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Is Negativity Hurting Your Relationship? Ways to Be More Positive

by Sheri Stritof (adapted)

Negativity can come in the form of cynicism, criticism, whining, attacking, pessimism, discontent, perfectionism, and hyperintensity. All of these behaviors can push people away, including your partner.

“Research indicates you can get mad as hell or avoid conflict altogether. But the positivity must outweigh the negativity by five to one.”
Source: John Gottman, Nan Silver. “What Makes Marriage Work?” PsychologyToday.com.

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Do you find yourself in a bad mood on a regular basis? Do you dwell on bad things or painful memories?
  • Are you critical of everyone in your life? Do you look at incidents and events from a negative perspective?
  • Are you a perfectionist? If someone says, “Good Morning”, do you wonder what’s good about it?
  • Are you quick to say “No” and rarely say “Yes” to requests from your partner or kids?

If you answer yes to most of these questions, your negative personality could be having a harmful impact on your relationship.

Change Your Pattern of Negativity

If you are chronically negative, you can change your pattern of negative thinking. But you have to want to make this change. Here are some things you can do to be more positive:

  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Be more accepting.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Be willing to forgive both yourself and your partner.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Exercise.
  • Do something each day to make you smile. Keep this simple, like listening to a favorite song, spending time on a creative hobby, watching a funny video, or taking a bubble bath.
  • When you feel a negative response entering your mind, question it. Force yourself to think of something positive instead.
  • Volunteer your time and do something for others.
  • Stay in contact with positive people.
  • Remind yourself of things you are thankful for.
  • Honestly compliment your spouse whenever an appropriate opportunity, such as successfully completing a difficult work project, presents itself.

Help Your Negative Partner

If you are in relationship with a negative personality, you are not responsible for making him/her feel better. However, here are some things you can do to help your partner be more positive:

  • Do not take the negativity personally.
  • Remember that the negativity is your partner’s problem, not yours.
  • If your partner rejects your offers of help, don’t over react.
  • Spend time with positive folks. You will need some time off from your partner’s negativity.
  • Invite your partner to take a walk with you at least once a week.
  • Acknowledge your mate’s positive accomplishments.
  • Encourage your partner to try new things.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “Enough!” and change the subject to something more positive.
  • Be open to seeking professional help.