This is one of the reasons we created our Stop Talking On Eggshells program –to give you some tools for saying what you need to say to your partner (or anyone else) in a way you can actually say it and in a way they can hear it.Along these same lines, we sent you an email a few days ago where we gave you a recipe for a close, long-lasting relationship.
We got such good feedback about this “recipe” that we posted it on our blog where you can read it in case you missed it.
Someone else sent us a great question about our “recipe” and we thought we’d share our answer with you here…
***QUESTION FROM A READER:
“You mentioned, that we should remember, recommit etc.–I wonder, when I think of why I married him, (one of the reasons, anyway), was because he seemed different than other men when it came to other women.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
“Can I say to him, ‘One of the special things I saw about you was your resistance to other women’?
“I read one time that if you say things like this that that is what they will try to become. Do you agree?”
Thanks for your question!
We really appreciate that you read our article and tried to figure out how you might use the ideas in your situation.
Great observation that one of the reasons you were attracted to your husband and wanted to be with him was that he seemed
“different” from other men who you saw interacting perhaps inappropriately with women other than their partners.
These are our words…
You felt special to him, you felt his attention on you, you felt his love and you felt a connection with him.
Now you don’t.
It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you. It just means that his attention seems to be elsewhere (on other women or something else) and you miss feeling special to him.
Okay, so if we’ve correctly interpreted the situation (and a lot of relationships seem to be experiencing this), your question might be…
What do you say to him to jog his memory of how he used to act toward you so you can recapture the magic that seems to have faded a bit?
While we can see that you are trying to frame your comments in the positive, your words end up pointing out the negative.
We like “One of the special things I saw about you…” which is a phrase that can help keep the other person open to what you say…
If you use the words “resistance to other women,” it sounds like he was deliberately holding himself back or holding up a shield to protect himself from the enticing charms of other women–and now he’s not.
We suspect that that’s not what he was doing at the time and not how he sees it.
We think he probably only had eyes for you and there was no one else on his radar–and that’s what you miss.
But if you use those words “resistance to other women” and they misrepresent how he sees it, he’ll likely close to hearing them.
So how can you phrase your words to him so he stays open?
We’ll use the first part of what you wanted to say to him and add a little more…
“One of the special things I saw about you when we were first together was that I really felt your attention on me–even when we were out with other people. I felt like we had a special bond and I want more of that. Can we talk about how we can recapture that special feeling again? Would you tell me how you felt when we were first together?”
And then listen.
Don’t get defensive.
If you start to get defensive, reel yourself back in and remember what you want and how you acted toward him in the beginning.
As we’ve said many times before, couples get derailed from keeping the spark alive between them by getting caught up in their daily lives and if they don’t wake up, their relationship can die a slow death.
We have some great tips about keeping the spark alive in our “Restart the Spark” audio program available here and we’ve also got some excellent tips for spicing things up a bit in our “Red Hot Love Relationships”
Finally, we totally agree that if you focus on certain behaviors, and always be on the lookout for them, those behaviors in others are reinforced and will persist.
Try focusing on what you want instead of the behaviors that you don’t want.
Sounds easy but we know that it can be difficult.
Does that mean ignoring or excusing blatantly bad behavior in others?
Of course not–you may need to set a boundary.
But along with this boundary, you can begin to practice opening your heart to him as you remember how the two of you were together and shift your focus to recapturing this feeling–or even something better.