Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Dr. Linda, I Was Nice, But It Didn’t Seem to Matter

posted by Linda Mintle

unsure coupleCouples come in to therapy with this complaint. “I did nice things for my spouse, but it doesn’t seem to matter. She doesn’t even notice. I don’t get it.”

Honestly, they usually don’t get it. They fail to see that all the negativity of the relationship sort of cancels out the good when it happens. I know that doesn’t sound fair, but an on-going negative relationship depletes the positives over time.

For example, in an overall positive relationship, if a husband comes home and forgets to bring the bread for dinner, the wife would probably think,
“Oh, he must have had a lot on his mind and just forgot. No worries. We can do without bread.”

But if that same relationship is already very negative and the same thing happened, the wife would think, “See, he only thinks of himself. I can’t depend on him.”

In fact, research tells us that 50% of positive gestures go unrecognized in couples characterized by negativity. The reason–there is too much negativity in the bank. Even neutral actions are seen as negative.

So what can you do?

Go back to the basics. Work on the marital friendship, show admiration and respect for your partner, and most of all, be there when he or she tries to connect with you. The challenge is to deposit  positives into that emotional bank account. Over time, you can turn it around. But you have to be intentional. Keep down the criticism, defensiveness and disrespect towards one another. Don’t turn away when frustrated. Stay in the interaction, calm yourself and talk. Point out the positives about each other. Remember why you got together in the first place and try to recapture some of that good feeling!

 



Previous Posts

Mean Girls or Is It Mean Boys?
Perhaps you've seen the movie Mean Girls. If so, you remember the popular clique of girls who ruled the social scene by backstabbing and being verbally mean to anyone they didn't like. The movie reminds most of us of those one or two girls in middle school who could use their verbal aggression to

posted 6:58:47am Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Could Visualizing Food Make You Eat Less?
You are on your way to work and feel hungry. The morning rush caused you to skip breakfast. You pass the bakery as you walk to your office. The smell of freshly baked croissants is tempting. As you look in the window, those croissants are lined up in a row, oozing with chocolate and inviting yo

posted 6:00:56am Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Treating Binge Eating With Medication?
Every day Sally vows she will not eat herself sick. But today is no different. She is distressed, eating past full and feeling as if she has no control. Sally suffers from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) which has been recognized as a psychiatric disorder. To date, there are no medications approved f

posted 6:00:35am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Is Binge Drinking Just College Fun?
In the throws of January, college students begin dreaming about Spring Break. Those plans often include partying on a beach with nonstop drinking. Binge drinking is "a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for w

posted 6:00:57am Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Does the Cold Make You Catch a Cold?
My mom used to tell me to put a hat on my baby when the weather was cold. I used to argue, "Mom, babies don't catch colds from the cold. They get them from viruses. I'm not putting a hat on the baby." But now it seems that my mom could have been on to something. Could the cold weather actually p

posted 6:00:36am Jan. 21, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.