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Know What To Talk About

It really is mind blowing isn't it.  You pick your partner and love them for who they are..........I guess.........but pretty soon .............we are noticing all the ways in which they make us uncomfortable. We are asking them to do more, stop that, don't say it that way or do it this way.  
 It is really insanity making especially if you stop sometimes are realize you feel awful when they do it to you.  

All you efforts to share your feelings, make yourself and us better, lead to your partner feeling picked on, nagged and just overly criticized.  Without stopping and taking a hard look at what is going on this can really have a snowball effect of criticize, defend, criticize, defend,............and sometimes

WITHDRAW.

I suppose if our efforts to stop this, change this, talk about this don't go well we can really just wonder, Does my partner even like me anymore? Now we are together, alone.  For most of us this is very sad and so alone.  

The truth is that it is NOT REASONABLE to share your volumes of opinions and thoughts about our "issues" with your partner.  You may be the communicator in the relationship and want to talk a whole lot more.  Let's say you are the high desire partner for communicating.  Well your partner might be the high desire partner for...........now let me think.....hmmmm.....SEX.  You would never let me get away with saying that just because they have a higher desire for sex that they should be able to sex as much as they like, so the same is true for the high desire communicator, they can't just communicate all over the place whenever they want either.  Okay, you get my point.  What I am saying is that there really are some usual and typical issues that couples annoy one another over or irritate one another over.  These don't have to be completely ignored but we really do need to pick our topics with care.  Since we are right in the middle of this it can be hard to know which things to tackle, it really does become dizzying.

The whole reason we are in relationship is to have an intimate partner someone who is special and to whom we feel special.

Let's step back and look at this from a third perspective, not yours, not theirs, as if one person is right, but just from a question of .....

What are we really doing all this for, the complaining and commenting about one another, why can't we let them be?

As mind blowing as it is, talking too much in a relationship is harmful. On the other hand, not talking about the things that are really harmful in a relationship is detrimental and devastating.


Let's take a look at a list of  things that shouldn't be glossed over or swept under the rug.  These are the things that you really do want to address eventually in your relationship or they can be your ruin.


 1. Honesty Between Us and With Ourselves.     Of course no one wants to be bald faced lied to.  I am going to talk about two more subtle forms of dishonesty to begin with.

 a. Repeatedly telling another you love them and put them first but then behaving in ways that are unloving or neglectful.

b. Knowingly committing harmful or offensive acts towards your partner that have shared with you.

Really the harm here is that someone is really asking you to not believe in what you are feeling and even taking it a step further and challenging your sense of reality.  Sometimes it causes use to feel such a sense of disorientation.  We feel unloved and undervalued or even offended, yet someone who you think you love is telling you that this is what loving you looks like.  Such confusion and disorientation can lead to ......

Verbal or Emotional Attack

2.  Intense or Habitual Anger or Defensiveness at each attempt to discuss issues or concerns.  Not annoyance, but the kind of reaction that turns the whole conversation into either a finger pointing back at you or an escalation to the point we are never able to figure out constructive plans to try and make workable attempts to solve things.

This might look like:

a.  overreactions to inquires or preferences and defensive to angry or intimidating overreactions to feedback that shut our partner down.

b. when our partner brings a complaint to use we so react by breaking down or going silent perhaps even becoming enraged to yelling.  The message is it is not okay for you to share any feedback or preferences with me.  In a sense we are being shut out or rebuked for our feelings and attempts to share these with our partners. 

c. Some react by going silent or eggshelling for days or weeks.  Rude or cryptic remarks can come that cut to the heart of the other person with no intent at resolution or collaborations.

Once identified and attempts to pursue discussing these serious personal defense mechanisms is underway it may become painstakingly clear whether you will be able to get very far on your own as a couple.  You may give it a fair shot for a bit, but if no progress is made and as a couple you cannot begin to use simple communicating rules to gain some ground then you may like to get some assistance to break through these patterns to the other side by using a trained couples counselor for just such tough patterns.

 We can always make it our goal to hear everything. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with what someone else is saying. However, we can strive to be open and seek feedback from people we care about and trust, so that they feel comfortable to talk to us about the more difficult subjects.

a.  look for a element of truth in what our partner is saying

b.  think about how their feelings make sense for them

c.  try to see it their way.

d.  own any part of this you can.

If your partner has trouble doing this it is one thing, if they refuse to work on this that is more serious issue to keep an eye on.

and 

3.  Severe "Stubbornness"-Perhaps your partner wasn't always this way, or maybe they were and you thought you could change it.   Rigid patterns of routine and extreme limits on the types of new couples experiences they will engage in.  This can be severe in the area of travel, food, friends, activities, or even engaging in employment.    Our relationships suffer when one or both of us stop being curious to exploring shared interests and activities as partners.  The wanting partner can become angry and isolated and if discussions to broaden our circles or have new adventures, even with a little "a" are refused then trouble can ensue.  You can't force someone to do everything without regard to some preferences, but they cannot take all the choices and leave none for their partner.  

Why being open to trying new things is good for a couple and even better for their relationship.

Falling In Love Again And The Role of New Activities in Keeping Love Alive In Relationships.

Perhaps our troubles start when we believe someone can be everything for us.  The falsehood that if they really knew me I wouldn't have to tell them is realling like believing  that someone will read your mind and you won't have to tell them or remind them.  Perhaps we forget how important it is to be honest about our needs and listen for what we are told their needs are.  In a adult love relationship no one can know without being told or asked directly.  Removing expectations that can be unrealistic goes a long way to allowing both partners room in the relationship.

Often we are not equally matched and one person can out=communicate the other.  Care is taken to move consciously and safely in discussions.  Listening, validating and empathizing skills go a long way.  Discussions and being curious when we are not reactive produce many more opportunities for understanding.

You have had the experience of talking about the same thing again and getting tense and nervous about the outcome.  Your partner feels that too, but it is not unusual to have to talk about the same requests numerous time in the relationship.  As a collaborative team, the expectation is that we will have to fine tune many things together over and over.  If we accept this and are willing to work together we are far less likely to be accused of doing things on purpose or trying to hurt one another.  

It really is important to present our needs, wants and preferences while respecting those of our partner.  It's hard to be so honest and often there just are no win win solutions to easily be had.   Honestly and respect help us through many a tense and frustrating conversation about doing this yet again.

That kind of conversation can lead to a respectful though challenging and unsettling discussion.  That is by far, however, very different type of discussion when compared to not dealing with three of the very serious types of relationship issues form above.

All couples develop their own styles of negative communication patterns, ways they respond or defend that don't really help the couple but serve just to protect themselves.  All of us are working to identify those together and do things differently.  Safe Secure attempts to handle all of life's ongoing and crisis problems will bring a couple even farther.

Couple Patterns Are The Root Of Most Common Couple Problems.

 

Part of moving into the mature part of our love and out of the initial idealistic stages is to do just this.  Remain respectful of yourself as an individual while at the same time affording that same level of respect to your partner for all their styles, perspectives, quirks and challenges.  Doing this helps us create a quality bond that highlights the best in each of us.  Relationships are known for drawing on us and if we rise to the challenge they do make us better for it.  The goal is to work as a collaborative, intimate team in as many areas of our lives as possible.

Mallory and Bob really believe that if only the other would change things would be easier.  It is so common in relationships, I talk about this every week in my office.

Mallory complains, "This has been going on for years".  "I have told her that she is so picky, but if I do it back to her, wow is it a big deal.  It feels so unfair", says Bob.  "He just doesn't listen to me and I do care about more things than he does, does that make me bad?" wonders Mallory.  "It's like he doesn't hear me, or he just keeps doing things on purpose like how I feel doesn't matter".  "She gets to have all these things that bother her but if I disagree or voice a complaint then we have to talk about it for hours and its a big deal, where is the fairness here?"

Most of us remember that we are not the same person and that obviously we have different likes and dislikes.  In reality however, we do end up wanting our partner to change some things, or really needing some things to change to remain in the relationship.  The problem is that HOW we go about deciding what is reasonable to ask of our partner, and WHY we feel we need them to change this really do matter and make all the difference.

No one would disagree with me that it is important to accept anyone you love for who they are.  But, we would have a hard time agreeing on how to go about doing this.  In intimate relationships we are going to have preferences, and differences and since we do care and we are close.

How are we are going to  develop a way or a process for discussing this without hurting and alienating our partner.  You don't feel very willing to listen or consider their input when you are being attacked, blamed, picked on and criticized.  Really when you feel attacked you literally go into "under siege" mode and change is the last thing your brain has any leftover energy for.

How do we go about expressing our needs and preferences in our relationship without tearing down and demeaning our partner.  If we could share our perspective while conveying to our partner they are loved and accepted by us we would be miles ahead of the game and in a loving and connected relationship.

Breath Into A More Relaxed State Of Mind Before Talking To Your Partner

 

lungs illustration

Here is a guide for how to talk to your partner without it turning into criticism and blaming.

Read Here For Healthy Skills To Use To Change Your Negative Patterns.

In order to be a loving partner and maintain our own feelings of interest and attraction, we should have regard for what lights our partner up and matters to him or her. We should see our partner as a whole and separate person who matters to us, independent of our own needs and interests. We can both encourage each other to engage in pursuits that really express who each of us is individually. Whether it’s learning a language, climbing a mountain or writing a book, we can see each other for who we really are and support each other’s unique goals and capabilities. When we give another person this space, regard and respect, we actually draw that person closer to us, as we can both really feel for each other as the true people we are.

For more ideas about serious issues that should not be ignored or avoided read the excerpt from a Facebook Post. Dr Lisa Firestone.

 

 

Many people stay in bad relationships with the desire to change their partner. In Marriage Rules, Dr. Harriet Lerner writes, “If you don’t change your part in a stuck pattern, no change will occur. Change comes from the bottom up: that is from the person who is in the most pain, or who has the least power, or who has lost or compromised too much in the relationship.”

 

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