So, you’ve been in a serious auto accident. There’s so much to deal with – recovering physically, getting your vehicle repaired or replaced, dealing with all of the financial considerations, and the headache and hassle of the insurance companies. One thing that can easily get lost in the shuffle is your relationship with your partner.
Like many other major stressors, personal injury can have a negative effect on personal relationships. Care taking is rewarding (and, of course, necessary), but over time can also feel unfairly taxing. An injured partner will likely start to sense this fairly quickly, causing a potentially problematic dynamic. It is helpful for both partners to keep in mind that they are both burdened by the results of the accident. Uniting against a common challenge is much more constructive than allowing one person to feel like s/he is the problem. Both partners should be allowed to give voice to their complaints without feeling worried about hurting the other person’s feelings—the key is to not make it personal. Don’t say, “This has been a really tough month because we’ve spent so much time dealing with your accident and injuries. Instead, use language that unites you, such as “This has been really tough for both of us, but I know we can get through it together and support each other through it.”
Another important thing to remember is that the best way to get what you need from your partner in any situation is to ask for it, clearly and kindly. Too often, we get caught up in distorted thinking like, “If my partner cares, she will ask me what I need…” or “If my partner really knew me, he would know what I need without my having to ask.” This is totally unproductive and almost guaranteed to result in discord. No matter what, your partner cannot read your mind. So if you’re having a hard time brushing your teeth, say to your partner, “I would love your help brushing my teeth. I can do it myself, but it makes me sore for several hours afterward. Would you help me, please?” This is infinitely better than stubbornly doing it yourself, being in pain afterwards, and silently resenting your partner for not providing help that s/he may not have known you needed.
Finally, try not to get so caught up in the care taking dynamic that you lose sight of the foundational connection that sustains your relationship. Continue to tell each other “I love you,” “You look nice today,” “I appreciated that you…” Everyone thrives on being noticed in a positive way by their partner, and though this may become more challenging in the aftermath of a serious accident, it is still possible and integral to maintaining a healthy connection. Furthermore, if you have been involved in a serious car accident, contact a car accident lawyer Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia trust.
Bethesda Couples Counseling Therapist Lindsey Hoskins shares her thoughts on what you can do to uphold your relationship after being in an accident.