Have you practiced patience in your recent dealings with your partner? If you have, hopefully your patience and efforts have been rooted in a long-lasting and genuine desire to be loving. Remember to seize the opportunities that arise to nurture your partner and your relationship–even when you are irritated. Please share any questions or comments about your experiences or my blog. You can reach me at Frank@FrankLove.com or post a comment below.
In addition to investing in being patient, have you considered also investing in your partner’s feeling of safety? During a recent workshop I facilitated, I shared with the participants: “We all want to feel safe in our relationships. However, if you are insistent on having a feeling of safety–relationships are not the place for you.” I was attempting to drive home the importance of being vulnerable in our relationships in spite of our desire, and need, to feel safe.
While vulnerability, and some degree of comfort with being vulnerable, is important and necessary in any relationship, the importance of safety in a relationship is also worth promoting.
One thing we can probably all agree on is that challenges in life are inevitable, both in our present and in our future. I am certainly working through my own share of them right now, and I am not particularly troubled by the understanding and knowledge that there will be more in the future. That’s cool. The presence and reoccurrence of challenges applies to my non-relationship life as well as my relationship life.
Thinking solely about my relationship life for a moment, however, I could consider the various ways that I may or may not have felt safe in my past or present relationship(s). Please note—in this context, unsafety is being defined as the times in which I have felt uncomfortable.
When I have felt discomfort in a relationship, I experienced distinct feelings of irritation, jealousy, disappointment, anger, betrayal, and frustration. This list is not exhaustive, but if any of these emotions ring true to you, please jump in the pool with me and keep reading.
In addition to my own experiences with each of these emotions, my wife (she has confirmed this) and probably any other woman I have ever been romantically involved with, has experienced most of, if not all of, these same emotions. If they felt anything like I have, I’m sure they would rather have not had those experiences.
Those unpleasant experiences can come with the territory of relationships, though. The games we play, the partners we choose, and the way that we choose to live our lives all have a significant impact on our emotional coaster. I’ll be the first to admit that I have been no saint in my history of relationships. At a certain point in my life, I just resigned myself to a cycle of pissing off my partners and dealing with the consequences. And, well, pissed-off people tend to do what pissed-off people do, and I certainly felt the repercussions.
When I gained clarity and realized my personal responsibility in the creation of my reality and my own emotional existence, I eventually decided I needed to start with creating safety for my partner. Admittedly, this realization came from a relatively selfish place, in which I said to myself, “I am at my best when I am not dealing with a negative situation or emotion. It is probably also safe to assume the same can be said for my partner.”
With that in mind, my inner-conversation shifted to, “How can I create an environment where my partner feels safe?” Here’s what I came up with:
I hear many individuals complain about their partner’s insecurities, as if complaining was the way to help their partner feel more secure. Complaining is not a solution. I have never seen, nor heard of, a situation in which a person tells their significant other, “You are insecure,” and the significant other becomes secure as a result.
If our partner tells us, or demonstrates to us, that they are insecure about something directly related to us (e.g. our phone, our friends of the opposite sex, our friends of the same sex…etc.), we can work to resolve that insecurity.
If it’s our phone, we may consider giving our partner our phone to look at. If it’s our interactions with people of the opposite sex, we may consider modifying the way we interact with opposite-sex friends. If it’s the same-sex friends, we may consider modifying the way we interact with our same-sex friends. I’m not saying what should or shouldn’t be done, as there are many unique factors at play in each relationship. I am, however, suggesting ways to support our partners in feeling safe.
Please note—I am not saying that we have to work to create safety in our relationship. We don’t have to do anything at all. However, our partners and our relationships are worthy investments. As I said before, I have not always been in a place where I wanted to, or was able to, create safety. However, if we want to experience a partner who operates as someone who feels cared for, safe, and secure, let’s try implementing a strategy to create safety. That’s certainly a way to be loving.
Once you master the art and skill of creating safety, make sure you set aside regular time to take care of your partner.
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.