You had a disagreement with your partner.
It was over something stupid at first but, it turned into something bigger.
He/she apologized but you couldn’t let it go. You were so upset. As much as you wanted to take the high road and not stay angry, you stewed and ruminated and stomped around the house.
Now it’s the morning, and you both left for work. Your stomach is in knots.
You don’t want this disagreement to drag on forever. You want to forgive him/her, but you don’t know how to get over your feelings.
Contrary to popular belief, disagreements aren’t what damage relationships; it’s the amount of time that people take to recover or hold a grudge after a disagreement.
I’m sure you have had disagreements in the past when you apologized and then your partner didn’t get over it. They carried on being stressed and angry. Those types of things can ruin hours of yours and your partner’s day, a whole day, or more.
Have you noticed someone would be prepared to wreck the next 48 hours on the back of a disagreement? That is so difficult to deal with because when someone’s recovery time is that long, you can end up wasting a third of your relationship on getting back to normal after a disagreement. Life is too short for that.
No matter how compatible you are, in relationships, disagreements are inevitable.
So instead of focusing on not having disagreements in the first place, what you need to focus on is recovery time after a disagreement. If you have a discussion or have a debate about something and then quickly snap back from it, that’s a very powerful place to be.
The hard part is when you are in a bad place after a disagreement. I know you can relate. You have been in disagreement when afterward you still don’t feel right and you don’t quite know how to get over it at that moment. You want to move on but you don’t know how. You’re still angry or something is still bothering you.
These, I believe, are moments when you need to be vulnerable.
I’ll be a little personal with you… Do you remember an instance like this when, in the early stages of your relationship, the person you were with was downloading photos from her/his phone from the past three years onto her/his laptop? You were both sitting together as this was being done and it was flashing through the photos as it does when you download them.
One of the photos was a naked photo. You saw this and, of course, you knew immediately what it was. It was something that had been sent to someone before you. It broke your heart at that moment. This is an irrational kind of jealousy if you think about it. It was before you. And you know you would love whoever you are with to send you naked photos, so you can’t be angry at a previous guy/gal for expecting the same.
But you were jealous and you reacted with anger. You were annoyed and jealous and territorial. In the emotional part of your brain, you probably thought, “How could you send someone else a photo like this?”
You were angry, but you knew you didn’t have a right to be angry. Yet, you couldn’t get over it. She/he was apologetic and she/he said, “I am so sorry you had to see that.”
How much later were you still being in this place where you were obsessing about it? You need to open up and say something. For example, “Listen, I know that I don’t have a right to be angry right now but I am, and I need you to help me. I don’t know how to get over this right now, I just need you to help me get over it.”
Now, the beautiful thing about this is that you are giving your partner a road map. Many people in disagreements go into themselves and they don’t give people a clue about how they can help, so they are waiting for that person to say the perfect thing. They are waiting for that person to say something that is going to solve it. But they are not actually helping them or giving them guidance.
If you can say to your partner, “Listen, I am being sensitive right now but I need you to help me. I want you to be on my side and help me right now,” what you are really doing is being a great teammate. Because you are showing them how to help you to resolve your feelings, you are inviting them to partner in resolving what she/he experienced.
Otherwise, if you alienate them and go inside yourself, they now look at it as a hopeless case. They go, “Argh! Nothing I am saying is working. You are still in this bad mood,” and then they shut down.
When you say these 6 simple words – “I need you to help me” – you are inviting them to partner with you in the situation. That is what partner means–a person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others.
So if you can’t get yourself over a disagreement at the moment, appeal to your partner. Be vulnerable, tell him/her that you are feeling sensitive, tell him/her you are still angry, but also tell him/her that you want him/her to help you. Then you give him/her a road map and that’s something everyone wants with his/her partner
You make the most beautiful thing you can be in a relationship, which is a genuine partner.
Maybe the term partner has become a cliché. Your relationship can be more meaningful and powerful when you give your partner a road map to be the partner you deserve. And yes, the road goes both ways.