Why doesn’t Your Partner see Things the Way You do?
It is so frustrating when you can see a solution to something or view a particular situation in a different way to your partner and they just don’t get it. This type of frustration is the foundation for many an argument.
There is almost a sense, that since you can see things clearly, that your way must be the right way and they should get that. I often come across this in my practice. People find it difficult to understand that their partner can be so different from them in many ways.
Often this observation leads couples to come to the conclusion that they have little in common. The fact that you’re different is probably the reason that you got together in the first place.
Opposites do attract. We see in our potential partner qualities that we do not have ourselves and think it would be so nice to have a little bit of that. Therein lies the attraction and there’s nothing wrong with that.
If we are open to understanding each other we can learn, grow and incorporate some of those things that we found attractive in the first place into our own lives. Unfortunately it’s far too easy to become stubborn, set in their own ways and believe that we have the answers. Anyone who disagrees with us just isn’t thinking right.
Each person has a set of experiences which are unique to themselves. These experiences have certain emotional values attached to them and certain ways of thinking attached to them. For example a bullied person will have a lot of negative emotions attached to that situation.
There will also be a pattern of thinking reinforced by every bullying episode. The thinking pattern will be along the lines of ‘I am different’, ‘I don’t belong’, ‘there is something wrong with me.’
Experiences both good and bad are accumulated over our lifetime. Relegated to the archives of our brain they come forward whenever we encounter similar situations. An emotional reaction and the associated thinking pattern kicks in quickly.
How we feel and what we are thinking will dictate how we react to a particular situation. Each of us are unique beings as our combination of life experiences is unique to ourselves. Two people observing the same situation will react to it in a different way.
This is due to a different emotional response and a different thought response. Our emotional response and thought patterns lead to us choosing a particular course of action. So the actions taken by either person can also be different.
It’s easy to see that your partner can think feel and act in a different manner to you. Usually we don’t know what the thinking and feeling processes are in the other person and only see the resulting action. It is the action they take that makes us question what’s wrong with them.
Our communication between our partner and ourselves goes wrong when we only hear what they say (action) and are not aware of the feelings and thought process behind it. Without that information we take what they are saying and interpreted that according to our emotional and thought process. The result is misunderstanding.
To avoid misunderstanding what we need to add what we’re thinking and feeling to the conversation. So instead of saying to your partner “you might think it’s a good idea to go to that but I don’t want to go” which only conveys information, it would be better to add your emotions and thought process.
If instead you said “I really don’t feel comfortable being around that particular group of people and I get really worried and self-conscious so I prefer not to go”, that is a different conversion. The information is there in its entirety – how you feel, how you are thinking and what your action is.
This allows the other person to address the real information. They can ask questions about what is it you don’t like about that group of people and how it makes you feel self-conscious. This achieves a better understanding of each other and a minimization of arguments.
Without all this information it is left to us to assume what is behind our partner’s decision not to go. When we assume we usually come up with worst case senerio answers such as “they don’t care about me anymore”.