From Strong to Disconnected: 3 Common Withdrawals Couple Make in Their Relationship
Relationships are in a continual state of flux, either growing in strength and connection or weakening and increasing in the distance. Empowered Couples focus on implementing the Same Team Mindset to keep their relationship on-track and work as a team to overcome obstacles and stressors. Couples that do this increase the balance in their Relational Bank Account by making regular deposits and limiting withdrawals.
However, we are all human and there are things we might do regularly that, without always knowing it, make withdrawals from our relationships. A few of these withdrawals over time will not be overly dangerous, especially if both partners are consistently making deposits. If we keep these behaviors as regular parts of our relationship though, they will slowly erode our Same Team Mindset and open the door to the Opposite Team Mindset. They will take from the quality and strength of the relationship.
While all relationships are going to have withdrawals from time to time, the withdrawals that are the focus of this post are ones we can do something about because they do not even need to be there in the first place! This post hopes to get you and your partner thinking about these behaviors to see if they are part of your relationship. If they are, do something about it before they become destructive!
Distance in couples changes the way they communicate, perceive, and respond to one another. Empowered Couples seek to limit distance while focusing on strengthening their connection. To help do this, they actively search for the following three common withdrawals and put in plans to keep them out of their relationship. Some of these withdrawals may create strong reactions inside you. Remember, these are common withdrawals, a lot of us have done them. Now it is time to do something about it!
Withdrawal #1: Pinning Negativity on Their Partner
Enduring relationships are not without their struggles. There will be times of negativity and challenges, and it is what we do in those times that matter. When we are stressed and feeling at our wit's end, this is when we tend to make a common withdrawal from our relationship. This withdrawal comes in the form of us focusing only on the negative in our relationship and our partner.
When the challenges come, we tend not to express our expectations or desires as well as we think we are. Thus, when our partner does not do what we were hoping they would, we begin to get frustrated. The more this frustration sets in, the more focused we get on the negativity. We start to overlook the things our partner is doing and over-emphasize what they are not doing.
When we start to see our partner in this way, it changes the way we interact with them. We become overly critical, looking for small flaws as evidence of our view while discarding contradicting information. It is crazy how easy this is to do when we are stressed out or our relationship doesn’t feel like it has a steady flow going.
To combat this, make sure to take some time to slow down and pause. If you catch yourself constantly blaming your partner, whether verbally or in your head, it’s time to slow down and pause. Make sure to find five things that your partner is currently doing that is positive to the relationship. When we allow ourselves to go on automatic pilot while we are stressed, emotional and worn out, we have the chance to do a lot of damage to the relationship. Don’t give in to this common withdrawal!
Withdrawal #2: Overly Focusing on You and Magnifying What You Do
In ways, this withdrawal can be connected to the first one. If we are in the mode of blaming our partner or focusing on what they are not doing, chances are we are giving ourselves more credit while overlooking where we are falling short. This means we might be making two withdrawals at once that do not even need to be there in the first place! Double ouch!
The truth is when we are stressed out and our relationship feels strained, we need to come together as a couple, we need to rely on the Same Team Mindset even more. However, what we tend to do, is magnify what we are doing positively while minimizing what our partners do. Got to love that stress reaction, right? Unfortunately, this creates wounds in the relationship and makes withdrawals from our balance.
A phenomenon growing more common as well in relationships is people focusing more on themselves than the relationship. Empowered relationships are a healthy balance between individual and couple development. However, just like a teeter-totter, too much of one thing tips the whole thing. When we are overly focused on our needs, wants, hopes, goals and dreams, we will neglect our partner and the relationship. This opens the door to once again magnifying what we do and overlooking what they do.
Humility and accountability on our part are some of the best ways to overcome this common withdrawal. If it becomes all about us, we need to have the awareness to recognize it, the accountability to own it, and the humility to do something about it. Our relationships are a chance for both people to gain meaning and value for their life, not just one. Turn to the power of the Same Team Mindset to start working as a team and recognize each other’s unique contributions and strengths rather than focus on the negativity.
Withdrawal #3: Technology: Phones and Video Games
A hot-button topic in relationships today, especially amongst the younger generation, is technology. Our world relies on technology. We have cell phones to check emails, texts, social media and whatever else we want on the internet. There has also been a huge uptick in the amount of time spent on video games as they have become more immersive and online. While there are awesome benefits to technology, there have been some negative consequences to it on relationships.
Recent data collected on technology use has shown that we spend a lot of time interacting with our screens and less time interacting with people around us. This has created tension and disconnect in relationships, especially if one partner’s technology use is much higher than the others. The more often we focus on our screen the less attention we can give our partners. Disconnect in relationships from technology is a growing problem and one we can do something about.
Most of us use technology as a way to unwind or be virtually social. However, we need to keep our partner a priority in life, especially if we want them to keep us a priority as well! Our world is reliant on technology, and it would be foolish to say that you need to stop completely if you want your relationship to be strong. However, it would be wise to make sure that there are mutually agreed upon boundaries with technology use.
The boundaries put in place will be unique to your relationship. Using the Same Team Mindset allows you to work together to find solutions that will work to benefit both individuals and the relationship as a whole. Some solutions that Empowered Couples have used are:
Cutting down on usage time
Technology use only in certain rooms
No phones visible while having conversations
Playing a video game together to use technology as a way to connect
Disconnecting for 1-2 nights a week
These are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Work with your partner to create the solution that your relationship needs. This is a common withdrawal that you can easily do something about to improve your relationship. A night here and there of tech use will not destroy your relationship; however, the more this becomes the pattern, the more devastating it can become. When we do not regularly interact and communicate and keep our focus locked on a screen, we begin to wonder who our partner has changed in to from what they once were. Dangerous territory indeed!
Empowered Couples recognize that it is natural for relationships to have ups and downs. Drawing on the power of the Same Team Mindset, they work together to make deposits to strengthen their connection actively. This keeps the relationship strong, even when life throws its usual curveballs. These couples also seek out where they might be making withdrawals that can be prevented, and stop doing them. It takes work to build an empowered relationship, and it will be an investment that both you and your partner will celebrate again and again!