Relationship Advice When Things Get Tense…

One of the biggest relationship questions is how to feel and express yourself when you get triggered–so that a partner can hear and not shut down to you or get into a big fight.

When you and your partner are feeling resistant and “hard” toward each other, it doesn’t lead to more intimacy and the love you want. It leads to more distance and feelings of aloneness–even when you’re in the same bed.

What you might be saying right now may go something like this…

“Okay, Susie and Otto, that’s all well and good BUT I’m justified to pull away from my partner because of the way he/she acts! There’s no way I’m opening to him/her after the way he’s /she’s been.”

If that’s what you’re thinking, we can certainly sympathize because we’ve felt exactly that way many times before. Your thought might be…

“I know I SHOULD open to my partner but it’s not really in me to do it–and I feel like if I did, I’d be a doormat, caving in and giving ME away.

It really comes down to this question…

“How can I open and soften toward him/her if he’s/she’s just acted like a jerk (in my judgment) without losing my power and giving up me?”

Believe us when we say that we’ve played with this one for quite a few years and here’s what we’ve discovered…

You can do both–you can open and soften so you can listen and talk to your partner and still stay into the truth of who you are.

Here’s what happened the other day to us that illustrates what we’re trying to tell you…

Because Susie broke her foot recently, she hasn’t been able to take her share of the chores around the house and most of them have been falling on Otto. While he’s wonderful about taking them on, it’s not easy for one person to get everything done. So although for the most part we’re very loving with each other, sometimes we’re not.

The other day, Otto made a comment in passing that previously would have triggered an angry response in Susie–and a sarcastic remark–that certainly would have instantly brought up
his defenses and anger. Even though she realized that uncomfortable feelings came up, she didn’t respond immediately.

She just took a breath and sat with those feelings until they had less of a charge to them. Later she asked him this question in a way that invited an answer instead of pushing him away…

“When you said ———————–, I’m wondering what you meant by that.”

(BTW–“I’m wondering” is one of those Magic phrases and you can find more of them by going to )

After Otto explained the meaning behind his words, she was able to understand where he was coming from when he said them and realize that they weren’t disrespectful towards her as she had imagined.

Because she didn’t automatically react to what she thought Otto said, we were able to clear up a misunderstanding very quickly.

Did Susie lose herself by opening to him and asking that question? Of course not.

Did our connection stay close because she chose to be curious and find out more?

Most certainly.

So if you can relate in any way to what we’re saying, we’re inviting you to practice what we’re suggesting and see what happens in your relationship.

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