Do you want to be happy or do you want to always be right?

Sometimes partners fall into the trap of “sticking to their guns” no matter what out of fear or pride.  But, we can choose to look at things differently, to reframe our position.

We all know that our perception creates our reality.  That’s why two people experiencing the same event have a different take on what happened.  But, we may tend to assume that our perception is the reality when in fact it’s our reality.  Other people involved in the same situation will have a different experience and it will be a different reality for them.

One of the things that we can do is to first acknowledge that our perception is not the reality, that it’s our reality.  Having made that decision, we can then ask ourselves “What’s another way that I can look at this? Is there a way that is more productive that I can look at this?”  We can ask our partner what his or her experience or feeling is and accept that is their reality without blame or judgment.

One thing I find helpful personally is to decide that my first step is to look at myself, not to start out pointing to the other person and going “You caused this. When you do x, you made me feel such and such.” Actually that’s not the reality. What’s real is that when they did x, I made myself feel such and such. The good news here is that when you get in the driver’s seat about your feelings then you can make changes.  You can stop, release blame and assumptions and engage your partner in a productive discussion with the intent of mutually sharing feelings, while individually accepting responsibility.  Then you are positioned  so that together you can create a more loving and fulfilling relationship for both of you.

Posted on December 8, 2013 by Marie Kane 0 Comments Short URL

The important distinction between intention and damage

How do you and your partner handle it when one of you feels injured emotionally by the other?

Sometimes one partner will say he or she didn’t mean to hurt the other and assumes that should take care of things.  But, there is a critical difference between intention and damage.  Not intending to hurt your partner doesn’t clear the issue of whatever damage your partner feels they experienced.  This is true even though we each react to situations because of our own experiences and issues and, in that way, we are each responsible for our feelings.  But, in a partnership, we also have a responsibility to our partner.

When partners don’t acknowledge the impact of their behavior, it’s difficult for the injured party to heal from that hurt or anger and there is a negative impact on trust in the relationship.   It’s important to both clarify intention and address the impact/damage related to your actions.  To acknowledge and apologize and make whatever amends are appropriate for the damage you participated in causing is an important step in healing breaches in the relationship. The good news is that when there was no malice in your intention that absence of malice creates the space for forgiveness.

If your priority is to preserve and strengthen a healthy relationship and intimate connection with your partner then attending to all 3 parts of this is very important.

  • Clarify your intention
  • Acknowledge the damage that occurred and your share of responsibility in it
  • Apologize, make amends

 

When both partners feel wronged this can be especially challenging.  If each partner decides they will focus on the love and care they have for the other and act accordingly, then the chances of working things out is much greater.

It’s very helpful when tension is high and feelings are hurt or partners are angry; to continually go back to the touchstone of what your priority is for the relationship, not just what the issue at hand is.  That will help you approach things with your partner in the most productive way possible and help keep you on track in the midst of a tense situation

Posted on November 22, 2013 by Marie Kane 0 Comments Short URL

Manage what you expect of your romantic relationship and of your partner

Couples are sometimes prone to expect a fairytale “happily ever after” relationship that comes about in some magical way without conscious effort on their part.  But, you know that’s not the reality of a good relationship, let alone a great one.  A great romantic relationship takes work.  It takes both of you being willing to dig into what’s going on with you and your partner and find ways to make things great for both of you.

Sometimes you may have unreasonable expectations of your partner.  One of the most common is to expect your partner to read your mind.  You may feel like if you have to tell your partner what you need and want from them that somehow makes getting it less desirable, less meaningful.  It’s a kind of magical thinking that goes on along the lines of “if he or she really cares about me, they’ll just know what’s important to me and they’ll make sure that they give it to me.”

If you say that out loud, you may realize that it’s unreasonable and unrealistic, but people do sometimes fall prey to it.  Communication is the key.  Everyone has heard this about relationships, but what does it take to put it into practice.  First, determine what your needs and wants are in the relationship.  Ask your partner to do the same.   Then set aside a couple of hours to share your thoughts with each other in a non-blaming way and look for ways you can together create the kind of relationship that meets at the very least the most important needs or wants for each of you.  It’s surprising how easy this sometimes turns out to be once each of you “comes clean” with the other.

 

Posted on November 9, 2013 by Marie Kane 0 Comments Short URL