How to Determine if Rocky Shoals May Be Ahead
By Chris Simmons
We’ve all been there. You’re in a great relationship when you realize something has changed. He doesn’t bring you flowers like he used to do. The compliments and sweet words she once spread freely like wildflowers are now as rare as a desert rose. Everything else seems the same but things are definitely different. Is your relationship in trouble? Maybe…
Regarding her previously abundant praise, is she normally stingy with compliments for everyone or are you being singled out? If it’s the former, it could be problematic, although there are techniques to help nurture and guide positive behavior.
However, if he intentionally stopped bringing flowers or she is willfully withholding compliments, you could have a problem. I say “could” because people often withhold or deny taking an action as a passive-aggressive form of rejection. But before arriving at such a conclusion, several issues must be addressed.
- First, you must create a baseline of your SO’s regular behavior and mannerisms. People are creatures of habit, so your partner will display very consistent behavior patterns and a clearly defined collection of “core” mannerisms. Once you’ve created this baseline, think back to when the flowers/compliments/etc ended. A change in behavior reveals that a significant event has occurred (and not necessarily a bad incident, as positive actions can affect the baseline as well). Now determine what unique event(s) occurred during that period. There was a “triggering event(s)” that served as the catalyst for your SO to end their gracious acts. (Remember: A triggering event can be a decision by your SO, but there would still be signs preceding this event).
- As humans, we are predisposed to use verbal and nonverbal messaging to over-communicate everything. We build “communications clusters” around words and their supporting body language and utterances. In essence, you see and hear every message in three ways. (For more on this theme, see: Three Simple Steps to Becoming More Influential – Instantly! Recall the body language and other nonverbals used when your SO showered you with flowers or compliments. Did the entire cluster stop or simply one facet of your SO’s behavior?
- Were the “lost” affirmations replaced by other positive behaviors? If this is the case, your SO may have simply replaced a behavior that was uncomfortable/ unaffordable with deeds that he/she found more palatable.
- Examine your own behavior. Did you send signals that could have been misinterpreted? Did you start taking your SO’s acts for granted or lead him/her to feel that you saw their actions as an expectation or entitlement?
Getting to the truth isn’t easy. It requires careful and consistent attention to your SO as well as a time investment. That said, your SO will tell you EVERYTHING they want, need, and desire. All you need to do is listen to their words and utterances as you watch their body language and behavior. Relationships are living things. Just as a distressed plant shows signs that it’s endangered, so do we. Read the signals all around you. Maybe your relationship isn’t dying – perhaps it just needs a bigger pot, more water, or direct sunlight.