Is It Time To Talk To My Partner About What’s Bothering Me?
In a relationship when something is not right we have options as to how to handle it. We can avoid it and push away our concern but this usually results in frustration, resentment and a possible angry outburst. We could jump right in and tell our partner how their behavior irritates us but this could result in defensiveness on their part, hurt feelings and more anger. So how do we bring up the things that are bugging us and when is the right time.
You need to be in the right frame of mind. You are ready to share your concern when you can…
- Be clear on what do you want to achieve? Before you approach the other person think about what you want to achieve. The goal is not to always get your way but it can be to come to a solution that will work for both of you. The relationship is more important than getting your way. Get clear in your own head what you want to share.
- Put the problem in front of the two of you. It is something that you are going to work on together. It is not you pointing fingers or blaming.
- Be ready to listen, ask questions and accept that you may not fully understand the issue so you are open to new understanding.
- No shaming or blaming but you can hold each other accountable Be open to owning your own part in the concern.
- Model vulnerability and openness that you would like to see in your partner.
- Be ready to genuinely thank your partner for their efforts and what they do rather than only criticizing them for their failings or picking apart their mistakes.
When you are ready to share the specifics I suggest keeping it simple and concise so that it can be understood and received. State the facts of what is happening and how it is making you feel. It is easy to get sidetracked and bring up the past, other concerns or exaggerate. This is not a good idea, it confuses things and gives opportunity for rebuttal. In the end it is helpful to state what you need from them. Provide a possible solution and then ask “what do you think?”. This way you are not dictating but asking your partner to work with you to find a solution.
Unless you and your spouse change your habits and activities so that they make you both happy, instead of only making one of you happy, you will eventually find that your relationship is broken down.
You are not always going to agree but I want you to respectfully disagree. Try to understand your spouse’s reasoning. Present the information that brought you to your opinion and listen to the information your spouse brings. You are working together to find a solution.
This is not always easy and may take time to learn to communicate in this way but it is worth it. If you need help then give me a call.
Written by Lisa Strong