As requested by Ceoli :)
Believe me-for as obnoxious as it might sound-it freaking works. After 11 years together-we suddenly found happy doing this. And I do mean SUDDENLY-the DAY we started doing the step I outline below our whole life changed. I'm sharing it here as Ceoli asked me to after I shared some of it on another thread.
IF you want a RELATIONSHIP you have to COMMUNICATE.
Name calling, yelling, walking out, these aren't helpful in communicating.
TAKE ONE PERSON'S SINGLE SUBJECT
For example, YOUR take on safe sex.
You say ONE sentence, he repeats it back in HIS OWN WORDS "If I understand you correctly you are saying _____. Is that correct?"
If so you say yes. JUST YES.
Then he can ask "is there anything else.
You get THREE sentences. THAT IS IT.
Then it's his turn and you do the SAME THING.
Once he gets his three you switch again.
KEEP GOING until you BOTH understand each other's point of view.
THEN GO HOME and digest it.
[This step is easily skipped-BAD IDEA!!!! Each step was designed for it's ability to benefit YOU and YOUR relationship. Don't waste time by skipping around-the steps work TOGETHER.]
THEN come back and do it again about dealing with it.
"I don't feel I can have a sexual relationship with you because I don't feel safe with your terms for safe sex".
"If I understand you correctly you aren't feeling safe and therefore you want to stop having sexual relationshions with me. Is this correct?"
"Anything else?" [no sarcasm, be sincerely interested]
"Yes I love you very much and I want to be friends but I don't know how to change the dynamic of our relationship without hurting you/me."
"If I understand you correctly you love me and even though you don't feel safe enough to have sex with me you want to remain friends but aren't sure how to get from where we are to being friends without causing damage. Is that correct?"
"Is there more?"
"I am scared that you don't love me as much as I love you and therefore you won't care about how important it is to me to have you in my life."
"If I understand you correctly you are afraid I don't love you enough to work through this with you so we can remain friends. Is this correct?"
"Ok so to paraphrase, you love me and want to keep me as an important part of your life but you aren't able to feel safe having sex with me due to my choices in regards to safe sex. This makes you feel hurt, frightened and disappointed. I can understand why. I would feel hurt if I thought you didn't love me as much as I love you and I feel frightened just thinking that there is a chance we can't find a way to remain friends at the very least. I imagine it's disappointing to you to think I wouldn't care about these things like you do."
At this point nothing has been "solved" but a connection has been made with your partner and understanding has been achieved about what the issue REALLY IS for your partner.
Now you switch and maybe it goes like this...
Now maybe part II goes like this...
"I feel like you don't trust me to ensure that I use safe (enough) sex practices with my other partners."
"If I understand you correctly you feel like I don't trust in your safe sex practices. Is that correct?"
"Is there more?"
"I feel like I'm using the best option I know of but that's not good enough for you."
"If I understand you correctly you believe you are using the safest practice available. Is that correct?"
"Is there anything else?"
"I wish if you had better ideas you would share them with me so that could take them into consideration because I love you and I respect your opinions."
"If I understand you correctly you love me and respect me and want me to share my ideas for safe sex so that you can decide if they are agreeable to you. Is that correct?"
"So to paraphrase, You feel like I don't trust your safe sex practices, you think you are using the best options available but are interested in hearing any other ideas I have so that you can consider them as possibilities because you love me and respect my opinion. This must make you feel hurt and discouraged thinking that I don't trust you, frustrated that I might be keeping from you a solution that would be agreeable to both of us and disappointed that I seem to not approve of you even though you are trying so hard. I can understand that because I would feel the same way if I thought you didn't trust me or approve of me and thought you were keeping solutions from me that could help us. I'm going to go home and think about this conversation. I think we can find an amicable solution. Can we talk again tomorrow about it?"
THIS is the point where you GO HOME and THINK about it.
Then come back tomorrow with ideas and DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!!!
Our counselor says all the time
"Connect before correct"
Connect-make sure you understand, then correct misunderstandings so you can make adjustments and finally you can make EDUCATED decisions about what to do in order to ensure you meet all parties needs.
One of the most meaningful things anyone has ever said to me was to tell me,
"You aren't weird, or odd or bizarre. You are JUST L.R."
It was a real life conversation, so he actually used my real name. BUT-the point is the same. He didn't judge the aspects of who I am as good/bad, weird/normal, odd/common etc. He just accepted implicitly that all the things that I am, are just ME.
I cried when he said that to me.
I cried because it was the one thing I've longed for my whole life-someone to JUST accept me for who I am without judging what it means that I am who I am.
I cried because it was something I knew (at one time) I had from him; but I thought that had changed when I had my oldest daughter-out of wedlock, as a teen in highschool still. But-I was wrong. I'm glad I was.
That happened just recently-near Christmas I think.
THAT is why I titled this thread "Just LR". Because the most important thing for me is to know that IT IS OK for me to JUST BE ME. I haven't always thought it was, in fact I usually don't think it is and I spend a lot of time either defending the fact that I am who I am or trying to be something I'm not so people will stop condemning me. Neither thing works well for me. Both make me feel like a failure.
It's past time for ME to accept that I am JUST LR and that I should be proud of that. It's not that I can't be a BETTER LR. But I can't be Ariakas or Mono or RP or RC or Maca's dream woman or GG's dream woman or anyone else. I can only be LR and I can only aspire to being a better LR.
That's ok. :)
So, that's why I named the thread Just LR; why am I writing it at all?
I've pretty much only had threads on here that address a given moment, experience, issue or topic.
So it's hard for me to track "progress" through my posts, because they are scattered all over hell and back.
I thought-just maybe if I take a hint from all of you bright folks, I could put some of the "milestone" moments into one thread and that way when "the going gets tough" as it's bound to do over and over-
I have one simply spot to go to look at the milestones I've already passed.
Today was the first day I went on a date with GG, without asking Maca's permission.
Now, I wasn't RUDE or secretive. I did tell him I was leaving, where I was going etc.
It's just that I always ask him if it's ok. I always ask his permission.
He hasn't really said I HAVE to-but I always have and it's always bothered me.
Today-I just didn't.
He didn't freak out or anything. He told me to have fun. He stayed home, made dinner for him and the kids, watched a movie, wrote to you all, read some more of the Non-Violent Communication book.
I had a good talk with GG. It was relaxing and we both came back re-energized and in good spirits. Maca was doing ok emotionally. Nothing about the nightmare of his week is gone, but he wasn't worse just because I went out with GG.
He did hurt himself (arm) while we were gone, nothing serious.... I felt bad, he was having an issue opening a door. It could have happened even if I WERE here and he certainly wasn't blaming me or trying to make me feel guilty when he told me about it.
All in all-I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of him too.
I feel like that was a major milestone for me.
Great idea, LR. I'm glad you thought of it, a thread to record milestones and whatnot. Great idea.
And, not that I think my opinion matters much, but O my dear! Being "just LR" is plenty and then some. You are Loving Radiance.
Thank you Fidelia. ;)
A few years ago my therapist said to me "You've really got to get over your insane desire to be - normal. You're not normal, you're not normal at all - You're different and that's ok"
So, "You're not normal" is perhaps a little confronting when coming from your therapist...probably the 3 words you really don't want to hear from a therapist... :)
But, of course - It's about accepting..
I'm also happy to see milestones celebrated - What can seem like small successes and wins really should be given more value in general, it can be easy to overlook them amongst general life.
Great strategy !
"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step" applies in a lot of different places in our lives. It's those baby steps that enable us to eventually accomplish the 'big' picture. It's also those baby steps that let us start the journey, make the 'smaller' milestones and successes and get over some of the speed bumps in the journey.
Its an impossible road...
Confidence, from accepting ones own self completely is the most attractive thing a person can do...
I write that with ease... living it... *sigh*... not so much. Keep being yourself LR, you will be the dream woman you want to be ;)
Nice thread LR... :)
In theory that's how memory works.
But, I noticed in October that Maca commonly remembers only the negative things that happen in his life. It became undeniably obvious when I started logging the positives. Something negative would happen and then we would talk, he could not remember any of the things I was referencing-and yet IN THOSE MOMENTS he had expressed how great they were!
So, for Christmas I bought him a journal to write ONLY the good things in. That way, when the shit hits the fan, which is always will, he can go back and read all of the little things that went right, that he didn't preserve in his memory.
Unfortunately-it doesn't get written in a lot. :(
AT ANY RATE, I'm reading a lot, working on learning and figuring out some things about myself and hopefully will have more to write on here asap. ;)
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