The key to a good relationship is “communication”, we need to “communicate” more – Ok right, but how?
“How can you just bail on our plans last minute?”
I said, my type A personality showing like a sore thumb. I can’t believe we’re fighting about this again.
“Work has been so tough this week – I have a headache and I really just want to spend the day at home”. His introverted home-body personality that I love so much was stabbing me in the back.
When someone hurts you, whether it’s intentional or not, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “he hurt me so I want to hurt him back”.
“Fine, whatever” I said, “You can do whatever you want”. I’ll probably crash at my sister’s tonight, I thought – I won’t even bother coming home, that’ll show him.
That statement above is toxic and has the power to completely destroy a good relationship because that statement is a bold faced lie. It communicates to him “It’s fine that you’re doing this to me” and “i’m not upset about it” which are both the complete opposite of how I feel.
The way I’m speaking to my boyfriend in the above example is not communicating with love, it is communicating with anger, frustration and contempt. Those are negative things that should never be included in a conversation with two people who love each other.
The best way to stop fighting with your partner and starting communicating is by reminding yourself what fuels this fire- it should never be anger and should always be love. This is a sure-fire to make disagreements bring you together rather than pull you apart.
A step by step guide to communicating with love
#1- Decide if it’s worth fighting about
Decide if this is worth fighting about or whether you’re just acting like a bitch. If this is a petty argument that is just not worth it, leave it alone. In this case, it was worth fighting about because it seriously did make me feel like shit.
If this was the first time, I could probably let it slide but this had happened before and actually, it happened often. This one was worth putting on the gloves for but instead of putting on the gloves, I had to communicate my feelings in a healthy way.
#2- Use “I statements” to communicate your feelings
The “I statement” is a popular communication technique that helps articulate your thoughts and feelings without putting blame on the other person. An effective I statement does not use the word “you”.
A bad I statement would be: “I feel upset when you treat me like shit” or “I hate when you do this to me”.
These are personal attacks disguised as I statements and are ineffective ways to communicate. A better way to structure these statement is to remove the “you” part. Try: “It makes me so upset when this happens” or “I feel sad because now I have to go to the party alone”.
#3- Don’t lie
Statements like “I don’t care” or “It’s fine” should only be used if they are true. If he asks you if he can bail on the party to go hang out with his friends and you say “Yeah sure, I don’t care” it better be true or you’re going to fight about it later. If you try to say “Whatever I don’t care” as a way to make him care, that won’t work and is the polar opposite of a statement you should be making
Remember- communicate with love. We don’t lie to people we love, we don’t try to manipulate people we love. We want to help people we love and support them. Even if you disagree with him you want to help him understand your side of the story.
#4- Try to understand his side of the story
He had a busy work week and he has a headache. Staying home and playing video games rather than socializing with my friends totally sounds like a way better option. Of course he wants to do that.
The more you understand the other person’s side of the story, the easier it is to realize that he’s not trying to hurt you. He’s not trying to make you cry or hurt your feelings, he’s just thinking about himself for a moment.
Understanding the other side allows you to compromise. “Ok you’re really tired and not feeling it so why don’t we go for a bit and we can leave early?” Talk it out together and see if you can come up with a solution that you both agree with.
#5- Work together
There are always things you can do to make the situation better.
You have to be a team player and be willing to give a little in order to have a heathy and balanced relationship.
The way I tackled this situation was by saying “I really want you to come with me tonight, we can leave early and I promise not to make such a big deal about this next time”.
That was a great solution for the evening. In order keep this from becoming a recurring argument I did the following things:
-I don’t invite him to things that are totally outside his interests. Beers with our friends at a local pub? He’s invited. Oscar viewing party with all my film friends? He can stay home.
-I make sure to let him know what events are really important to me. Family dinner on Christmas eve? He needs to come.
Putting these things into place completely got rid of this recurring problem that we had. He makes an effort to go to my social events, and I give him a break if he chooses to stay home once in a while.
Why haven’t you followed me on Pinterest? Thank you. You are nice 🙂