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Taking His Measure
Of course, it’s not always you. And if you have a tendency to blame yourself, know this—refusing to call him on his issues won’t help your relationship run more smoothly. You’ll just become a doormat, and that’s never pretty.
First and foremost, flag any expressions of contempt coming from your partner. It sounds like this: Your cooking sucks. That idea is really dumb. “These subtle (and not so subtle) snipes can have an insidious effect,” says Palumbo. “The thing that keeps couples happy and healthy over time is the sense that your feelings matter to your partner,” says Palumbo. A litany of putdowns will destabilize you and quickly erode your sense of well-being.
Also, watch how the relationship is making you feel physically because that can be a sign that your partner is generating strife, says Dr. Michael Aronoff, a professor of psychiatry at New York University Medical Center and a co-host of Doctor Radio on Sirius.
“If your blood pressure starts to go up, you have difficulty sleeping, or see a dramatic change in your appetite, that might mean the other person is really taking a toll on you,” he says. Note the quality of your interactions. Are you sharing true intimacy or just sharing an apartment and a few meals? Look at the emotional undercurrents. Is your partner talking to you about his life? His fears? His dreams? Do you feel the door is open to share yours with him? Or are you essentially roommates who have sex every once in a while? Most importantly, says Palumbo, “has he stopped replenishing the fuel you need to be intimate?” If so, it may be time for a frank talk with him—and a serious assessment of whether his behaviors will change or whether you should move on.