I’ve heard that compromise and sacrifice are necessary for long term relationships, but it feels like I’m doing all the giving, and I’m starting to feel resentful.
It’s important to try to figure out whether most of the time you have fallen into the habit of being in a power struggle with your partner, or whether you are really trying to resolve differences. When our partner has a different solution to handling something than we think is the best way to do it, we can either get into a power struggle – where each person tries to insist that their way is the right way. Or, we can recognize that we have different approaches or answers to the issue at hand and decide to say nothing, and do it our partner’s way. This would probably be fine, most of the time – IF we really let it go, and just went with the different approach. But it is really common for us to feel like we are “giving all the time” and have resentments build up. Then, we can reach a point where we decide to take a stand and insist on doing it our way – even when the issue that’s come up is one we don’t really care about. And we can get into a big fight over…. nothing.
Learning how to speak up on a regular basis to express your thoughts – without insisting they are the only answer – is a real skill. Listening fully without taking the time they are speaking to mentally mount your rebuttal – is another skill worth practicing. If you don’t speak up to express your thoughts and needs, you are giving away a freedom that your relationship needs. Practice listening with an open mind, and speaking with an open heart, asking for solutions and suggestions. Staying quiet keeps you behind a wall, and perpetuates distance between the two of you.
“In a world full of differences, it is vital to learn how to accept, understand and appreciate them. Anyone lucky enough to take a PAIRS class will be glad they did.” – PAIRS graduate