Let’s remember the ways to speak about the challenges we have with our partners, if we must speak about those challenges.
Many of us talk to others about our partners whenever we feel like it. However, we may not consider the effect on our partners, our children, or our relationships. It can get pretty messy. Few of us hesitate long enough to consider the work we can do to address the issue without talking to others first. We just do whatever we feel like because we’re hurt, irritated, or whatever. We can do better.
One more time – our relationships are sacred. Or they are as sacred as we make them. Hopefully, we have a safe space where we can be flawed without being exposed to those outside our union.
This is how we, as flawed people, want to be treated. And as the partner to a flawed person, this principal speaks to what we are asked not to do. But it does not speak to what the partner of a flawed person is asked to do. There is a difference between telling a person not to do something and telling them to do something.
A few people were polled and asked, “What led you to speak negatively about your partner?” The recurring answers: cheating, stealing money, and lying.
If our partner had sex with another after they said they wouldn’t, stole money, and/or lied, how can we face this behavior without talking to someone else and revealing our partner’s behavior and identity?
Admit it. Give the issue admission and allow it to be where it already is: our relationship. Often we don’t want to deal with what we already know about our partners and our relationships. Rather than fighting the issue or denying reality, let it in and treat it as a part of us … because it is. If our partner is dealing with it, we are dealing with it. There is no way around it. You may have avoided signs and behaviors in the past, but now let the issue in so that it can be worked on constructively.
Talk to our partners. It may seem crazy, but we need to find out what’s going on. Find out their logic, reasons, and intentions. This is the most important conversation we can have about the matter. The key word is conversation, not a screaming match or a lecture on how we are a victim. It is critical that we talk to our partner and work to understand them. If we cannot talk to our partner, it is highly likely that their alternate sex partner, stealing, or lying is not the essential problem in our relationship. It is the communication.
Read. We can avoid talking about our partners to others by seeking advice through reading. Read about issues related to multiple partners, cheating, philandering, stealing from partners, lying, and whatever else touches on your concern. And just like it is important to be careful who we talk to, it is also important to be careful and discerning with what we read. Every author doesn’t have our or our relationship’s best interest at heart. Do the research and find someone who is genuinely interested in growing relationships … like me.
Do the early work. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Often when we face big issues, it is because we have ignored smaller issues in the past. Let’s be sensitive to what our partners are going through and dealing with every single day. Treat these issues as though they matter because we will, in some form or fashion, see them again. When we are dealing with a big issue, let’s look at, care about, and address the potential root causes. And let’s be attentive to our partners everyday so that little issues don’t become big issues.
If we strive to be caring toward our partner, I cannot stress enough the importance of constructively addressing whatever issues arise in our relationship. It is a skillful demonstration of patience and commitment, especially when we feel frustrated, angry, and desperate. Remember, the night is darkest before the dawn. You could be on the precipice of a great future together … if you engage this issue with care.
So before talking to others just because it’s going to make us feel better, let’s think about what our partner needs and what our partnership deserves.
We’re back to cell phones next week. We’ll be discussing another strategy for minimizing its problematic presence in our relationship. In the meantime …
Frank Love coaches individuals who are in (or wish to be in) a relationship on ways to be more loving. He is also the author of “Relationship Conversations You Don’t Want to Have (But Should Anyway)” and “25 Way to Be Loving.” To schedule a free consultation, contact Frank at Frank@FrankLove.com.