As follow-up to exploring how both partners in a relationship contribute to interaction patterns ("Hands Off"), the following exercises will be most useful if both partners complete and discuss them.
Nonetheless, it's possible for one of you to significantly change your relationship if you think through and write down your responses to the following:
First, What is characteristic of you in regard to intimacy? (a) Think of a recent situation with your partner where your characteristic behavior played out. Run through it mentally from the beginning. (b) Now think of another situation. And another. (c) What do these three situations have in common? What do you notice about yourself and intimacy?
Second, identify ten things that annoy you about your partner. For each, explore: (a) What is your reaction to your partner's behavior? (b) How do you provoke that behavior?
Next, describe five painful situations that have occurred in your relationship: (a) What were the consequences for you? (b) What was your responsibility in each situation?(c) What keeps the situation alive for you (what is the pay-off in the present)? Examples are illusion of control, getting a charge from the anger, not having to face your own fear of intimacy, etc.
Finally, describe ten positive characteristics of your partner and the effect of each on your relationship. Reflect on how you might integrate more gratitude into your relationship and into your life.