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In Healthy Relationships, couples replace distancing and repetitive unhealthy patterns with healthier patterns that result in greater collaboration and harmony. With new awareness, self correction, and repetition, the new pattern will eventually take hold over time. Some examples of these unhealthy patterns and their healthy alternatives are listed below (this list is by no means definitive):

Wasting energy on trying to change someone else vs. using your energy more efficiently to change yourself for better self care, resulting in greater harmony.

Intolerance of someone's faults vs. accepting them as a package deal, and learning to work around their limitations for better self care.

Projection of your style onto someone vs. accepting another's different style in handling something.

Micromanaging vs. effectively delegating and using a 70/30 equation of expectations.

Being consistently unreliable vs. taking a step back to see if you are spreading yourself too thin and renegotiating a previous commitment or enlisting others' assistance.

Martyring yourself vs. advocating for your needs by finding middle ground.

Coming across entitled to your needs vs. earning your needs through mutual exchange.

Not prioritizing your relationship team vs. setting effective boundaries on team encroachments.

Focusing on the content (what you are talking about) vs. focusing on delivery (how you are saying it).

Blame and defensiveness vs. recognizing joint accountability in any situation.

Criticism and complaining vs. appreciation and proposals.

Lack of transparency vs. unveiling yourself.

Repeatedly getting hurt over expectations vs. factoring someone's history into your expectations.

Frustrating someone by "pulling the finish line" vs. expressing appreciation for what they have done

Failure of empathy vs. putting yourself in the other person's shoes as if you were them (not you).

Dismissal vs. listening and acknowledging.

Attacking each other over a conflict vs. attacking the conflict with options for mutual gain.

Lack of enthusiasm and taking the other person for granted vs. actively expressing how you value the other person.

Falling into parent and child roles resulting in an unbalanced relationship vs. . using your power to level the playing field as two adults for reciprocity and mutual alignment.

Denying your mistakes vs. admitting you are human, taking accountability, and taking active steps to correct it.

Humiliating someone when they make a mistake vs. letting them know about it in a face saving way and encouraging them to recover from the mistake.

Escalating a fight by activley or passively trading blows vs. getting temporary distance and self consoling to begin de-escalating.

Scapegoating each other for relationship problems vs. seeing that any relationship takes two.

Pessimism or putting your head in the sand vs. optimism and confidence, while also acknowledging the challenges.

Striving for control vs. cooperating for mutual gain

Changing A Distancing Pattern - By changing your thinking you will be more better able to stop repeating a distancing pattern by following these steps:

  1. The first step is creating awareness by identifying which learned existing patterns result in discord.

  2. Then, recognize that the pattern is an attempt to either:
    • Meet a need
    • Solve a problem
    • Maintain a familiar role

    Now ask yourself: "What need am I trying to meet, or what problem is this an attempt to solve, or what familiar role does this maintain?"

  3. Once the need, problem to solve, or familiar role is identified, you can find alternative collaborative patterns to attain the same result, where both parties benefit.

  4. Sustainability is achieved by repetition of the new pattern and self correction as the old pattern attempts to emerge.
Being On The Receiving End Of A Distancing Pattern - Propose, to the person using it, that they consider using one of the healthier alternatives listed above. Then ask them what they would need from you, as an assist, so you are both participating in a collaborative way.

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