Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Relationships 101.

So last night Justin called me at one in the morning to keep him company on his drive home. Being the good girlfriend that I am (toot, toot) I talked to him till he got home, while he watched The Bachelor (his guilty pleasure) rerun, and all the way up until he was sleep talking to me. I definitely slept through my alarm this morning and missed my first class, whoops!
That's besides the point though, I did make it to my favorite class ever and the whole time I was in there I couldn't wait to share with you all what I learned!

My Human Sexuality class is, hands down, the best class ever! Today we discussed how to communicate with your partner about your needs in your relationship and I want to share some of this information with you!

Here are seven ways to effectively give criticism:

1. Be aware of your motivation. 
In a nut shell, if your intention is to hurt, humiliate, ridicule or 'get even' with your partner, STOP. Be able to control yourself and get over the anger before confronting the problem. 

2. Choose the time and place.
Don't bring up the problem if you're in public (this is a personal problem between the both of you, the whole world doesn't need to be involved), if both of you are at your peak of anger (with anger comes the need to be defensive and in doing that, you build a stone wall against your partner), if time is limited (this problem is an important one and can't be solved in a matter of minutes), if either partner is stressed, preoccupied or under the influence. 
I know, now you're probably thinking 'Well when is the right time to talk?' and the answer could be to simply set a date
Tell your partner that you want to discuss a problem or concern thats been bothering you and you would appreciate it if you could set aside a time to talk about it. 
Remember: this is a person you love.

3. Temper criticism with genuine praise.
Nobody likes to feel attacked. This could easily place someone in a defensive mood and shut out everything you're trying to tell them. Start your conversation with a compliment (For example, 'It means a lot to me that you were willing to talk about this with me...' 'Thank you for taking the time our of your day to discuss this with me...'). After, let them know what's bothering you in an effective way. Don't make the other person feel as if they don't do anything right, just simply state your concerns. When you're done, compliment them on the things they've done right up until this point. It will encourage them to continue and help them understand your needs. 

4. Nurture small steps toward change.
Rome wasn't built in a day. Just because you tell your partner to wash the dishes one time doesn't mean they will do it now and forever. Everyone needs to be reminded of things. Don't be afraid to remind each other of what you talked about.

"Why do you always argue with me?" "Why don't we have more sex?" "Why don't you ever let me initiate?" 
Why questions can easily become excuses instead of solving the problem. When you feel the urge to ask 'why' change it into a statement. 

For example: 
"Why don't you ever let me initiate?" ---> "I want to initiate."
"Why aren't you more romantic?" ---> "I want you to be more romantic."

6. Limit to ONE criticism at a time. 
Not one and a half, not two, ONE. This is very important. You can easily overload your partner when you start naming off a list of everything you want them to change. Things will go in one ear and out the other. Nagging isn't an effective way to communicate. Stick to one fault and talk about it until it's resolved. If you have other issues, set another date to talk to them about it. Time and patience is a virtue. 

7. Express negative emotions appropriately. 
If you feel a lot of anger building up and you just can't take it anymore, ask for 5 minutes. If they continue to follow you, demand 5 minutes. If your partner won't give you that, then that's another thing you have to talk about. 

"I need 5 minutes because I'm very angry"
"I need 5 minutes because I'm about to cry"

It's not your partners job to calm you down, those are YOUR emotions and you have to take responsibility for them. Calming yourself down by taking a breather is perfectly normal. 
It's fine to postpone a talk if you get really upset or emotional about it, but when you set the next date be prepared to discuss the problem. 

I know some of you are shy and scared to talk about things with your partner, but remember that growth doesn't come from a feeling of safety. It comes from taking risks. This is a person you love and a person that loves you in return. It will only make you stronger.

I hope this helps some of you because it did wonders for me!
Happy Tuesday my lovely followers!

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