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Summer Survival Guide: How to Cool Down Negative Conversations


hot, tired, grump seniors Cooling Down Conversations

As we bask in the warmth of summer and the company of our families, it's not uncommon for our partner's actions to stir a sense of unease. Though unsettling, this feeling is something many of us have had. We've all gone through those cycles in our relationships when something is off. It's one thing if these feelings are the result of newer behaviors. It's another when they emerge as a wake-up call that something more significant is afoot. When summer conjures too many negative conversations, it is time to cool them down.


Awareness is crucial in taking the first steps to resolve these feelings. When we can pinpoint the behaviors that trigger our unease, we then can make choices: we can work to mend them, accept them as they are, or change our relationship status. It's crucial to remember that change is always within reach and can pave the way for a more intimate and fulfilling relationship.


One of my clients reported that her campfire stories were revered in the past. Now, her partner turns away, rolls his eyes, and walks away. Their criticism and contempt for her are palpable. She feels angry, hurt, and insecure.


Over time, her suggestions on what to pack for the road trip or where to have dinner soured her conversations quickly. In essence, the majority of her interactions were negative. She felt as though she was drowning in a pool of negativity. In time, she ceased having conversations and dreaded any interactions.


She remembered when they held hands, shared jokes, and showed interest in each other's days. Now, she feels like she's living a parallel life. Her partner is disengaged, and she's lonely and isolated. In a healthy relationship, partners engage, share their thoughts and feelings, and try understanding each other's perspectives.


Last summer, their communications degenerated into pointing out each other's flaws, defending themselves, being sarcastic, and mocking rather than listening. Her opinions and expertise were dismissed. She believed her friend and partner now disliked her womanhood. They both felt as though they were under attack.


Many couples realize during summer vacation that these dysfunctional communication behaviors signal their relationships are ailing. This may be the reason divorce filings spike in August. The end of summer and the start of a new year may prompt individuals to reassess their relationships and decide to file for divorce.


However, it's important to remember that these issues are manageable. While my resolution recommendations are simplified, you can make a significant difference by working together and focusing on increasing positive interactions, replacing criticism with curiosity, taking responsibility instead of being defensive, showing appreciation instead of contempt, and taking breaks instead of stonewalling. Reconnect emotionally by spending quality time together, showing interest, and offering support. Learn how to apologize. Look for the good in each other and give the benefit of the doubt. Take breaks to calm down. Value each other's perspectives and work as a team to accept influence.


By recognizing these signs and addressing them, couples can foster healthier, happier relationships. Please download The Rocky Relationship Cure e-book to repair what isn't working. There are in-depth suggestions on how to fix the common communication problems that, when left unchecked, predict a split. You can find the e-book here.

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