8 Clear Indicators That Your Relationship Is Spinning Out Of Control
Why do we feel unmoored when our relationships become unpredictable?
By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | November 8, 2023
Many people come to therapy when they feel like they're no longer in control of their relationship. They may say things like:
- "I feel like I'm treading on thin ice with my partner. It's so hard to tell where we stand these days."
- "I'm having such a hard time understanding my partner lately. The littlest things seem to set him/her off and we can't even go a day or a week without fighting."
- "I need more predictability in my partnership. Right now, everything feels up in the air and it's driving me crazy."
Humans, by nature, crave predictability. It makes us feel safe and at ease in an unpredictable world. When we feel like we've lost our ability to predict what comes next, especially in our close relationships, we can become anxious, upset, resentful, and even depressed.
Knowing this, psychologists have devised various assessments to test the "locus of control" one experiences in their marriage or partnership. High locus of control relationships, marked by a partner's ability to predict their significant other's response to situations that might arise in the relationship, tend to be associated with healthy relationship outcomes. Low locus of control relationships, on the other hand, can be a sign of trouble.
To know whether you experience a high or low locus of control in your relationship, read the eight statements below and think about how much you agree/disagree with them.
- Difficulties with my partner often start with chance remarks.
- I find that external circumstances like day-to-day events have a considerable influence on how my partner and I get along.
- At times, there just doesn't seem to be any way out of a disagreement with my partner.
- It's often up to my partner to make an argument end peaceably.
- My partner's moods are often mysterious to me in that I have little idea as to what might have set them off.
- I am often at a loss as to what to say or do when I'm in a disagreement with my partner.
- I often find my partner's behavior to be unpredictable.
- Circumstances of one sort or another play a major role in determining whether my relationship functions smoothly.
If you feel like you generally agree with these statements, the locus of control you experience in your relationship might need some fine-tuning. Counseling and couples' therapy is a great place to go for help. It's always better to address these types of issues head-on before they turn into bigger problems.
Additionally, here are three research-back insights that can help you reclaim your sense of control in your relationship.
1. Share Your Concerns
Opening up about your feelings and concerns is crucial. Communication is the foundation of understanding, and expressing your worries can foster a deeper connection with your partner. Share your thoughts on the unpredictability you feel in the relationship and work together to create a more stable and supportive environment.
2. Don't Try To Control Things You Can't Control
Acceptance is key to regaining control. Understand that not everything in a relationship can be controlled or predicted. Focus on the aspects you can influence, such as your communication, behavior and reactions. Letting go of the need to control the uncontrollable can alleviate stress and contribute to a healthier dynamic.
3. Find The Space You Need
Maintaining individual space is essential for a balanced relationship. Discuss with your partner the importance of having personal time and boundaries. Respect each other's need for space, and create a supportive environment where both partners can pursue their interests and maintain a sense of independence.
Addressing locus of control issues in your relationship is crucial for its health and longevity. Seeking professional help and implementing these insights can contribute to a more predictable, stable and fulfilling connection with your partner. Taking proactive steps today can lead to a more harmonious and satisfying relationship tomorrow.
If you'd like to take the Relationship Control Scale cited above and receive your results, you can follow this link: Relationship Control Scale