So often, when a couple comes to see me, one of them is “dancing for two.” You may recognize the pattern: one person knows what the other person thinks, what the other person wants, why the other person does what s/he does and what needs to happen to solve the relationship problems. And, that is usually–you guessed it–fix the other person!
The problem with dancing for two is that most of the information the dancer thinks s/he has is based on conjecture, conclusion and previous relationships, rather than on dialogue and demonstration with their current partner. The dancer is making it up!
Yes, of course, s/he may be a keen and insightful observer, but–this is a BIG BUT–no one is a mind reader. I know it is difficult to believe, but mind reading skills are very limited and mostly the fodder for sideshows. The only way we can know what another person thinks and feels, and why they think and feel it, is by engaging in honest dialogue that takes a lot of time and a willingness to both listen, hear and talk about difficult things. Big difference! Hearing is what you do with your ears. It will allow you to parrot back what the other person said in an attempt to demonstrate that you’re listening. That’s not it! Listening is when your ears, heart and mind are fully engaged…at the same time! In my experience as a counselor and mediator, I know that the very best thing anyone in a relationship can do is to reflect long and hard on themselves.
Ask these questions:
- What do I value?
- How do I demonstrate that in my relationship?
- Am I being kind, generous, clear and loving?
- What could I do that would express my love more fully?
- What do I need to discuss with my partner that I am currently avoiding?
- What do I want that I am not currently getting from my partner?
- Do I have strong boundaries and the skill and willingness to express them?
- Am I blaming my partner for my situation, condition or circumstances?
- Am I taking responsibility for my thoughts, words and actions in this relationship?
- Am I trying to “fix” my partner and avoid reflecting on my part in this relationship?
These will help you understand the dynamics you bring to your relationship. Then, you can relax and stop trying to dance for two. It’s exhausting…and usually in error. Focus on your part and dance to the best of your ability. That’s your part in the tango of life!
If you want help with relationship problems and relationship issues, I’m available to help in my office or by phone. Just visit: http://www.sowpeace.com/work-with-rhoberta/