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Not Telling Your Partner Something They Already Know

It is essential to understand that when you are frustrated or angry about an issue and repeat to your “meaningful other” something he already knows, it will have a negative effect on the relationship.  Men in particular often experience this as nagging.   For example, restating the obvious with statements such as, “You have to do your taxes or you’ll be in trouble;” or “I told you we are lost, why didn’t you ask for directions?” will often result in a counter attack or withdrawal into angry silence.

To help avoid these types of responses it is most important that you deal with your own feelings of frustration.   A statement about your feelings and reactions rather than an accusatory statement are the ideal way to communicate this information.   Let’s go back to the statement, “You have to pay your taxes.”   This might be heard more positively by saying, “Do you want me to help you get some of your receipts together?” or “Do you want me to remind you about the deadline date with the taxes?”  When you are lost and you feel really frustrated because your partner made an stupid   obvious mistake and if only they had listened to you, you wouldn’t have wasted an hour going around in circles.

Saying “If you had listened to me in the first place we would have been there already” will only add oil to the fire and cause more of an explosion.  However, saying “I’m tired annoyed and frustrated I’m upset that you didn’t listen to me” is expressing how you feel and what you want without putting your partner down.

An attempt to help with the solution rather than saying something that could be perceived as a criticism gives the other person some control over future communications about the taxes.  The more options people feel they have the less defensive or angry their response is likely to be.

I will end my entries for this week by talking about how to deal with being judgmental.

It is only normal to make judgments and to have opinions; however how and when to relate to that part of our behavior is crucial in being able to maintain a positive relationship with our partner.



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