Relationship help from Dr. Rhoberta Shaler of the Optimize Center | Couples Counseling | Mediation | Anger Management Do you think you might need relationship help because your partner sometimes seems like  an alien?

Does it seem that the person with whom you are trying to communicate is from a different planet, or speaks an entirely foreign language to you?

Well, I don't know about the planet part, the language difference can be VERY real. The way we use words, posture, tone of voice and facial expression to convey our messages means we're speaking several languages at once, too. It's amazing we can talk to one another at all!

Don't despair. You can communicate--if you both are willing and have the desire to do so. Yes, that's a big IF in many cases. You so want that person to know what you think, feel and want. You need them to know so that the relationship can progress positively. The first step in the conversation is to ascertain if you both want the relationship to improve. And, in every primary romantic relationship, that willingness can be very differently motivated. Hopefully, your partner wants to understand and be understood, too.

After thirty years of making it easier for people to have difficult conversations, I really know how frustrating, confusing, irritating and, even, debilitating an unresolved issue can become. I've had them, too! Talk is the only real vehicle we have for creating a solution. Yes, of course, there is always the very clear message of cleaning out the house and the bank account to make a statement. I get that, but I don't recommend it. Learning to both express ourselves clearly and check that the message was accurately received are imperative steps.

Hearing is when our ears work. Listening is when our head and heart are engaged in the activity with our ears. The closer the relationship, the more listening and less just hearing is required.  Of course, wise people choose to listen more than hear in most cases. And, there are the pretenders:

"Of course, I'm listening. I can watch the game (or fold the clothes) and listen to you at the same time."

NOT! You might think you can, but you actually cannot. The brain can't do that, so, neither can you. At least, not with the care and attention your partner and the relationship deserves.

The real MEAT AND POTATOES of all this is that people process life, language, events and feelings differently than one another. Each person's perception is tinted by their current perspective and their past experience. Each person expresses themselves differently for those same reasons.

Sorry, but no one is actually right about anything other than facts that can be substantiated. And that's where the the trouble usually brews: each person wants to be right.  And, each is right...from their point of view.

It is only when we are willing to give up the focus on wanting to be right and are ready to work together, that the relationship will progress and true intimacy can be created.  Sure, one still says 'Potatoes" and the other, "Petahtuhs," but if you really want to cook together, you might want to make a shared decision to call them "SPUDS" and learn to move on. If you don't, it is likely you both could starve!

P.S. If you're both starving already, get the help you need right away.  (See below.)

P.S.S.  Need to learn how to agree on "SPUDS?" You will benefit greatly from relationship help, when the "who-said-what-to-whom" and "my-truth-is-a-little-more-true" syndromes become the most frequent interchanges you have with your partner. That's why I do private and small group sessions by Skype video as well as in my office.  I'll give you the relationship help, insights and solution to get back on the same page and get cookin'!  Visit: OptimizeCenter.com/work-with-rhoberta  You can even book an appointment there once you log in.




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