Not too long ago a friend asked me what they should do about their partner. Despite, living together they just couldn’t get their significant other to speak to them and were upset that instead of highlighting the issue their spouse would spend evenings worth of their time on the phone talking to their friend. Clearly realising they were two peas in a pod (although they would both beg to differ) I rolled my eyes were I wouldn’t be seen and expressed ‘great interest’ in this….enigma yes I’m about to join the crew in the space station or discover a new planet because I’m really reaching now.
Anyway I feigned great curiosity in the obvious mystery and asked a few questions for ‘assessment’ purposes (feel to answer them if you’re currently in the ‘doghouse’ or debating where you stand).
- Do their compliments start with ‘You must think…’
- Do their sentences end with ‘Don’t play with me’ or a random ‘Okay’
- Has their kiss changed or stopped?
- Are you both sleeping in the same bed?
- Do they mutter or huff? …..If they mutter does it sound like a prayer?…..Are they using their thinking face expression?
- Do they smile at you?….Is it tight lipped or accompanied by vacant eyes?
If you answered yes to 1,2,3,5 and the end of 6 chances are you’ve surpassed the starter of irritation and you’re on your way to the main; a heated discussion followed by the lovely doghouse for afters. No I haven’t forgotten question 4, I’ve saved the best for last. Why? Let’s put it out there, yes I know you may have slept elsewhere before and have still managed to keep your relationship but by putting distance between yourself and your spouse at bedtime you’re setting up a habit that can have damaging consequences.
What does this have to do with their partner being on the phone? Let me explain. If you’re in the dog house the last thing you want is to drag the WONDERFUL experience on. The longer you leave the issues festering, the more time you give your partner to be let’s call it creative and figure out all the fabulous ways that they can get under your skin or ignore you. Suddenly the extent of their love comes to mind, PAUSE you went too far. Yes they love and care about you but you (hopefully) unintentionally hurt their feelings so they have reacted by raising their defences against you in order to protect themselves. Yes, I agree it is sad that they feel they need protection from you.
Obviously playing the advocate now, on the other side of the coin there are those who react in the former ways to mold you. Why? To turn you into someone that readily or eventually allows them to get their own way at least most of the time. No, I can’t advise you your spouse because you chose them so take responsibility for your choices.
You might think that’s a harsh comment but unless your partner is soon to be casted for their sensational acting skills, you must have seen the signs before you both got serious. You tell me what you were hoping would happen. This utopia of everyone learning to compromise does not exist and you know it. Some can unlearn unfavourable habits and others simply want what they want, when it’s convenient for them and of course in the ways that they deem acceptable to receive it. If we change those conditions from third to first person it becomes ‘I, I, I’ conditions. Hmmm, yeah I won’t even go there, whatever floats your boat. By the way I’m referring to humans beings and not a specific gender so it was odd to find less cartoon images of women handing over material things to men, when we all know it happens in general.
Resolution Sugestions (In order of potential success)
Communicate; be sincere and honest addressing the issue and let them know that even if they’re not wanting to speak to you or respond to you you’ll be there when they’re ready to talk about it. Why? You love them or care about them so whatever you did you’re sorry. No, you’re not at their mercy so swallow your pride. More often than not you come off as mature for making the first move so in turn your partner feels obligated to end their tantrum or other synonym.
Wait; sounds similar to communication but this is different in practice. This involves getting on with your lives and doing every other activity or routine the same, whilst waiting for them to make the first move. Yes, your partner should initiate the conversation that addresses the unspoken issue that has ruffled their feathers. This method helps to decrease the chances of an emotional outburst from them. If you don’t know what buttons you’ve already pushed, don’t bother to try a different combination. After the channels of communication are open you can work with your partner to repair your relationship.
Gesture; demonstrating your feelings for them as indicated by your effort. Please note that you’ll still be required to apologise and or wait but this may improve their mood. It may also help to think about the things that they like and haven’t received in some time. WARNING!!! Be prepared to repeat this gesture more often than that one time so you don’t end up being compared to a one hit wonder and receive a return ticket to your new sleeping quarters. You know your partner so I have every faith that you’ll nail the brief of this challenge but if they’re anything like our friend in the second image I would suggest that you arrange a ‘date night’ of any activity they or both of you enjoy depending on how generous you’re feeling. A ‘romantic dinner’ can also be made or ordered in if you don’t have the time to go out or finances. Material things from flowers that some are more than happy to boast about to jewellery or vehicles are fine if that’s how you show your appreciation. It’s important to remember that if you enable certain behaviours it will cost you more emotionally or financially to receive what you want and if that’s peace it shouldn’t be so damaging.
I also have to touch on cheating because sometimes this is the consequence of poor communication, when people are unhappy with their relationship. If you keep going to bed angry or one person usually leaves after spats you’re not repairing the damage or emotional intimacy. In those moments of frustration, you may become selfish as you think about the subjective perspective. People have different coping strategies and not all will make sense or be morally acceptable to you because their not shared by you. Don’t worry, sometimes cheating isn’t valued by the participating partner either so they can feel remorseful later. It’s not all ‘doom and gloom’, in the event that you discover they’ve cheated the ball is in your court. You have a decision to make ‘red pill or blue pill’.