I get calls where clients are having difficulty with talking to their partners. For example a client told me his dialogue with his partner that went like this, he said, “I don’t want a commitment” and she said, “Well I am not a friend with benefits.” The conversation continues with the lovers hurling clichés and ultimatums between the each other. So are they going to be able to work this out?
What I usually see around these people when reading them are walls. The minute the first ultimatum (I am not going to commit)is tossed out; it is responded to with equal power (I am not friends with benefits). Imagine being in a castle firing at your enemy (who is really your lover), from behind a castle wall. There is no real dialogue. Hurling insults like cannon balls at each other is really your defenses coming out. It creates an atmosphere where your partner raises their defenses also. Nothing is solved. It leaves hurt feelings and misunderstandings.
Communication is the cornerstone of most relationships. The lack of ability to express your feelings and desires to your partner can stifle or even cripple a relationship. The ability to express yourself in a way your partner can understand can forge a relationship of honesty and understanding.
There is truth to the fact, you have to be on the same page when trying to develop a relationship. By the time it gets to hurling insults, is usually more complicated than that. If you have been dating a year, and keep coming back to this topic, you both may need to take a hard look at your romance. However if you are dating and when one of you gets angry, you go back to the same insult over and over, something else is going on.
That is when you need to stop and say, “Look we keep coming to this when we get angry, what is going on with you today?” Then listen and try not to take things personally, but really listen. Then try to compromise on the one issue. I was taught early on in my recovery that relationships are really 50/50 in most industrialized countries. That means I always have a part in an argument, even if it is me having a pity party for one. I am half of the problem. If you were in business and there was a 50% improvement, your company’s growth would be phenomenal. If you want more information on my philosophy on this call me, as I could go on forever on the topic.
An example for the argument above would be, he says, “I don’t want to meet your parents right now.” She says, “Why not, I want them to get to know you. I don’t think that is unreasonable.” He says, “I don’t feel great right now, my job is tenuous, and it just makes me feel more pressured.” They both got to say what they wanted without insulting each other. The door was left open for later and both could relax. One of the things recovery has taught me is that if it is done correctly you can say anything to anyone without insulting them. It is all in the delivery.