Mona Barbera
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Do a "Do-Over" and Get Back on Track

One moment everything is fine, and the before you know it you and your partner are angry, arguing, or distant. Sometimes the distance can last for days, and you both end up lonely and disappointed. Learn to do a "do-over" and stop this nasty experience in its tracks!

Either of you can call for a do-over any time. If you are the one calling for a do-over here's what to do:

1. Drop your own angry, blaming, arguing attitude or agenda.
2. Request - don't demand - a do-over.
3. Don't get mad or impatient if your partner isn't ready to do it.
4. If your partner agrees, start at whatever beginning you both agree on. Don't be surprised if your partner thinks the problem started earlier than you thought.
5. Respond to your partner's comments differently than you did before. Try to be curious, calm, connected, truthful, light-hearted, and compassionate. Try not to be attacking, argumentative, blaming, convinced, or moralistic.

Like most of the great things in life, this method is simple but not easy. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

1. Before you call for a do-over, pay attention to your own state of mind. Are you locked into some angry, score-keeping, arguing, moralizing points of view? Sit with them for a minute and listen in to them. There is probably a whole dialogue going on inside your head, all having to do with how wrong and bad your partner is.

2. Just listen a while to the dialogue - don't try to change it. Trying to change it might work for a short period of time, but it is not a long-lasting solution. Strangely, it works better to listen and understand the blaming thoughts you have.

3. Maybe some doors will open inside you and you'll find out that the strength of your anger has something to do with your own past. Recognize it. See if it calms down.

4. Resolve to give better back when you do the do-over. Even if you think your partner is irritable, unfair, or critical, do better than that. Be curious, calm, and connected - you'll get better responses and you'll feel better inside yourself.



Mona Barbara Photo Mona Barbera
Dr. Mona is a psychologist, couples therapist, couples workshop leader, speaker, and the author of Bring Yourself to Love: How Couples Can Turn Disconnection into Intimacy.
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