Two realities are at play when you are part of a couple.  How could there not be two perspectives?  Each person is unique and has unique and separate experiences that they bring to a relationship.

Couples have difficulty when one person asserts that theirs is the only valid reality.  Arguments or resentment grow if one person in the relationship feels that their reality is ignored, discounted or dismissed.

With two perspectives and individual temperaments, processing a significant event may take several rounds.

Engage your partner by being curious about what’s going on for them. Ask about the importance and meaning of the behavior you see.  Encourage your partner to open up and share as much as possible so both of you have a clear picture of what happened between you.  

Example 1:

  • TRY THIS:  I am having a strong reaction to what’s happening between us.  I need time to sort out what I am feeling, need and want from you.  Say 24 hours, if I am ready before that I will let you know.
  • “You seem to feel strongly about _____and I am interested in what _____ means to you.  I am interested in what you need and want from me.
  • Do you have more you want to share about this?”