Being Part of a Whole Is Hard Work
Adulting Is Hard...
Remember the group projects we used to do in high school? Invariably, the work would get done, but do you recall the work involved in trying to work with your partner? The compromise? The having to swallow certain comments back in order to truly get anything done and be successful?
Well, life's like that, too. It doesn't matter whether you are discussing a job partner or a life partner. There are compromises to be made and sometimes, you may end up biting your tongue in half in an effort to keep the proverbial waters calm. Relationships are tough to navigate in general; there's a give and take, to an extent, and it's all too easy to fall under one or the other of the categories instead of walking the fine line between the two.
That can lead to relationship challenges, especially when it comes to communication. Resentment can run high if one or both partners are feeling as though they're doing all the "heavy lifting" in a relationship. Communication can falter, and then, you become as though you're roommates and if you're lucky, friends and nothing more. While that may work if that's what you truly want, most people are looking for something that's a little more fulfilling in their long term relationships with a partner.
So how do you work around it? Of course, if you're the likes of Erica Kane, or some other soap opera vixen, you're looking for ways to check up on your person, whether that means skulking around their phones, rifling through their personal email accounts, or even just tracking their movements. However, we need to function as though we have some sort of rationality coursing through our veins and not jealousy - we need to communicate as though we were mature and responsible adults.
But why is that so hard?
Relationships Can Be Funny
Communication Is Hard, But Necessary
Notice that the word is communication and not yelling.
If someone yells at you, I'd bet you feel instantly defensive and start shutting down. You might feel as though the other person has no interest in hearing what you have to say and that you'll either be talked over or simply dismissed, so there's no equal exchange of ideas. There's no opportunity for calm discussion; there's only resentment and pain.
The biggest part of communication is knowing that it's about exchange. It's not "I talk, you listen and we're done." It's all about sending messages to each other, either verbally or through written means, and actually allowing that passage of a message to come through. You have to stop and listen to what's being said, see how you feel about it, and then respond honestly and openly about it.
You can't bully someone into listening to you; you have to be willing to work with the person in order to ensure that words are clear between both parties. You need to be willing to stop and listen to the other person's ideas while still working towards clearly communicating your own honest views.
There's also the whole notion that you need to pay attention to body language. Ursula the sea witch sang in The Little Mermaid that people "shouldn't underestimate the importance of...body language!" and that is very true. Nearly 90 percent of the communication we have is nonverbal, which can be a very difficult sort of communication to interpret. In addition, you can't pull a Homer Simpson and just glaze over like the donut you might love to eat. You have to stay focused and pay attention to what's happening during the conversation and around you. Having such a conversation would not work if you're basically out to lunch about it.
So, work on sharing messages back and forth; don't stop working together for the growth of your relationship and turn things into "fine" and "whatever." It's going to be a real challenge, but it's so terribly worth it in the end, for you, your partner, and everyone else that might be involved in the relationship - kids, relatives, whomever that might be adversely affected if something goes south for your relationship.
Just trust in the communication flow and be open and honest. It will work.