DR. CELESTE OPRIS, PH.D., LMFT
Do you ever feel like you constantly have to repeat yourself to your partner? Why is that? People tend to repeat themselves when they do not feel heard or validated. So if you have told your partner the same things “a million times” then it may be time to examine the interaction between the two of you.
A lot of individuals get stuck in the, “How does he not know what I mean?” Oddly enough, two individuals can say the same exact sentence and mean something completely different. For instance, you can say to your partner, “The dishes are piling up in the sink.” Perhaps you were hoping your partner would understand that is your way of asking for the dishes to be washed. However, your partner could have missed your point completely and disregarded your statement unintentionally.
This can make you feel ignored or invisible, when in reality that is the last thing your partner wanted to do. Ironically, this can result in a snowball effect in which people get snappy or have an attitude toward each other. Yet, your partner may have no idea what went wrong. Hence why you may be commonly asked, “What’s wrong?”
Look for body language that changed after you say something. For example, if his tone changes and he appears defensive then examine what you just said to him and explain where you were coming from, what you meant, and how you really felt about it. Understand why your words or reactions could be interpreted negatively. Self-examine your words and strong reactions towards each other and what you really meant to say to your partner. You could say you felt “overwhelmed,” “targeted,” “anxious,” and so forth.
If you frequently make comments like, “Well, he always does this,” or “She never does that,” then it may be a good time to re-examine the way you both interact and talk to each other. Speak to each other like you would talk to a friend; with respect. Remember to never corner one another. There is a reason why people feel like their partners are not listening to them so question those reasons.
It may be time to make yourselves heard in a healthy and positive way. It takes hard work to be considerate and patient when you are in a relationship, especially when being triggered. It is also difficult to take criticism from each other, but so necessary in order to grow as a couple. Things can’t and won’t be “as they used to” for the rest of your lives. When you are growing old together and things are meant to be “forever” then it is literally impossible for two individuals to agree on all topics and decisions.
People change and grow, but the key is to continue growing together. It is great to be hopeful, but it is even better to take charge of your life and to make your goals happen, especially when it comes to your relationship!
Celeste Opris, Ph.D., LMFT, offers therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families. Visit www.TherapyForModernHousewives.com.