As couples therapists, we help you and your partner break down common, habitual interaction patterns and develop new, healthier ones.
In Episode 2, Stephanie and Jeremiah broke down a common cycle between criticism and defensiveness. If I criticize my partner for her tardiness or for not helping me with a task, I can be fairly sure that I can expect a defensive response.
While we have some couples who immediately begin criticizing each other, most couples don't start there. The beginning of the negative interaction cycle is more subtle.
Partner 1: How are you doing?
Partner 2: I'm fine.
Partner 1: (with a bit more edge in voice) No really, how are you doing? You look mad.
Partner 2: (with a bit more edge in voice) I said I'm fine.
Partner 1: (with more animation) Why do you always have to yell at me?
Partner 2: (with more animation) I'm not yelling at you.
And off we go.
Partner 1 in this situation wants to connect with Partner 2 and seems to feel fairly anxious around their inability to check in. The more anxious Partner 1 gets, the more they start to pursue Partner 2, which creates anxiety for Partner 2, who begins to distance, withholding information from Partner 1, causing Partner 1 to want to pursue more.
In Episode 3 of Under the Covers, Stephanie and Jeremiah break down this dance between pursuing and distancing. They discuss the strong emotional needs that may keep partners in the pursue-distance dance, and explore ways of effectively creating new dance steps.
Check out all 3 episodes of Under the Covers on Soundcloud.