When do couples start seeing each other as competitors?
Relationship Therapist Dr Ekrem Çulfa
One of the biggest problems of couple relationships recently is trying to change some partner's habits or behaviors over time. Details that were not considered very important in the early days, become more and more apparent day by day. After the emotional and physical needs that are at the forefront of the beginning of the relations are met, the situations and habits that the individuals are in may cause anger and quarrels between the couples over time. So, what happens to these issues that do not care at first? At the beginning of the relationship, individuals tend to behave and cooperate with each other, but over time, they diminish, even shifting in a serious negative direction, and even power conflicts begin. The reason for the incidents can be explained as the perception of couples' shifting their perceptions to other fields rather than changing their characteristics over time. At the beginning of the relationship, while the person mostly focuses on the positive characteristics of his partner, it can be defined as the fact that over time these are adopted as the behaviors that should already happen, and that the action is taken to correct the features of attention that no longer like attention. We even use the words 'for your good' or 'because I love you' to justify it and try to convince our partner by saying that they are the reason for voicing their mistakes / weaknesses. However, it is almost an approach that does not contribute to the relationship by criticizing, despising, counting its mistakes in the relationship and trying to carry out the relationship in this expectation. Do not be judged. Trying to change the partner can be caused by the anxiety and fears coming from the past, to want to feel safe, the right partner in our mind, the experiences we have experienced in the past, the social beliefs and patterns, the experiences in our family, the protection and the need to protect.
This kind of attitude will trigger the feelings of defense and anger on the other side. It is very important at this point to keep the expectations at a logical level and not to judge our partner. In these cases, it would be beneficial to remain calm instead of quarrels or discussions and to talk openly and clearly. Why does the person who wants change need it? It is necessary to face the reason for its root. At these times, they can transfer energy to more popular characteristics rather than problems. They should realize that this change will occur only when they accept the person as they are. Whatever we resist should also be aware that it will increase. We also have to take into account that when that person changes, there will be no possibility to dislike it since it will not be the same as the person in the early days.
Our partner is not our rival, but our teammate! In this last period, where individuality is at the forefront and short-term relationships are experienced, it is a great virtue to be tolerant towards our partners and to make constructive criticism instead of destructive criticism, even though they have different opinions from us. It is almost impossible to replace someone by devastating criticism and constantly burning. But by encouraging him, we can help him change his various behaviors by supporting him to use his positive and strengths. Accepting, trying to reproduce by looking at the positive aspects of the relationship and focusing on pure love will also help you to get rid of your fears. The only thing we need to be aware of in this process is not to be in a hurry and not to fall into despair immediately. Change and transformation is a process. While change and transformation can be very fast, sometimes it can progress very slowly. The most useful potion is to approach with good intentions and remember that the other person is our teammate, not our opponent. It is the greatest favor we will do to both ourselves and our relationship by expressing the aspects of what we see as missing or wrong with a healthy communication and trying to meet at whatever we can.
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