Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tell Me About It: Relationship cycles? Not this chaotic

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Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Question: Do relationships go through cycles? Like where they're good and then they go to OK, and then they go back to good? I've been in a relationship with a guy for three years and I'm beginning to notice this pattern. We're good for a while, weeks, months, whatever span of time, and then we have a bigger-than-normal fight, and then we're not so good for a while, but never more than a couple of weeks. Usually we're a little distant for about a week or less. We do have arguments like any other normal couple.

I have noticed that our bigger-than-normal fights usually coincide with other life stressors (school, work, psycho family). After a bigger-than-normal argument recently, I told my mom about this cycling. She told me it's not normal. But I guess seeing how a lot of other things go through cycles, I doubted her judgment and wanted to see what you think.

Answer: Cycles, normal, yes - but extreme ones, no. Responding to stress by erupting into a fight big enough to disrupt your rhythm for days or weeks at a time? That's normal, too, to a degree, but not in a good way and not out of necessity.

Add in the "psycho family," and it sounds as if both of you could use some thought and hard work on the way you communicate, and manage and respond to stress. Deal?

Plus, it's possible you get along well on the surface but have some incompatibilities you ignore, then can't ignore but leave unresolved, then go back to ignoring.

I'm also not a big fan of discounting what Mom says, unless you know she's unreliable or underinformed.


tellme@washpost.com

Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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