When It’s Good, It’s Good

Is it really good? I mean that relationship that has just enough spice to keep you hanging on. For example, right now, as you reflect on the good; do the memories bring a smile or  a feeling in the pit of your stomach? Are the good thoughts and feelings also bringing memories of the argument that soon followed?

For many couples the good times are great, so great in fact that the bad times seem, “not so bad.” Interestingly what happens is that our brains focus more on the positive feelings and memories  than the negative ones. This phenomenon is called Inhibition Effectiveness. Simply put the more effectively people inhibit information like choosing between a negative memory and a positive memory. In order to maintain our positive self concept we focus on the positive memories of the past.

Make up sex, gifts, apologies, the exhilaration of the last minute save of the relationship can easily cancel out the criticisms, unfulfilled expectations, devaluing behavior and even physical aggression.

So how do you break the cycle of good is good and bad is really bad? Who are the people when the relationship is really good? Are these individuals the “representatives” or genuine and authentic you and your partner? Do you find that you are more flexible, understanding and accepting during the makeup? Does your partner offer more compliments, encouragement and support?

In my work with couples as a therapist I notice that so often the couples do not know how to make the repair. Instead they experience the roller coaster of good is great and bad is horrible. They learn to avoid high conflict issues and settle on superficial conversation at best.

Here’s a few thoughts…

  1. Remember the positive and the negative events  write down your observations

  2. Think about where on your body you felt the good or the not so good

  3. Think about your emotional connection at the time of memory were you feeling cozy and connected or abandoned and rejected?

  4. Were you and your partner able to discuss and hear each other’s concerns or needs?

  5. Did you reach resolution?

What would happen if the representatives handled the negotiations and the repair? Would you like more information about repair and the dynamics of communication? Follow this blog and upcoming events for couples at Therapy Unchained.com.

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