Managing Relationship Roller Coasters

October 7, 2015

 

A roller coaster ride is a fully absorbing experience!  All our attention is focused on the precipitous drop ahead, the gathering speed, the sense of no control and not knowing what is coming next.  That makes for a fun and exhilarating carnival ride, but it sure is a hard way to live in a relationship!

 

The inevitable ups and downs of relationship roller coasters can be mild and predictable or they can be unforeseen, escalate quickly and feel uncontrollable or scary.

 

Contrary to what many believe (or wish), a healthy couple relationship is not one without conflict.  In fact, the ability to anticipate and manage conflict, repair hurt feelings and improve emotional connection after difficult times points to a resilient relationship with long-term potential for success and satisfaction.

 

When couples struggle, they are usually stuck in a repetitive cycle of negative interactions that moves in and seems to take over their relationship.  One pursues, criticizes or protests, and the other defends, justifies, or retreats into silence.  However it goes, once the couple is in the cycle – on the roller coaster – stopping it can be difficult. 

 

Negative cycles like this occur in every couple relationship. 

 

Fortunately, when we slow the relationship roller coaster down we can see the pattern of interactions.  We can track each move and identify the emotions, thoughts and unspoken needs that drive it.  The more we understand how and why it works, the more we are able to change it.   

 

Northern Illinois Men's Counseling helps couples identify, understand and change negative "roller coaster" cycles of conflict.  Call or email for more information or use the on-line scheduling system to select and schedule an appointment time without having to play "phone tag."

 

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