Many of us will look at the New Year as a way to make changes, and in some cases that even means taking a long hard look at your relationship! In relationships it is easy to get to a place where you think you know what your partner is thinking or feeling, so much so that we forget to ask and just make assumptions. Of course this can lead us to feel neglected, taken for granted or just misunderstood.
In the New Year why not make a point of having more productive conversations, the ‘conversation map’ outlines an approach that is based on ‘mindfulness techniques’. Rather than falling back into familiar patterns – one of you shouts, one of you goes on the defensive…, this approach allows you to talk in an open way whilst being truthful, without the situation becoming tense and quarrelsome.
Let you partner feel how they feel. Even if you think it is irrational – don’t go out of your way to prove to them that it is. Accept their feelings and ask questions so that you can better understand their position.
It is natural that a person will grow and alter as they age and move through different life periods. In a discussion don’t hold them changing against them (you will have changed too). Underneath the fundamentals of why you liked the person – will still be there. But perhaps their hopes, goals and aspirations have moved on?
It is important that no one comes to the table imagining that they are superior. You are equals. You are in a partnership. Any problems are yours to navigate and solve together. Feeling powerful and ‘being right’ won’t yield you happiness in the long run.
Be Your Best
It is always those that we love the most that we hurt the most. Try to be the best version of yourself, especially for each other. If you have preconceived ideas about what a ‘perfect’ relationship looks like – leave them at the door, no such things exists. Make your own perfect, in a way that suits you both!
Many of us will be defensive or go on the attack when faced with criticism, but an honest dialogue is bound to uncover some home truths that are hard to hear. Try instead to really hear the message, thank your partner for being honest and take some time if needs be to think about it, rather than respond in haste and in anger.
It is important to have shared experiences to bring you closer together. Of course life will involve separate pursuits – going to work, seeing friends, hobbies etc. – but it is important to be engaged with each other’s lives on a day-to-day basis and to show interest in each other’s activities.