There are a lot of things that effect us in a relationship, but we tend to think it is solely the other person’s behaviour, and while someone’s actions may have an effect on us, it ultimately is our choice in reaction. But many of these reactions are habit, things picked up along the way, left unchecked… becoming every bit a part of us as breathing. However, you would die if you stopped breathing, you would not if you stopped yelling.
I wrote a blog about the only two parts of a relationship that dictated all else, sex and communication. In summary, where one fails the other follows and then the cause and effect cycle occur. Communication is about telling, listening, hearing, being heard, empathizing, understanding and keeping focused on the issue. I know sometimes I get defensive, part of it is not because I am perfect; no… part of it is because of my beliefs, lacking the other point of view, or being unmovable in my beliefs. Moments like that require compromise, but before I can even get there I need to hear her and address the feelings.
Its not a perfect talk when Mony and I argue, it takes a bit to get to that place to put the positive behaviour into action, the results are always her and I being better for it, resolving the issue or compromising and finding a middle ground we can both live with. However, before we could ever get this far, we had to stop living in a place of reaction (we still react, but less each time) and the only way to react differently is to stop pointing fingers at the “why” we reacted, and look within to change the bad behaviour.
Mony and I both, back a year ago, were behaving as if we were the very people that abused us, disrespected us and betrayed us…we both knew in that first week that we were not these people, and we genuinely didn’t want to react as if we were dealing with them. We tried, but those initial fights, insecurities, doubts… all the negative that was fueld by bad habits and old reactions, were surfacing…until one day Mony yelled ‘stop treating me like someone else!’ And that was when the real exercise in trying to change started for me.
I ultimately did the same with her one day, don’t treat me like everyone else. And from there began to find once I was reminding her, and we were discussing old reactions, that it became easier to get through those initial knee jerk responses. What I also noticed was it became easier for Mony to begin shedding the self doubt that was blocking her from truly believing all the things I said about her great qualities, her talent and of course how much I want her and only her. It also has been easier to talk, as well as to fight because we are both looking inward and working to effectuate personal change.
Why would anyone want to change? Because, happiness is far more important than ego. However you must want to make self change. One thing you need to do is stop trying to change your partner, stop trying to “shove” “your” way or preference down their throat. The minute you stop trying to change them, but rather suggest, teach, introduce and let them make their own choices about your likes (for example) you will begin to see a more positive and happy response… and more willingness.
There are steps to personal change…and the work well with communication…step one…listen. That is a simple exercise, just listen. Take a break and go be pissed off by yourself, then think about it. Here’s the hard part… after you just got told that your partner is unhappy because they haven’t had a vaction with you for years. Just listen, and when all the reasons start filling your head that you want to blurt out… just say (through gritted teeth if you must), I hear ya babe, back in an hour. And leave. Go tell yourself all the reasons, go bitch in private about how ungrateful they are, or spoiled or whatever… but go get rid of it and after you’ve had this great conversation with yourself, think about how much you could use a week in Wally World.
Go back, tell your partner you understand and need a break to… from that moment, your partner and you will be on the same side and will be able to work through the why’s together… you may even make it to Wally World.
Here’s an exercise that might help to get you started… think about something during sex you have been opposed to trying… something small that won’t bruise your ego. Broach it with your partner and ask them what they think… please avoid talks of roman orgies… start small, say watching porn before you do it… or maybe just doing it somewhere els in the house…make it fun, get excited over it, explain what you expect and why you avoid it… if nothing else you open up communictation and talked about something you have avoided. Tell your partner you want to talk and ask them to just listen…then broach it. If your partner ridicules you or makes fun of you, or puts up a fight…send them to my blog and tell them to just read it…
Start small, change within will have a posotive effect everywhere.