If you have difficulties in your relationship, your perspective may be part of the problem. I often hear divorced men complain that they provided well for their exes and that the ex didn’t have to cook or clean the house but still she was never satisfied. In these men’s perceptions their partners were ungrateful; although they gave what they THOUGHT their partners need. On the other hand, from the ladies side I often hear them complain that their partners continually point out their flaws. A lady will say, “I overlook my husband’s habit of not putting things away, but the one time I forgot to close the door when he took a nap, he pointed out my inconsiderateness.” Another lady remarked, “I always compliment my husband on what he does, but he seldom thank me or even sees what I have done.”
Consider how your perceptions and your partner’s reality meet up. Talmud said, "We do not see the world as it is. We see the world as we are." Everything that we understand and think of as factual has been filtered through our believe system. We are all experts at disregarding information that does not fit with our beliefs.
It is amazing how changing your perception can begin to change your relationship. Becoming consciously aware of the meaning that you are attaching to the things that your partner does and says and searching for ways to put a more positive spin on them can create upward momentum in your relationship instead of a downward spiral.
Conflict may result from your interpretations of your partner’s actions or intentions. You may take things too personally. If your partner is not offering to assist you or preoccupied, you may perceive that s/he doesn’t love you, that s/he is selfish, lazy or inconsiderate, or that s/he doesn’t care. It is not the circumstances or behavior that hurt you, it is the meaning that you attach to them that causes you pain.
This brings me back to how divorced men often think their ACTIONS were enough to leave a woman satisfied, whereas the women generally complain that she doesn’t feel EMOTIONALLY supported.
It can be difficult for an empathetic person to assertively verbalise feelings. It is as if the more emotional partner needs to become more balanced in being assertive and action oriented. Whereas the more logical and assertive person needs to exercise their weaker emotional skills. In order to be happy in a relationship both partner’s need to adjust, expand and be humble in admitting their inadequacy in dealing with a person that is so “other” than they. A logical person, mostly men often doubt their ABILITY/ACTIONS whereas empathetic folk, mostly women doubt their worth or has (EMOTIONAL) self-esteem issues. When a woman is generally happy a man gets it that his abilities are efficient. When a self-sacrificing woman struggles to positively verbalise her requests a man will battle to meet her needs and the relationship will suffer.
To begin changing your perceptions, consider or ask someone else: “What else might this mean?” Look for several options; try finding some positive or at least neutral options. Another helpful hint is to put yourself into your partner’s shoes. Try to see the situation from his/her perspective.
Recently, a friend of mine was saying he didn't understand why all the girls he dates suddenly lose interest. I was prepared to give him a speech about why women lose attraction but instead I asked him a question: Well, why would you do something like that?
"What do you mean?" he replied.
"Well, let's say you were seeing a girl that you initially like and then after awhile you lose interest. Why would you do that?"
"I'd probably do that because she was suddenly becoming boring or she lacked confidence."
"So you'd basically lost your curiosity when she became insecure?"
"Well, yeah..." and then the light bulb moment hit.
Flipping the situation can answer a lot of relationship questions but there are always some other things to consider. Your self esteem plays a key role in your perception of events. On top your partner’s attitude towards you will affect your interpretation. Then again, men and women have different needs and when you interpret all things from your perspective, you may be completely missing your partner’s motive.
Published in the Journal of Family Psychology, a study from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania found that men are happiest when they perceive that their wives or girlfriends are happy, whereas women are most satisfied when their boyfriends or husbands perceive they’re upset. In other words, women’s happiness in their relationships depended on how much their husbands or boyfriends made the effort to understand their negative emotions, even if the guys didn’t always completely comprehend them.
According to an article by Ian Landau “Women’s relationship satisfaction is more strongly linked with [their] perception that their male partners were trying to understand them…than with men’s ability to accurately read their wives’ negative emotions….” On the flip side, as noted above, researchers found that “Men’s relationship satisfaction was related to the ability to read their partners’ positive emotions accurately.”
Thinking and believing that it is impossible for a person to love you, can’t result in you positively interpreting his/her reactions. If you believe the best, you will see the best. Reversely, thinking and believing that your partner is not good enough or that your relationship cannot be happy, does not lead to creating a successful, happy relationship. The more emotional person in the relationship must come to terms with the fact that s/he is worthy of love and the more logical person must believe in his capability and ability to contribute. Only as we are whole can the emotional partner make him /herself vulnerable to ask for what s/he needs and can the logical person make him/herself vulnerable by giving of him/herself.
If you have self-worth or capability issues try the holistic approach of my newly released book, “You Are Supernaturally Loved” at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017NQXASW
Until next time, keep up the right perspective.