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Time to develop some communication skills

Published May 24, 2014 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Carolyn • 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. 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.

Cycles

Dear Cycles • 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.

Dear Carolyn • Feeling super lousy because my ex, the one I adored so much that I waited around for two years AFTER he said he wasn't sure if he ever wanted to get married, is marrying someone else this weekend (thanks, Facebook!). I know the best plan is to distract myself, but any distraction would feel like a poor consolation prize right now. Is it OK to wallow a little bit? I'm seeing someone, but I'm afraid spending the weekend with him might remind me we're nowhere near where I was with the ex.

Ex

Dear Ex • Yes, wallow, and watch "When Harry Met Sally ... ," which has a satisfying take on the he-balked-at-marrying-and-now-he's-marrying-someone-else phenomenon. And — you don't want to be "⅛any⅜where near where I was with the ex," because it didn't take you anywhere good. Hang in there. He wasn't the guy.

Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.