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    Diffusing the Heated Moments with Our Partners

    By Seth Mullins     

    Many of the problems that intimate partners face result from unspoken assumptions that both of them are holding onto. Difficulties with communication arise when our partners are saying one thing and we’re hearing an entirely different thing in our heads. Conversations move farther and farther away from their original issues as each person reacts not to the words said but rather to their own internal feelings – which oftentimes are not expressed, but just assumed to be understood by the other.

    A lot of this can be avoided if we take the time to verify whether or not our impressions – i.e., what we think they are telling us – are accurate. “So let me know if I’ve heard you right…” This creates a pause for clarity, and can prevent us from reacting to ideas that the people we’re talking to may not have even intended with their statements. For some people, having conversations in such a structured way can seem to take much of the spontaneity and joy out of a relationship. But speaking the words on the tips of our tongues when we’re not even conscious of where they’re coming from can get us into trouble.

    The best way to insure that we’re on the same page with our partners – before we blindly react – is to check in frequently. We can echo back what we’ve heard, express our feelings in regards to it, and then step back and give them an opportunity to either agree or else to correct our misperceptions.

    Taking a moment to check in like this can not only promote a deeper level of exchange but also allow time for our emotions to settle. Misunderstandings will be more easily cleared up when we are calm and centered. Reactivity on one or both sides can make a conversation turn ugly very quickly. This is a shame, because oftentimes one of us is not really hearing what the other is saying but rather just hearing the echo of voices inside our own minds. The words we’re paying attention to actually stem from our self-doubts and insecurities. Taking time to clarify communications can help people to differentiate between their own projections and what was really said.

    Too often, what could be constructive discourse between partners gets derailed because it hits on one or the other’s inner wounds. With a little practice and conscious application, we can learn to recognize this when it starts happening and bring the conversation back to the issues at hand. The simple act of stepping back and allowing a little breathing room, then returning our talk to square one, will move us closer to real understanding. Conscious practice of this technique over time will allow for love to flourish despite the occasional bouts of animosity.

    Written by Seth MullinsRate this article:

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