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Susie and Otto's Love and Relationships Article

A Common Relationship Pitfall and How to Avoid It...
By Susie and Otto Collins

In a love relationship or marriage it is easy to fall into habits over a period of time. You and your partner might settle in to some tendencies that help keep the two of you close and connected.

You might also develop ways of interacting that take you further apart.

One common relationship pitfall is when one person takes out his or her stress, tension and upset on the other person.

This habit of "taking it out" on your partner is not only unfair to the other person, it doesn't help either of you live the thriving and happy lives you want. Additionally, when one person takes it out on the other, the relationship can reflect the tension and strain and disconnection can occur.

There are many potential stresses that might be going on in your life. You might dislike your job, or perhaps you are searching for work and feel afraid of your economic future.

It could be that your relationship with your extended family is difficult and argumentative. There might be unresolved issues from your childhood that make dealing with your family of origin painful and stressed.

It could be that you are unhappy with particular conditions going on in your community or world. You might get angry as you see particular people being treated unfairly because of who they are.

You may worry about the state of the environment, the national economy or wars being waged across the globe.

Many of these stresses are conditions that you cannot directly control. As much as you'd like to have a perfect and easy relationship with your parents, there might be layers of hurt that seem to be standing in the way.

And as delightful as it would be for every person on this planet
to be fed, clothed, treated with respect and living in peace, this is not something you can single-handedly take care of.

It is this sense of displeasing conditions feeling out of your control that might contribute to you lashing out. And the usual target of your lashing out is often the person closest to you-- your mate.

As much as you love this person, your upset with your job, world or whatever is bothering you somehow gets directed at your partner. Of course he or she isn't your father, but you might begin to transfer onto your mate qualities about your father that irritate you.

It's not fair but, on some level, it appears to be "easy." Being able to name your partner as the problem, in some ways, seems to satisfy your sense of powerlessness.

But in reality, this is not an empowering practice. And it surely doesn't allow your relationship to easily move ahead in a direction you want to go!

Recognize when you're taking it out on your partner.
If you'd like to stop your habit of taking out stress and upset on your partner, the first step is to realize when you're doing it. We know, when you feel worked up and intense it can be difficult to notice what you are doing.

Those strong feelings can seem to takeover.

Get into the practice of tuning in to how you're feeling.  Be willing to stop yourself and reflect-- even if you're in the middle of a conversation. Your partner would probably appreciate an interruption to a conversation if it means more ease in your connecting afterwards.

When you are alone, you might consider identifying the main stressors in your life. Ask yourself what you can do to alleviate some of the tension.

For example, you might be able to make requests at work that will make for a more pleasant job experience. You won't know unless you figure out what will help bring you relief and then ask for it.

Make an attitude shift.
Congratulate yourself when you've paused mid-sentence with your mate and realized that you were taking it out on him or her. You might even ask your love to give you a few minutes to make an attitude shift and then return to the conversation.

As you make this attitude shift, remind yourself about what your partner is reasonably responsible for and what he or she is not. Take responsibility for your share in a dynamic as well.

Try to focus your overall attention on how you're feeling and not so much on blaming anybody. You might share how you are feeling with your mate and ask for his or her support as you deal with these emotions.

Solutions and resolutions to even more difficult challenges can be found as you work together supporting one another.

Challenge yourself to find 3 things every day to appreciate about your life and world. You can certainly begin with your partner and your relationship.

The more you can find to appreciate, the more relaxed you will feel. And as you relax into life, you can more easily connect with your love.


Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships, including "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" "No More Jealousy" "Creating Relationship Trust" "Communication Magic" and "Attracting Your Perfect Partner." In addition to having a great relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips newsletter visit or


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