Relationship Replay: The passion in Carlos and Angela’s relationship has disappeared over the years, and now they are prone to arguing and even go days without speaking. Meanwhile Carlos has been unfaithful numerous times in their relationship, and Angela has retaliated by cheating on him as well. Can they make it work?
Dr. Berman’s homework:
Communicate with your body: The next time you are in an argument with a partner, take a look at your body and examine what your body language is saying to him. When you are rolling your eyes and your arms are crossed, it is clear to your partner that you have shut down and you aren’t open to what he has to say. When you uncross your arms and make your body open and attentive, you will often find that your mind follows suit as well.
Be clear about your needs: When people shut down in a relationship, they no longer give their partner the feedback they need to help fix the problem or improve their bond. Your partner can’t read your mind and if you are giving off cues that say you have shut down, he will begin to follow suit as well. This will only drive a wedge further between you. Instead, be honest and clear about your needs from the beginning, and save yourself the future heartache.
Take ownership of your own mistakes: No one is perfect and each partner has to take responsibility for his own shortcomings in a relationship. Often when you examine an issue deeply and look for the root of the problem, you will find that you both have some ownership in the current conflict.