Competitive people have relationships, too.
Focused on winning in your relationship? That sets you up as opposing forces, battling to win.
Competitive people sometimes forget that's not what creates great, stable, long-term relationships. You need to become a joint force, a team. You and your partner doing life together. That's the basis you need to be on.
So many times, clients come in, each with the hope that I'm going to agree that they--and preferably, they alone--are right and their partner is wrong. That is very seldom the case!
It's the way that they are coming at relationship that is causing all the uproar. Neither partner has learned that forging a relationship means being interested in what your partner is thinking, feeling, needing, and wanting. It means listening, rather than being defensive. It means coming to any conversation with an intent to learn about your partner, rather than with an intent to protect yourself, no matter what! It means avoiding passive aggressive behaviors and recognizing them. Relationship issues come to the forefront when you become opposing forces.
What sets up opposing forces?
- "I'm right and you're wrong."
- "My needs are more important than yours."
- "I'm logical and you're always talking about feelings."
The battle is on if you go into a discussion with those mindsets!
No one is happy, and each of you dreads getting into conversations that go that way. Soon, you're not talking much. And, when you do talk, it's about superficial things about dates, times, and events. You stay away from sticky subjects, and avoid conflict.
Conflict is natural. You did notice that there are two of you, right? Two different lives. Two different upbringings. Two difference personalities. Two different styles. Building a relationship that works well and lasts requires a lot of working through all those differences. You can't ignore them. One is not right and the other one wrong.
Good relationship advice will always include:
- learn to listen well, with the intent to learn about your partner
- take time to brainstorm and explore many options for solving problems (HINT: There are more than two...lol)
- acknowledge that "being different" and "being wrong" are not the same
- consciously look for places of agreement within every conversation. You CAN find something.
- remember how you want to feel about yourself and your partner at the end of a difficult conversation, and aim at it
Decide to stick to the relationship issues. Don't expand the conversation to sweeping negatives about your partner.
In all things, BE HARD ON ISSUES AND SOFT ON YOUR PARTNER! Become a joint force capable of solving relationship issues, not opposing forces determined to win at all costs!
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© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
The Relationship Help Doctor
Disclaimer: All advice, insights and suggestions made here are not to be construed as psychological or legal advice. Any actions you undertake as a result of reading any article, book, video, ebook or blog post from Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, are entirely your own. Having worked with individuals and couples for more than twenty-five years, she offers her insights and opinions for your consideration only.