Have you ever found yourself laboring to explain to your special someone how they hurt your feelings or disrespected you?
As two people come together and get to know each other, it is reasonable to expect things will come up as an indication that the two of you don’t see eye to eye on a particular subject. In some cases, you may feel bad, disrespected, disregarded or betrayed, and depending on how a sensitive a person you are, you could be hurt badly.
But you’re getting to know this person, are developing feelings of attachment, and/or falling in love with this person. You fancy the idea of having him or her in your life enough to reach out to them in an effort to help them understand how you feel, which is a normal course of action in any relationship.
On your first attempt to explain yourself to someone, you expect to be heard and felt. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes, as you know you, too, probably have disrespected some one else, not on purpose but in a moment when you were busy, focused, distracted, or had lost track of time, etc… and hurt someone’s feelings unintentionally.
Or maybe we’re talking about crossing boundaries. When you’re in a relationship, you can expect to cover all the rules and boundaries that exist in your head and your heart in the beginning, and you just sort of assume that you’re both completely compatible based on how you feel about this person.
If you and your partner have healthy boundaries, of course, the best way to communicate your boundaries is to merely talk about them and establish a mutual respect about each other’s boundaries. The next best way to bring up your boundaries is when either one of you find yourself crossing the other’s boundaries.
This is a good time to communicate, establish and negotiate the honoring of the boundary in your relationship or to make amendments or accommodations for the boundary in question. Some boundaries protect us from physical or emotional pain, but may change over time, the less we need them and as we continue to grow emotionally, while some may remain non-negotiable.
Okay, so someone’s crossed the line, and your feelings were hurt. You were considerate enough to explain the situation to your partner, and he or she heard you, respected you, apologized and agreed to take your feeling into consideration, should the same set of circumstances appear once again. And in a perfect world, in an adult relationship between two people who care about each other, this is the highest and best approach and outcome.
But what if it happens again?
Even though you felt like the two of you were perfectly clear and in agreement, now, you’re second-guessing, wondering if your initial expression was misunderstood, maybe you didn’t make yourself clear enough and it may be reasonable to talk about this particular situation again.
So, this time, you’re explaining to your partner in greater detail, including much more stories, demonstrations, possibly including audio/visual tools, drawing charts, graphs, maps and using bullet lists (yes, this can go into outrageous extremes, depending on the one doing the communicating) to make sure there is no misunderstanding in the future.
If you feel like you’ve been heard and your partner has endured your presentation, thanked you for clearly expressing yourself, understanding the two of you are basically using a common language and level of understanding in respect and honor of your clearly expressed ideas, and he or she agrees to honor your perspective if faced with similar circumstances in the future.
That should do it.
If it doesn’t, and the same grievance comes up again, you can be relatively certain that something else is going on, here. You know you’re being heard. You’ve made every effort to establish rapport and understanding, yet here you are again.
This could feel like abuse, and anyone who knows you intimately, like your friends and family, might jump to that conclusion immediately, especially if you (or they) have had experience with a similar situation which did not fare well in the past.
The truth is, by this point, you can ascertain that this person is not going to change his or her thoughts or actions on this deal to accommodate you. You have to realize that this person is hard-wired this way and is never going to change for you.
Going back to the drawing board once again to try to explain yourself is fruitless. Nothing good could come from it, and your partner will only be going through the motions, agree to do or say anything you want to hear, but not really. They just want your grueling expression to stop, so they can get back to living their life.
Plus, you might be imposing abuse on your partner by badgering him or her endlessly about this particular subject. Just stop it. This could go on forever, and nothing good could come from that.
It’s not on you to expect to change your partner, just as you would not expect your partner to want you to change for him or her, although, some compromise along the way is reasonable, as long as it’s not too extreme.
Oh, you might think that if you love him or her enough, that they will realize one day that you were right all along, he or she instantly changes, as if being touched by a magic fairy’s wand, and the two of you will walk off into the sunset hand in hand in perfect harmony, with sparkles and butterflies all around.
The chances of that are pretty slim. So, at this point, you have to ask yourself, “Can I live with this?” It’s on you at this point, not the other person. Someday this person might change due to their own personal growth and evolvement, but you have to know, this is the way it’s going to be, probably forever. Can you live with that?
If loosening up on a boundary here and there is acceptable to you, then think about changing the way you think about this particular situation, consider making a compromise. Keep in mind if you are making the majority of the compromises, this will likely not be in your best interest in the long run, and you’re likely going to resent or regret this later.
On the other hand, in the rarest of circumstances, both parties begin to grow and change in synergistic harmony, evolving together in a symphony of continued awareness and enlightenment. If each of their individual paths is harmonious with the other’s, this can be the bliss which we all seek in a long-term relationship.