Thursday, 14 May 2015

Yes, but you...

I've had a lot of conversations that go like this:

Me: I'm feeling unhappy about this thing that you are doing/ have done.
Partner: Yes, but you did/ do that thing too.
Me: <blank>

What's going on in my head:

  • I'm trying to talk about my unhappiness and how I might be able to resolve it and what I can reasonably ask you to do to help me resolve it. That's now been derailed into a blame game.
  • If I did/ do that thing, does it make you unhappy like it makes me unhappy? If so, why didn't you mention it before now?
  • If it doesn't make you unhappy, that's good. But it makes me unhappy, so I need to talk about it.
  • Are you even listening to me? This is not a game of 'who's being an asshat?'. It's about the fact that I need to resolve something that makes me unhappy. I'm not saying you're a bad person for doing the thing. Or even that it's a bad thing. Just that it doesn't work for me.

What I do:

I change the subject. Or I just shut down. Because I hate being an asshole, and I know that I sometimes am. Especially when it comes to relationships. Especially when it comes to managing multiple relationships. And I'm super-sensitive about it. Which kind of makes me an asshole, I know. My partners should be able to talk to me about when I'm being a twit without me going all sensitive and weird on them. I'm working on that.

But I don't think I'm being an asshole when I try to express what's making me feel unhappy or uncomfortable. I think if I don't express that, and talk it through and work it out, I'm likely to behave like a great big hat-wearing ass because I haven't dealt with the issue. I think it's tedious that this conversation pattern is re-entering my life. It happened a lot with my ex, and it's happening again. And this blog post is kind of me working out how I'm going to explain to my current partner/s why it's a bad conversation pattern. And I really think it is, for any relationship. I think maybe a better pattern would be something like:

Me: I'm feeling unhappy about this thing that you are doing/ have done.
Partner: Ok. Let's talk about why it makes you unhappy and see if it's something you can fix or something you need my help to fix. And then could we talk a bit about how you do something quite similar, and how my response to that is different to your response to this? Maybe that would also help us to figure out how to handle this issue?

(Writing down imaginary dialogues somehow always turns them into extremely formal-sounding conversations I would never have. Obvs I don't talk like that in real life, and my partners definitely don't, but I think the point is clear, no?)

What do you think, kittens? Anyone have any handy links or advice on this issue?

1 comment:

  1. I've got your handy links right here:

    I've used the difficult conversation formula with a partner and it pretty much saved a relationship.


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