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Coping with changing relationships

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ATLANTA -

Valentine's Day flowers and chocolates are nice, but what a lot of us want most isn't romance, it's a relationship that can last through anything. But if you and your spouse have grown apart, there may be a way to reconnect.

The challenge of relationships is that we change. So you make a commitment, and then Dr. Mehmet Oz says, about every seven years couples change, sometimes pretty profoundly.
   
We lose weight, gain weight, change jobs, and find new interests. Sometimes we get stuck-in-time, and start taking each other for granted. That's when he says it's time for a little relationship shake-up.

"Men marry the woman, exactly, that they wanted.  And then she changes. And women marry the man they think he can become, and he won't change. So, from the day you get married, you're moving in the wrong direction," said Oz.

To reconnect, Dr. Oz says you need to break out of that stuck-in-time view of your partner.
 
"As soon as you stop taking them for granted, and you've realized how much they've changed, then you can build up short lists, literally 2 or 3 things, the things I think have changed about me that I think you need to recognized, and I want to know the same from you," OZ said.

He calls it getting "comfortable being uncomfortable."

"Probe very superficially into the things you may be doing that bother them.  And usually at the root of those issues, you'll find that one of you changed and the other didn't accommodate," said Oz.

If your partner isn't such a great listener, Dr. Oz says try a different approach.

"So sometimes stopping and saying, ‘I'm going to say something you have to hear.' Most people will listen then," OZ said.

Before you start talking about where you are as a couple, set some rules: no interrupting, and no going on the attack. Dr. Oz says stay focused on your feeling, not what your partner is or isn't doing.

"I can't judge your feelings. I can judge facts, but you're entitled to your feelings. And so if you're expressing feeling and how you feel about something, I have to hear that, as opposed to you criticizing me for not doing something for you," said Oz.

Dr. Oz has been married to his wife Lisa for 28 years. If you go by the seven year rule, that means he's been married to four different women with the same name and social security number. He says he and Lisa sit down every once in a while and write down thing two or three things each other are doing that bother them. He says it helps them get back on track.

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