Are You Frustrated With Your Man? Part 3

How to Harvest the Goodness in Your Relationship
Even When It Feels Bad


When your man says something to you that hurts your feelings or triggers feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, that “makes you wrong or bad” or that blames you, it is time to respond with curiosity rather than react with defensiveness

Your response can either start an argument, or create understanding and connection.

Right in the moment that you want to defend yourself, you can chose to take another path.

Yes, right in the midst of your upset, you can learn to respond so that you are building your relationship up, rather than tearing it down.

When you feel yourself flushed with anger, welling up with tears, riled with frustration, burning with resentment, or humiliated with embarrassment, it is time to stop yourself from reacting.

This creates a “pattern interrupt.” It slows down the conversation so that you can really communicate, rather than talk at each other.

How do you do this?  With absolute commitment and lots of practice!

  1. You must commit yourself to creating a better relationship (thus a better life) with your mate.
  2. You must dedicate yourself to learning new skills and a new mindset to create a connection with your mate that you may never have thought was possible.
  3. You must practice these skills as diligently as a toddler learning to walk, making hundreds of attempts before getting comfortable and reliably good at them.
  4. You must be easy on yourself while you are learning, giving yourself a break when you revert to old habits. It takes time to re-train yourself.

Turning Upset into Understanding

The KEY is to stop yourself from reacting in your usual way. This is hard. You have been reacting in the same way for years. As my friend Sam Horn, the author of Tongue Fu, says “Tongue Glue” is often the best response. (Glue your tongue to the roof of your mouth!)

Once you have stopped yourself from reacting, you will have created space for you to respond differently. Now you can ask a question! That’s it. Only ask this question!

What did you mean by that?

That question needs to be asked with real curiosity, not delivered as a sarcastic remark. You need to ask it with a mild tone of voice. If you are high-pitched, loud, or emotional, it won’t work.  

Why ask what he meant? After all, isn’t it perfectly clear what he meant? NO! What you think he means and what he is talking about could be worlds apart.

Your job here is just to listen and understand what he is saying.

The only way to create real communication (and connection) is to ASK and LISTEN!

If he doesn’t get what you are asking say, “I just heard you say,
_______________ (say back to him what you heard), and it hurt (or it felt bad) and I was wondering if that is what you meant?

Then shut up and let him talk.

  • Don’t put words in his mouth
  • Don’t assume that you know what he’s thinking
  • Don’t tell him what he’s thinking (men hate that)
  • Don’t twist his words to take them in the worst possible way he could have meant them.
  • Don’t defend yourself or give your point of view

Listen with one purpose:
To understand what he meant to say, 
NOT to make a case for what you heard.

When you are listening to his words, stop thinking about what you are going to say next, just listen. After he talks, you will have time to think about what he just said.

Then you can respond with another inquiry, “Help me understand that” or repeat back what you think he just said to you and say, “Did I hear you right?” Again, listen, wait to respond, then ask another question.

When you really understand what he actually meant, thank him for helping you to see his point of view, even if you don’t agree.

At this point, you can share your point of view with him if it will help create more understanding between you and strengthen your relationship. If it won’t, just skip it.  

This is called real communication. It does absolute wonders for relationships. It creates a deeper understanding, tender intimacy, sweet connection, concerned caring, warm kindness and devoted love.

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6 Responses to “Are You Frustrated With Your Man? Part 3”

  1. This is sooooo good. I can’t tell you how many times I have hurt my wife’s feelings and NEVER had a clue as to why. I didn’t mean to be offensive, but I find myself “stepping on her emotions” when I don’t mean to.

    The instructions / technique are an excellent way to help us guys understand the impact of our thoiughts and actions.

  2. Rene' Erard says:

    This really works! Just 2 nights ago I was grocery shopping kind of late and my boyfriend called to find out why I wasn’t home yet. He said I was always putting things off to the last minute. I held my tears back and the next night I sat down next to him and said, “Do you really think I put things off to the last minute a lot?” He then qualified what he had said and told me that I need to plan what I need to get done ahead of time. Then I said, “I’m not sure how to avoid what I did that upset you in the future because I don’t always know what I need to get done until I think of it in the moment.” And I asked him to help me plan what I have to do each day since he’s so good with scheduling and time and I’m not usually thinking about time. This “clarification” conversation got us back to the love right away.

  3. Eva says:

    Rene’, Good job stopping yourself from reacting. That is what gets us in trouble. The next conversation could be about accepting and enjoying you and your feminine nature. One thing that men often do is try to remake us in their image. Then they don’t like when we lose our fun, random, exuberant qualities that make us the women that we are. Be sure that you aren’t giving yourself up in order to make him happy. The key is have meaningful conversations that create greater understanding. It’s the understanding that gets you back to the love, not being the way he wants you to be.

  4. Julie says:

    I just experienced listening rather than reacting and the connection and intimacy did increase this weekend on a road trip. We were in the car for two days - one day for over seven hours. I guess I started to get a little critical of my man’s driving and when he said he was going to pull over and let me drive I asked why. He said I was getting bossy. Instead of feeling defensive I really listened and appologized for acting like that to him. I realized that what I really needed was to drive for a while and he was happy for the break. We turned it into a fun exchange and I thanked him for sharing that I was being bossy so I had a chance to appologize and it helped me notice that I had a need for a change for a while. It made the rest of the trip more fun for both of us and we felt closer because we both felt heard by each other. I felt a deeper understanding of myself and of him and we held hands for the rest of the day. It feels really great to really listen to each other - thank you Eva!

  5. stella says:

    I saw a picture in my boyfriends house, he was kissing another girl in the picture. I didnt ask him but each day i remember my heart hurts

  6. my says:

    Thank you so much for this :)

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