Little Shift, Huge Impact

One of the most interesting aspects of being in a relationship with SCL is understanding how our personality differences affect not only our needs and desires, but how we perceive the actions (or even inactions) of the other.

For example, there would be times when SCL would arrive home and I'd be back in my room. And he would not say anything to me. He'd hop on his computer or turn on the TV, but never acknowledge that I was there, too. This would really hurt my feelings. I'd start thinking, "He doesn't want to see me. He doesn't care that I'm home." And I'd begin to think that he was upset with me and then I'd maybe even get a little angry.

This is because if I, the extreme extrovert and communicative one, were to come home and say nothing to SCL it would be because I was ignoring him and trying to make a point about being angry. My only frame of understanding this silence was how I would mean it.

Bu , as it turns out, SCL was not ignoring me, nor did he not want to see me. No, he was thinking that if I was in my room, I was probably working, and for him to come in would be a disruption and would bother me. That's because for him, it would be. So, he only had his own understanding to go on.

This is why communication is so freaking important. As soon as I was able to stop being pissed off and articulate my feelings about it--and then listen to his side of things--it was cleared up. He got it, I got it, and it's made a huge difference in the way we interact. Of course he's still getting used to coming into my room to say hi, but now that he understands how much it means, he's really making the effort. Something so little can have huge implications for how we're feeling about the relationship. And it didn't take a grand gesture to do it; just a minor shift in our relating.

Now when SCL comes home, he says hi and chats for a few. Sometimes he'll come into my room while I'm working just to tell me something funny he heard on the news. And I in turn feel cared for and paid attention to, making it much easier for me to give him the space and quiet he needs to feel recharged.

Have you seen how a minor shift can affect your relationship, for the better or worse?

6 comments:

  1. K and I have a similar issue with this...sometimes he gets home after a long day of work and class and doesn't really want to talk. But this is when I want to blab on and on about all the random things I thought of during the day and couldn't tell him. It used to make me feel like he was brushing me off and I would get offended but now I try and back off a little bit. I find some things can wait and it is better when I actually have his full attention!

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  2. It's all about figuring out how the other one thinks and trying to adjust to it. Of course both sides have to do this!

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  3. This is so interesting to read considering the interpersonal communications class I'm taking right now. In fact, it completely applies to what I JUST learned.

    D is definitely more extroverted than I am but we both tend to like to communicate with each other, especially if we haven't seen each other all day. So luckily for us we both come home and seek the other one out!

    Then again, when I was working at the coffee shop and trying to fall asleep at 7PM because I had to open the next morning I HATED when he would come home and start chatting. Drove me crazy!

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  4. TNS, this sounds very familiar. We went or shall I say I went through this too. And found out the hard way (and it took lots o time) that men and women think very differently when it comes to...personal time? I think your on the right track about talking about it. Now he knows. And it is very good that you now understand that he didn't bother you because he didn't love you but the exact opposite...he loves you so much that he didn't want to keep you from getting your work done. He will always struggle with this, I know I will. Its how some men are made. But at least know he knows it ok.

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  5. Read the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman if you haven't done so. It won't solve everything but will explain what you need from your partner to show that they love you. Its that communication thing your talking about. Some people feel loved by gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch and spending quality time.

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  6. It's funny you mention this because I'm actually talking about this on my blog next week, because I have terrible communication skills. It's something I really want to work on before I start a relationship. It's important to know your partner needs and to talk about what your needs are so your relationship can work more successfully.

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