Unfortunately, the feeling of being stuck and feeling hopeless in one’s relationship is not uncommon. Many partner’s feel they are not compatible, they don’t enjoy each other’s company, and can’t see a future together… A sad state of affairs. Partners get to this point because they get entrenched in their own perspective losing sight of the other and the relationship, and the gorgeous potential... Once this is recaptured, they get along, get on the same page and get things done... They move forward creating their successful and radiant relationship!
Are you feeling stuck? You don’t have to be!
Here are 3 Tactics to help you start moving forward:
Learn to get along
Getting along doesn’t mean agreeing on everything or denying and swallowing your preference and desires. Getting along means understanding what you each want, why and finding a way of honoring both sides…
Couples usually get this all wrong. Partners dig in their heals on their side and look at their partner as the enemy for not giving up their own preference for them. They become extremely egocentric. Everything that is going on is filtered through the lens of did they got what they wanted. And if they didn’t, they compute a notch against their partner. Yuck!
This is definitely not a relationship enrichment approach, nor an emotionally safe approach of being in relationship. This cuts at the bond between the partners, disrupts their attachment. This breaches boundaries and undermines the other. This erodes self-esteem and confidence. This creates doubt and stuckness in the relationship.
We can be very good at making a federal case against our partner. We can be very good at connecting all the dots to prove ourselves right, for making the case of how we’ve been wronged in some way. We can be very good at presenting the logic behind how our partner let us down, again.
But, when we approach our relationship this way, we are just cheating ourselves out of the synergy and the gift inherent in our relationship… Gone are the days of finding a partner for contractual reasons. Now we choose each other and there is meaning in our choice. We forget to honor and benefit from that…
Getting along has to do with understanding each other, getting our partner and validating what’s true for them (showing them we get them), having their back, having their best interest at heart, approaching them from our heart and not our head (ego). It has to do with honoring that we are different people and working at figuring out how to make our differences work for us instead of against us…
So, for starters – stop looking at yourself as the victim in your relationship. Stop looking at your partner as the villain, the enemy, the bad guy. Stop looking at the relationship as dissatisfying and hopeless.
Instead take a step back and see the gift that is your partner and relationship. See how your partner does contribute, has your back, is committed… See the intentions, attempts, and willingness. However small these might be at this juncture… Remember, your partner is hanging in there as well…
Look at your partner with your heart and with compassion, not with your head and with criticism… See them, see their essence. Look beyond the noise, defenses, and imperfections… Once you shifted, then approach them…
Get on the same page
Being on the same page does not mean agreeing on a topic or situation, looking at an issue the same way, loving your partner’s perspective or approach and the like.
It does mean understanding where you are each coming from, what is significant about their experiences and why, how that fits with who the individuals are and what is going on for them, what’s the purpose and motive behind their actions, what are just defenses and not ill intentioned behaviors, what are attempts at pleasing and connection but just with poor delivery…
Getting a clear understanding of what is happening by giving the partner the benefit of the doubt, some grace, and compassion helps break impasses… Partners get stuck because they refuse to see the other side. They get stuck by trying to be right by making the other wrong… They get stuck because their perspective becomes very cloudy with their own position, circumstance and wishes.
Getting on the same page means finding a common ground, happy medium, or way of agreeing to move forward… It’s ok for your partner to get their way on what is really important to them. It’s ok for you to get your way on what is really important to you. When there is a mutual topic that is really important to both, know that there are usually degrees of how important something is to someone and hardly ever do people feel exactly the same way… Therefore, the discrepancy can be used to break impasses…
Now, don’t be stubborn and find this to be the thing you both agree on 100%! If you find that you are doing this, you are still very much entrenched in your own side... Then, this a YOU problem, not a partner problem… Remember the 80/20 rule. That any situation that is troubling you, is 80% about you, and 20% about what your partner is doing or now doing… Giving your 80% attention should keep you busy enough to have any desire to focus on your partner’s 20…
Getting on the same page is YOUR inside job. It’s is not your partner’s job. Now, if your partner were reading this, the same applies to them… So you see, you both work on your own in-sides…
Please bear in mind that you each have your own style, pace and ability for working on your side. If you are focusing on how much your partner is doing or not doing, how they are doing it, and how fast – again, you are focusing on the wrong side…
Focus on you and you’ll see how fast things actually change! For when we show up differently, we invite (co-create) different stuff…
So for starters – invite your partner into a conversation where the focus in on how you get their side… How you get them, get their point of view, perspective or experience, understand what is happening for them and what they desire and why, etc.
Seriously, keep this ONLY about them… Once your partner feels gotten, they un-dig their heals… Stop the conversation while you are ahead, don’t turn it back to you or try to address any issues at this time. Select another time to come back to the rest… In the meantime, watch the different energy and dynamics that come from your investment…
Get things done
You’ll notice that once you start shifting and showing up differently, agreeing on courses of action and staying synchronized becomes much easier!
A mistake that partners make is trying to control what their partner does, how they do it and when they do it - micromanaging so it gets done on their timetable. Who wants to live like this? Not for nothing the partner is shutting down, not showing up, disappearing or doing a crappy job…
When we control and micromanage, we ensure that the other doesn’t show up with their genius and internal resources. We end up creating a self-fulling prophecy that the other is not there, we are alone and unsupported, and we have to take care of everything… Right? We are just validating our scripts and repeating our patterns…
Now, you might be saying – Yeah, but when I put my partner in charge of such and such, or remove myself from something, or let this go or that go, they are still dropping the ball…
To that I say that the “delegation”, collaboration, wasn’t set up properly… You dumped the task on your partner without buy-in, guidelines, and the like. You gave up a task and your partner has no idea that it’s theirs now. You claim something is no longer a task, but still want the results of having a related task completed. And, a host of other funny business that sets you up to not be properly and genuinely supported…
If you are not getting what you want, what do you need to do differently to get it…? We have no control over what other people do, including our partner. But we do have control over what we do, how we show up and how we set things up…
So for starters – review the things you are not getting enough support on, that are getting on your nerves, that your partner keeps f*g up, and the like… Make a list of all the annoyances, of all the supposed dropped balls…
Now, take a look at how those balls were put into circulation… Hey, you might think you both have done an amazing job at setting up who owns this ball. And, yet it is still dropped. To that I say that it wasn’t really set up amazingly… Dig into why the ball is dropped. The best of intentions could have been in place to pick up this ball, but maybe the picking up wasn’t set up realistically…
You can go two ways here, find the theme of what is happening or identify the ball that is aggravating you the most. Then address this with your partner.
Now, don’t go in with guns blazing… Go into the conversation shifted, getting their side, and addressing it from what’s happening for you around this ball. Don’t go into the conversation by noting how your partner sucks and how they failed you, again…
ASSIGNMENT: Take note which of these three areas is most wobbly for you:
Then, give that area all your attention. Don’t dabble, be serious about making a change!
When you embrace taking ownership of how you do you in your relationship, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and beautifully you start seeing the changes you want.
Tackling the tactics above helps you make some head way in the implementing 3 of 5 key Elements in the Successful Couple Strategy™: Context/Mindset (1), Communication/Alignment (2), and Collaboration/Partnership (5). Woot!
Start creating changes within you so you can see changes in your relationship!
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PS3 – Check out Related Posts:
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How much do you get your partner?
Can you change your partner?
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PS4 – Get your Quotes & Quickies™ for this post!
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Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, she is the creator of the MetroRelationship™ philosophy and the Successful Couple Strategy™ that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly connection notes in your inbox with Personal Development and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com