Charles: I’m just trying to be positive. Working online, again, means that you have global reach and this is important because our views and culture seems to play roles into the relationship dynamic, whether it’s a dating or even a married relationship. From your perspective, what do you see as the number one challenge in relationships?
Dr. Schewitz: You hear it all the time, but communication is the most important thing in relationships. The reason being is that you can bridge any gap with proper communication, whether it is a cultural difference, like you were saying, or a difference in the way that you think a relationship should be and different expectations. All of that can be conveyed and you can come to some sort of resolution or at least understanding through communication. Without a doubt that’s where everything breaks down is when communication stops or when it’s not effective or when it’s just not there, it’s not working.
Charles: One of the things I like about not having a script is it really allows us to go where we want to go in our conversation. In this perspective, what happens when one is willing to make change or be communicative, but the other one doesn’t? How do you deal with that? Sometimes that even means that that person who doesn’t want to learn or improve communication doesn’t want outside help either. How does the other partner, or the other spouse, deal with that?
Dr. Schewitz: It’s actually a really common situation and I would say, I probably seen more individuals than couples in my practice for that very reason. They come to me because they want to work on their relationship, but their partner doesn’t. The important thing is to really want to work on yourself for you whatever happens as a result of that. Whether improving your relationship happens as a result of that or maybe even deciding to leave the relationship if your partner isn’t going to step up to meet you where you’re at, going in with the intention of, “I’m going to do this for me. I’m going to become the person I want to be so that I can be happy regardless of what my partner’s doing,” that’s the attitude you should have going into any type of therapeutic work.
Charles: That there makes perfect sense.
Dr. Schewitz: You don’t want to feel like you’re trying to manipulate or control a partner. Your partner will feel that right off the bat, first of all, so it really needs to be … You need to be unattached to the outcome that happens outside of yourself and really just more in tuned with the outcome within yourself.
Linda: I’m sure when there is that issue in the relationship that other partner builds that wall so they don’t want to discuss anything. The other partner that is willing to go to therapy or learn how to work on themselves or how to, maybe try to fix it, it’s helpful for them to understand but that they’re doing all that they can and this is the reality of the situation.
Dr. Schewitz: A lot of times when you change, you inspire change in others. Again, I don’t love for that to the intention of the work going on, but it is a really great side effect that happens 90 percent of the time.
Linda: We’ve seen couples where the one is working on it and working on themselves and trying to figure things out and then the other one sees everything in the distance and then realizes, “I want that too. I want to have that joy,” or, ” I want what he or she’s doing.” Maybe then will be open to it or want to work on the relationship.
Dr. Schewitz: I’m working with a woman now who I met with her and her husband for the first session, he didn’t want to be a part of therapy. He said, “Okay, fine I’ll go just this one session to see.” She was like, “Okay, well I do because I’m not happy in my own life, even regardless of you.” As she and I have been working together for, probably, four or five months now I’d say, she’s like, “He’s so different. He’s so much nicer. He’s so much more loving. We’re getting along so much better.” You’re doing all that and you’re inspiring … You’re giving him permission to act different because you’re being different.
Linda: That’s really good.
Charles: Very insightful. Does he come, or he only came the one time and doesn’t how up?
Dr. Schewitz: Yeah, he only came the one time. Their relationship is night and day different.
Charles: For all the guys out there, because you know I’m going to talk to the guys because I think I have permission to. Listen, listen to what Dr. Schewitz just said. Think about how you might at least contribute to helping to improve communication. Throwing myself under the bus I can tell you very early on, maybe around year 10, maybe year seven, between seven and 10, brand new babies at the house, more or less, they were toddlers. I was traveling a tremendous amount for work and it seemed like you get into that routine and there was pressure.
I can still remember having coming from a road trip Arizona. Linda seemed to be full of life and energy. I was haggard and beat down and didn’t want to do anything. I made a decision at that point that I need to figure this out, because otherwise to me it seemed like we were going to start drifting apart. That brought us back to a number of things where we gave each other permission to speak truths into our lives even when I didn’t want to hear it. “Why are you being grumpy?” What that looked like was, was she said “Why am I being grumpy?” I wasn’t allowed to, “F U, blah blah blah.” I had to listen to it and think about, okay, how can I change this up? Vice versa, because although you might think Linda has it all together, she’s got a little rough edges here and there that we have to deal with.
Linda: I’m Italian.
Charles: I say this, one of the reasons why Fun Loving Couples exist for Travel, Eating Well, Working Out, Having Fun is because back up a few years ago, here we are almost 25 years married …
Charles: I know it now, I’m just saying back then. See what I mean? Wants to always correct me, anyway.
Dr. Schewitz: That’s a woman’s nature.
Linda: You have get those dates right, right?