Why You Need To Find That Rug You Swept That Problem Under And Deal With It NOW
You know that issue you've been holding on to? You know, the one you don't want to bring up because things have been going so well lately and you don't want to rock the boat?
Or the one you've been holding onto it because you fear if you bring it up you'll be seen as a nag? Or even the one you just deal with because you really just don't feel like 'analyzing' things and making them complicated?
Yea, that's the one I'm talking about. You’ve got to pull it out from whatever rug you've swept it under and deal with it right now.
Why can't it wait until a better time to address is comes along, you might ask?
What you're not realizing is that when you let those issues fester, underneath the surface your intimacy begins to slowly [or maybe even quickly] deteriorate.
Time and time again, I get calls from folks asking for help with their relationship when it's too late. They often call when things have gotten to the point where their partner is fed up and leaves or starts planning to leave. It’s only at the point where they’re losing it that they want to deal with it.
What happens between the moment you become aware of the issue and the moment where it's too late to fix it? Well, according to Dr. Barbara De Angelis, couples go through what she calls the "four stages of deterioration of intimacy" when they let problems go unresolved.
When The Intimacy Deteriorates
The first stage is Resistance. When you're in this stage, it simply means you've noticed an issue you're uncomfortable with. It could be that he didn't pick up the groceries for dinner like you both agreed he would. Or it could be that moment she jokingly let your friends in on something you trusted her to keep between the two of you.
What many people do at this point is to try and simply ignore the situation with the idea that it's not a big deal. Or maybe you rationalize it by telling yourself that no one's perfect and we all make mistakes.
At this point, you have a choice. Ignoring it isn't your only choice. At the point of resistance, you have an opportunity to speak up and let your mate know how what they did made you feel. You can use this moment to find a solution to the issue that works for you both.
Resentment & Rejection
If you choose not to address it, it eventually leads to Resentment and Rejection. The resentment stage take place when the feeling of being annoyed turns to a feeling of anger and frustration with your partner or relationship. The rejection stage is when you begin to act out on those feelings of anger.
It's when you begin fighting about the situation. Lashing out about everything that reminds you of why you're upset. You might even be threatening to leave at this point. Anything to get the feelings out you've been harboring all this time.
But that's not the worst part.
The worst part is the last phase. If, after all the stress and drama you've experienced, you still haven't come forth and told the truth about how you really feel to your mate, you'll begin to check out. This phase is called Repression.
You're sick and tired of being sick and tired and you want nothing to do with the emotional roller coaster you've been on. So you begin to numb your emotions. At this point, it's just not worth it anymore.
This is when couples start to feel more like roomates than romantic partners. This is also the point when it's often too late to save the relationship.
Once you've checked out, it's just not worth going through anymore emotionally to fix it. It's why you hear so many stories about that person who's trying to get their partner back, but their partner or ex-partner isn't even giving them the time of day.
But that doesn't mean you can't prevent your relationship from getting to this point. This is why you need to go find whatever rug you swept that problem under and bring it to the table for you and your mate to deal with right away.
Deal With It
Deal with the problem while it’s still at the first stage. While it’s still small enough to handle without turning into a major problem.
Get into the habit of opening up with your mate--even about the small stuff--and being receptive to them when they want to bring something up as well. Don’t be so afraid to protect your mate's feelings that you hinder the progress and growth of your relationship.
Keep in mind that your relationship is about "us", not just you anymore. Remember that how you handle what happens in your own head influences the overall relationship. Get into the habit of sharing what’s on your mind, instead of letting it linger until that molehill of an issue turns into a mountain.