0.