How do you manage differences in your relationship?

It's tricky when the thing that first attracted us to our partner - she's funny and outgoing.... he's thoughtful and kind..... becomes the very thing that can cause problems later on. Five or ten years later, her preference for socializing with large groups of people in noisy gathering places may mean you never agree where you want to go out together anymore. One person's tendency to help out extended family and friends at the drop of a hat may make the other feel that s/he doesn't come first in their partner's list of priorities. Differences are inevitable in relationships, and of course don't have to be problematic, but when my partner behaves differently to the way I feel s/he should, or in a way that I feel is not meeting my needs, it becomes tempting to judge that difference negatively, even to insist that "if only my partner was to become more like me, all would be well"! The answer? It's easier said than done, but having conversations where you can respectfully explore what the differences between you mean for your relationship, in the spirit of curiosity, can create a space where you may be able to negotiate a middle ground that accommodates your differences, rather than having to extinguish them. Maybe it's even possible to remember what you liked about that quality in your partner in the first place!

Till next post, Vivienne

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