How could I have been so blind?' or 'Why did nobody tell me?' These are just two of the most common reactions from people who thought they were doing the best for their marriage, but discovered they'd actually been undermining their own efforts. On the surface, these strategies seem sensible but thirty plus years of helping people understand relationships has taught me that they could easily be the biggest mistake of your life.
Always putting the children first, 100% agree. It's like when the airplane loses cabin pressure, you should do your own oxygen mask first. Or so I hear. :)
I’m a woman and my male partner does almost all of these things. Yes, they are all problematic and desperately frustrating, but why does the article writer assume these are female behaviors???
Great insights @themeaningfullife! Thanks for putting this out. My aha moment was 'Pointing out mistakes'
When I married at age 30 in 1978, I had hardly any regular previous sex life. We had a very joyous relationship. For one month, that is, until my appendix ruptured and I lost 17 pounds in 17 days in the hospital from paritonitis.
"Peritonitis is a redness and swelling (inflammation) of the lining of your belly or abdomen. This lining is called the peritoneum. It is often caused by an infection from a hole in the bowel or a burst appendix. You must seek medical care right away." The doctors said I had a 40% chance of surviving. I couldn't return to my receptionist job at the bank for three months because it hurt to walk.
Our doctor had to coach my husband to take it real easy with me and give me time. Six months later, I could have normal sex, but I had to compromise with my husband's needs: he wanted a dozen nights a week; I wanted two and a half. So I won, or I would have died from chronic paritonitis. My husband became a great philosopher and I his devoted wife until he died 37 years later at 87. A word to the wise.
These are good, sound words. Changing just the words you use with each other can be so helpful. Taking time for each other as a couple, not using it always to talk about your children, is important. For years my husband and I met for a Friday lunch. I treasure those times.
“Why [critiquing your partner’s behavior] seems a good idea: surely you shouldn't bite your tongue all the time, and doesn’t your partner want to be their best self?”
Jesus, are we still learning this? You cannot “fix” your boyfriend/male partner/husband. You cannot. Trying to do that says one thing: that guy is an unsatisfactory dude. For you. Learn it, live it, and then you can love him.
It is not a who’s right issue. It is an issue of different human beings, likely fully developed with their own personalities and behaviors and only marginally likely to change other than in the very long run and only because YOU model a certain behavior and he learns it’s value and then adopts it.
Early in a relationship you will very likely see the guy at his base. If he, with all his peccadillos, is not something you can live with then do NOT try. You can even be honest and tell him why, even if those issues are seen as petty. They might be but if they matter to you, they are not petty to you. He should have a shot at hearing all that - maybe he reevaluates his own behavior. Maybe not. But do not hang on to him thinking you can fix him later.
This issue is like the sex frequency issue. If you and your guy are lighting up the flames of physical passion nearly daily to several times a week early in a relationship you ought to expect that to continue into the indefinite future. That's male behavior, deeply connected to his genes. Otherwise a woman might be falling into the “use sex to gain intimacy” trap. It won’t work. It will lead to unhappiness and infidelity.
Be honest - if your prospective partner has “issues” you want tofix, tell him. Early. But don’t expect him to stick around much longer if it’s a laundry list. YOU need to decide whether you love him as and for who and what he is.
I could write a similar rant for men who might have concerns about their female partner/GF/wife. But men aren't gonna try to "fix" their females intimates. So I'm not sure what such a rant will mean. Women will generally ask for feedback, though rarely in a direct way. You can provide it buys, but fair warning. It needs to come from the woman asking for it and you need to seek clarificant, e.g, "Are you asking whether I like your new hairstyle?" Before actually commenting on a new doo other than "Hey your hair is different, it is attractive, and I'd love to hug you and give you a big kiss." for something like that. She'll tell you if she wants comment and you'll learn how much h0onesty she want and how to deliver that.
Great insights, thanks for putting this out @themeaningfulife, my aha moment was' pointing out mistakes'
After recently becoming an empty-nester, taking time to cultivate self while cultivating our children is extremely important. My partner and I focused on the kids so much that now we are trying to figure out our most basic likes: food, clothes, ideas, music, etc. It is amazing how much focusing on the lives of others can shift your perception of self and the world around you.
Thanks for the tips.