Is it possible to improve your relationship even if your partner is not interested in couples therapy? Yes! One of the most important skills in long-term relationships is self-awareness – understanding your personal history and the way it affects how you “show up” in intimate relationships. The good news is that self-awareness is like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Keep reading for questions to strengthen your self-awareness:
- What did you learn about relationships from watching your parents or caregivers?
- How did your family balance time together vs. time apart?
- Did your family members demand loyalty and respect, or was it earned?
- How did your parents or caregivers make decisions? How did they handle differences of opinion? Who had the “veto power”?
- What are your strengths and how do they contribute to your relationship? What are your areas for growth and how do they affect your relationship?
- What is your “soft spot” in relationships (e.g., I’m not good enough; I’ll always be alone; No one will ever love me, etc.)? How do you react when you feel this way?
- In times of stress, how do you typically respond? What do you expect from your partner during these times?
I have witnessed the change that happens once clients acknowledge that it is their primary job to focus on their contribution (vs. their partner’s contribution) to relationship problems. When we release our partners from the pressure to be a certain way (and we release ourselves from the pressure to police them), it becomes a lot easier to focus on the task at hand: being curious about who you are and using these insights to figure out what you want out of life.
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