When you’re with someone who isn’t all that great with relationships, life can sometimes be a real challenge.
You try and try and they just can’t seem to get it.
They just can’t seem to figure out how to be a better partner, a better lover, a better communicator and someone you really connect with even though you might love each other on many levels.
For example, take Becky and Randy (not their real names) that Otto talked with recently…
Randy, by his own admission, said that he was “a little slow” when it came to relationships.
He said that he had just not really had a good example in his life of how to have a healthy, close, loving relationship before.
What’s worse was he didn’t feel very confident that he could do what Becky was asking him to do–which was simply to open his heart and love her.
He didn’t know what that meant.
Every time he tried to do something to please her, he felt like she was just shutting him down, making him wrong and not telling him or helping him to see how he could be a better husband and father to their young child.
Instead, he felt emotionally and verbally beat up most of the time and he didn’t know how to fix it.
Becky felt that if he really loved her, he would know what to do to please her and that she shouldn’t have to tell him what to do to make her happy.
Sometimes, she even felt like he wasn’t trying.
She couldn’t have been more wrong.
They were both caught in a vicious circle of wanting to have something better and not seeing how they were each contributing to fueling the disconnection and disharmony that was so present for the two of them.
So, what do you do when you have a partner who just doesn’t “get it”?
If you’re in a never-ending circle like Randy and Becky…
Here are 2 ways to get out of the pattern into being better at relationships…
1. Step back and take a fresh look at your partner
When you’re in a cycle filled with disappointment, blame and finger-pointing, you can’t see anything new.
When you take a fresh look at your partner–with no expectations that he or she “should” act a certain way…
You’ll see something new.
When Randy took a step back, he saw that he had usually been expecting Becky to be disappointed in him during the last years of their marriage. And she usually was.
Although he’d wanted to be better at relationships, a big part of him believed he could never please her so why try.
When Becky looked with “new eyes” at what had been happening between them, she saw that she had expected him to “know” what she wanted in their relationship.
While understanding their upbringings were very different and they were very different people…
She somehow still expected him to be like her.
He wasn’t and she’d ignored that fact.
2. When you soften, the other person softens as well
When both of you are holding onto being “right,” there’s nothing but tightness and defensiveness.
When you allow your heart to open to one another, there’s an opportunity for understanding and a pathway out of the cycle.
When you allow your defensive pattern to soften, your emotions and thought storms quiet and you are so reactive.
Randy saw how he had braced himself for what he perceived as Becky’s criticism of him and was surprised to see that he’d closed his heart to her.
Becky saw how her constant criticism of Randy had closed him down and how her heart was closed to him in the process.
When they both softened their usual positions, they could see a glimmer of the old love they used to have.
No matter how long you’ve been together…
Our question to you is how can you take a new look at your partner to see something new?
What expectations and assumptions have you been making that may or may not be true?
How can you open your heart a little wider?