When you find yourself struggling in a relationship, one of the first things you find is that you start to complain. Sometimes you complain to your partner. Sometimes you complain to your friends, your family, or even the internet. Complaining is one of the ways we help ourselves feel better.
Yet complaining is often a sign of other problems, and in some cases it may be a sign that there is something in yourself that you have a distaste for – not something in your partner.
How Often We Complain About That Which We Valued Most
As a Long Island couples counselor and psychologist, I often see couples that have complaints about their partner. They may find themselves complaining about issues such as:
- Too Domineering
- Too Socially Active
- Too Relaxed and “Lazy”
These, theoretically, are valid complaints. A person that is too domineering may cause you to feel unequal. A person that is too socially active may not be spending enough time with you. A person that is too relaxed may not help you get things done around the house, etc.
But what I’ve found in my practice is that the issue is actually much more complicated than that. Often the primary complaint of an unhappy partner is directly related to the personality trait that they valued in the first place.
For example, a man may be attracted to a woman because she is skilled socially, and deep down he wanted to be with someone who had that trait. Yet then, when she continues to excel socially, he finds that he is upset with her and resents her for going out, while he has less to do or isn’t participating as much.
Awareness of Our Attractions and Mate Selection
One of the first steps in healing your relationship is being aware of how your own attractions and needs affected your mate selection, and in turn created some of the issues that you struggle with now. This awareness of your own attractions, what they mean for yourself, and the reason that they have affected how you feel about your partner, can help you start to come to terms with your own needs, and remove some of the resentment that you may have at your partner’s actions and behaviors.
If you’re interested in exploring this idea further, I would love to meet with you. I have offices in Garden City and Lawrence, and work with many Long Island residents helping them with their couples counseling and support needs. Please contact me today at (516) 732-0273.