It’s happened – your Springtime in Paris new relationship has hit a significant bump in the road. You’re feeling the urge to say something 180 degrees from “you’re just so perfect and amazing” to your new love interest. Congratulations – this is your first opportunity for a growth power-up!
Quell the impulse to text “We need to talk.” If you’ve already typed it in, with your thumb hovering above “send,” aim for “delete” instead. No one wants to read that; no one wants to be forewarned of impending doom unless they’re watching a movie. You’ll only succeed in spurring the imminent arsenal of defense.
The down and dirty secret of always being right? Stop trying. No doom scenarios or proving the other person “wrong” serve you or your relationship particularly well. Instead of doing the “I’m right,’ no “I’m wrong” dance, or wrestling with “I don’t even have the right to ask for a shift in in/his behavior,” or “screw that way of being in the world,” etc., just breathe deeply and resolve to get back to the basics:
- This does not mean that there’s something wrong with your relationship. A little snag in the quilt you are making together is not a big deal… as long as you work together to mend it with care. If you end up with a wayward little loop of thread that doesn’t quite fit back into place, simply choose to incorporate it into the piece you’re creating with some grace, rather than freaking out and pulling the whole thing apart. The first approach fixes, while the second demolishes the whole project.
- Remind yourself that you’re both on the same team and that in the end, what you actually want is for the two of you to stay together. The objective of the conversation you need to have should not be about making them feel wrong, shamed, stupid, ”in the dog house,” or as if they must beg for your forgiveness. The whole point is to move forward with greater ease – for both of you.
- Look at how you could have contributed to the situation, as well as how factors beyond you might have affected their behavior. Since relationships are the interplay of the interactions of two people relating to one another, and not just one human doing his or her thing, it’s very likely that both of you have contributed at least a little bit to your recent snag. Sure, it’s possible the “breakdown of fault” could be less even than a classic 50/50 – let’s say it’s 60/40, or even 80/20, but parsing out blame is kind of missing the point and neither is likely 100% at fault. So own your contribution in order to learn from it.
- Do you really think your new amour meant harm with his or her actions? If you can accept that they were not trying to be hurtful, you can resist the impulse to punish them. Ignorance is not an excuse to keep repeating hurtful behavior over and over again – which is why using this snag as a catalyst for a discussion that obviously needed to happen makes sense.
- This seems obvious, but treat your partner as if they are an equally intelligent human with feelings, thoughts, and ideas when you have your discussion. Condescension may boost your ego, but it will whittle away at your relationship. There’s a good chance that your gal or guy is loving and cares for you, just as you do for them. From that stance, it’s possible to communicate (in a way you can be heard) just how to make you feel stoked in the relationship, (without a river of dehydrating tears,) to emerge with a much stronger bond between the two of you.
If it’s truly unavoidable, know that you can always still throw a vase against the wall – preferably when you’re all by yourself and prior to following steps one through five above with your new squeeze. So we’ll just keep that in reserve as Plan Z.