Are you stressing because your partner has thrown around words like divorce, break up, trial separation, maybe we should see other people, I’m just not happy or I need to take a break?
Well, the cavalry is here! I’ve got you! What can or should you be doing if your partner is making threats and telling you they’re unhappy?
Today I’m going to teach you
- The four things to look out for that might mean your partner is serious and not just making a threat.
- And then we’re diving deep into the three things you need to know, and the three things you can do, to turn your relationship around.
- I’ve also got one of my amazing gifts for you that’s really going to help you create a loving, connected relationship.
How do you know if your partner is making a threat or if they’re really serious about ending the relationship? In the last 30+ years I’ve seen it all and I’ve identified four things, I call them the four C’s, that will likely tell you if it’s really too late to save things.
1. The first C is Commitment elsewhere
If your partner is fully committed to another person and making a threat to leave you, it’s probably real. I’m talking about if your partner is leaving you to be with someone else, if they’re planning to move in with them or have a child with them. Your partner having an affair or having cheated on you does not equal a commitment to someone else. I’m talking about a situation where they’re planning to make this person their permanent person, not a fling. If that’s happening, you’ve got trouble.
2. The second C is Contact
If there’s no contact at all you can’t do what’s needed to make the relationship work. If you’re living apart to “try out living separately,” but don’t have any time together, you can’t work on things. Or, if you live together but never see each other or are avoiding one another at all costs, it’s a problem. You’ve got to spend time together if you want things to work. I’m not talking about some big date night. Just the opposite, I’m talking about the daily interactions where you can build connection. These are the microconnections that make or break relationships.
I say all the time that great relationships aren’t built in a day, great relationships are built daily. If you don’t have daily interactions, you’re likely on a downward slide towards not being together. So, if you really want this to work, you’re going to need to figure out a way to have more interaction.
3. The third C is Contempt
Famous marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman has been studying couples in his marriage lab for decades and he’s found that contempt is the single greatest predictor of divorce.
Contempt isn’t just criticism, it’s something deeper. While criticism attacks your character, contempt is all about your partner feeling superior to you. Contempt isn’t just an exasperated partner saying they’re sick of something you’re doing. Contempt is mean. If your partner has been treating you with disrespect, is continually sarcastic or ridicules you, if they mock you, call you names, or you’re getting eyerolls, you’re in some trouble here. If you feel worthless or detested in your relationship, then contempt has entered the building and you might have trouble moving past it.
Of course, my obvious question would be: why the hell do you want to stay in this relationship where you’re getting treated like this?! You’ve got to work on building your self-confidence and self-esteem now and focus on the relationship later.
4. The Fourth C is Confusion
Mainly, I don’t want you to confuse words and action. Your partner telling you they want a divorce or to break up is one thing, but what action have they taken? Have they met with a lawyer, moved out, frozen your bank accounts? The more action they’ve already taken, the worse off the situation is. But, if they’re just giving you the words, even if they’ve been doing it for a long time, but they haven’t actually done anything about it, you’re better off than you think. By giving you these warnings, your partner’s telling you they’re looking for you to do something to make them feel better and more connected so they can stay in the relationship! It’s kind of like a dog growling at you before it bites. The warning is there, now what are you going to do with it?
And this brings me right to the good stuff. What can or should you be doing if your partner is making threats and telling you they’re unhappy?
I’m someone who’s seen major turnarounds (some have called them miracles) in relationships! Believe it or not, it’s not as hard as you might think to turn this ship around. It’s all about having a new way of viewing your relationship and understanding what’s really happening so you can take action to really change things.
The three things you need to know:
1. See this as an opportunity – you can’t be happy either! There’s no way your partner is threatening leaving and you’re feeling happy in the relationship. The only difference is that they’re saying it and sounding the alarm! And here’s what’s more: they’ve likely been telling you for awhile that they’re unhappy or making threats but, nothing has changed in the long-term so they keep threatening.
2. The one in the most pain needs to change first. If you’re reading this, and your partner isn’t, then you’re the one in the most pain! If your partner is walking out the door and you don’t want them to, then you’re the one in the most pain and you need to start making changes first.
3. Last, but really the most important is to know this: Your partner isn’t looking for a way out, they’re looking for a way in. They wouldn’t be saying this out loud if they didn’t want to figure out a way to fix it – they’d just be gone! They’re letting you know that they’re frustrated and scared themselves and have no clue what to do. Likely they think that you’re the one who needs to change for them to be happy. This is just as bad as you thinking it’s them who needs to change for you to be happy (I see you)! This is relationship gridlock and nothing’s moving!
The Three Things You Need to Do:
1. t’s time to stop focusing on them and what they’re doing and focus completely on you and what you’re I know it can be really hard to stop focusing on your partner but this is all about you right now. Remember, the one in the most pain needs to change first: that’s you. Every time you catch yourself thinking about your partner and what they should do – turn it around and focus on yourself and what you can do.
2. You need to connect, before you correct. So many couples are looking to fix problems but there’s no connection there so your partner isn’t motivated to work on anything. For what? For you to nag them? For you to be cold and withholding? Why bother? You need to work on creating connection with your partner before you try to do any correcting or fixing in the relationship. You need to start from strength and build from there. You want to work on your microconnections and your mood and actions day-to-day. Have urgency and keep this as a priority.
3. Be the person you want to see in the relationship. Why would your partner want to come back if you’re acting rageful, clingy or critical? It’s time to be loving, warm, appreciative and open. You need to create an environment of love. Don’t think to yourself, I’ll do this for a week and see if anything changes. You’ve got to be all in with full love and commitment. Hold your boundaries but do it from a loving heart.
This isn’t about kissing their ass and doing anything they ask to make them happy. That’s from fear and not healthy. I’m talking about finding a loving heart for them every day. I’m talking about getting past your own pain of feeling rejected or abandoned and remembering that they’re looking for a way to you, not away from you so there’s really no reason to feel this way!
My suggestion is to start practicing loving-kindness meditation on the daily. Now stop rolling your eyes and telling me “I can’t meditate” because I’m going to make it SUPER easy for you and give you a link to a free gift to make this a no-brainer that’ll only take a few minutes of your time a day.
But first, let me explain a bit about what loving-kindness meditation really is and why it’s a research-backed, seriously effective tool for not just a kick-ass relationship, but a kick-ass life!
Basically, any Loving Kindness meditation focuses on developing feelings of compassion, love, kindness and warmth towards yourself and other people.
Research shows that Loving Kindness Meditation has a HUGE amount of benefits!
- It decreases negative emotions and increases positive ones!
- It increases feelings of social connection and decreases loneliness!
- It’s effective even in small doses; research shows you can literally do just a 10-minute meditation and feel more connected and happier.
- It helps you shut off the negative voice in your head and reduce self-criticism as well as depressive symptoms.
- It increases your compassion and empathy for yourself and others.
- And it’s even been shown to decrease migraines and chronic pain!