This is a guest post by Clay Andrews. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
You In a False Relationship?
Most people in relationships are great caricature artists.
And to be quite honest, I believe it’s really hurting their relationship. I’m not talking about the kind of caricature artists who will draw a cartoon of you down by the waterfront, though. I’m talking about people who are quick to label their partner and paint them with a broad brush.
What’s Wrong with Caricatures?
Because when we get overly comfortable with a relationship and after we get over the sugar high of a new boyfriend or girlfriend, we start to get used to things looking or being a certain way. We hold these unspoken beliefs in our minds like:
- “I’ll cook dinner.”
- “I’ll pay for dinner.”
- “We’ll rent movie and stay in on Friday nights.”
That doesn’t seem too bad, but if you keep running your relationship on autopilot like this for too long, you’ll start to build up feelings of resentment. Getting too comfortable can cause you to assume that you know exactly who your partner is at all times. And suddenly, these beliefs start to become who your partner is to you. You’ll start to build up resentful beliefs like:
- “Why do I always have to cook dinner?”
- “Why do I always have to pay for everything?”
- “You never want to go out and do anything!”
Yikes! that sounds a bit more hostile, doesn’t it?
Hostility Or Reconnection?
You can almost feel the pressure building up to one of those we-need-to-talk moments.
Have you ever had thoughts like “she never controls her spending” or “he only cares about football”?
These are big signs that you are creating a caricature of your partner and assuming that you know them inside and out.
These sorts of sweeping generalizations create distance between us and our partners.
We forget that maybe our partner may be having a bad day, feeling stressed, or may even be struggling with depression.
When was the last time you really talked with your partner and checked in with them about how they feel about life?
It may have been days or even months since you’ve had a real conversation if you’ve been just sleepwalking through your relationship, only talking to your partner during those ever-so-brief commercial breaks.
Fleshing Out Your Relationship – Reconnecting with Your Partner
So, what can you do about this?
How can you stop your relationship from slowly withering away under the weight of all these generalizations?
- Take time to remind yourself that your partner is a complete person with their own fears, concerns, and motives in life.
- Try your best to see them as a full person rather than a simplistic caricature.
When you can do this, you’ll naturally start to feel curious about your partner.
You’ll wonder how they’re feeling, what their day was like, or what their biggest dreams are.
By unearthing this curiosity, you’ll be able to much more effectively connect with them and find endless things to talk about, even if you think you already know everything there is to know about them.
The Relationship Change
It might seem strange to have these conversations again after such a long time of just “coasting” in your relationship.
You both need to remember to be completely open with these sorts of things.
If this is going to work, you can’t fake interest when asking how your partner feels, and they can’t hold back and play it cool with non-committal responses like “Oh, you know, whatever.”
You both have to be genuinely curious and willing to share your experience and feelings with one another.
Give each other 100% of yourselves.
So, if you’re stuck in a relationship rut, your relationship has gotten too comfortable, or you and your partner seem to have regular screaming contests, I’d ask the two of you to drop your notions of who you think your partner is and simply try on the thought that you might not have any clue who they are at all.
Get curious and enjoy rediscovering who you fell in love with the first time.
Your Turn Now
Author Bio: There’s a good chance Clay Andrews is sleeping in, enjoying a cold beer, or possibly even writing for the blog The Path to Passion giving relationship advice for men. He likes meeting new people, so stop by and say hello.