You probably reckon you know your partner pretty well. You spend
most of your time with them, you share all the important things in
life together, you talk about yourselves and your feelings to each
other. Yep, you probably do know them better than anyone. But
don’t let that lull you into thinking you know them perfectly.
Think about the thoughts and ideas and feelings you have that you
don’t tell your partner. Maybe they’re just not important enough,
maybe you’re embarrassed, maybe they’re such distant memories it
doesn’t occur to you to share them, maybe you don’t understand
them yourself. And yes, maybe there are even a few secrets you
don’t really want them to know (nothing too dreadful I hope).
There’s actually a whole lot your partner doesn’t know about
you. And it’s the same the other way around. Things you don’t
know, and things you do know but you don’t realize the impor-
tance or the relevance or the lasting effects of. So you can’t
assume anything about them really – despite the fact that they’re
the person you spend most of your time with and who you
know best of all.
That means that when your partner gets upset or frustrated or
hurt or stressed or anxious, you can’t judge them by your own
standards. You need to try to see things from their perspective.
Whether the two of you are arguing, or whether they’re getting
stressed about something you think is no sweat, you really need
to put yourself in their shoes. Given everything you know about
them, you should be able to work out how they have arrived at
this viewpoint or emotion, even though the same circumstances
have brought you to a different point.
T H E R U L E S O F L O V E
Put yourself in their
R E L A T I O N S H I P R U L E S
I find it’s very easy to be complacent about your partner, to
assume that they will react in the way you expect, and then to be
hurt or upset or frustrated when they don’t. You might have
assumed they’d jump at the chance of borrowing a friend’s flat in
Italy for a holiday, so why are they being so negative about it?
You expected them to see that you obviously need to use their
car, so what’s the problem? You thought they’d love a surprise
party, so why are they clearly sulking with you about it?
Your partner isn’t picking emotions out of the air at random just
for fun. They don’t want to feel stressed or upset or to fall out
with you. So there has to be a reason for their seemingly irra-
tional and certainly unexpected behaviour. And you need to
think through what it is in their make-up or their circumstances
that has led them to this point.
Once you can see things their way, you’ll find that everything
suddenly becomes clearer and easier to deal with, and often your
feelings of resentment or frustration will be replaced by sympa-
thy and understanding. And that’s a far better way to resolve any
kind of problem.
YOUR PARTNER ISN’T
PICKING EMOTIONS OUT OF
THE AIR AT RANDOM JUST