I hear so often of couples or people within other relationships complaining about their partner on Twitter or Facebook these days. The phrase may take the route of, ‘he doesn’t understand me any more’ or ‘she never listens’ or something along those lines.
I find it a real shame that these outbursts, so honest and fixing squarely on the root of the problem, or at least on the centre of the person’s feelings about the problem, are directed to their social media, rather than to their partner.
This isn’t to say I am fed up of my friends putting their feelings on Facebook or Twitter (or G+ I suppose, for the very, very few ~winks~). But a lot of the time reading these statuses I cannot help thinking to myself (loudly), well then – tell them!
Surely it is a lot better to save yourself the time, hurt, heartache and misery of wondering if and when things will get better and just ‘have it out’ with the person responsible for causing you upset. In all likelihood there are two situations that could be happening:
1. They don’t realise that whatever they are doing, or not doing, is upsetting you as much
2. They do realise and they just don’t care
If it’s the first, they will carry on in complete ignorance of your feelings unless you open up that mouth and communicate. I feel this is especially true of men who can be less perceptive to emotional needs than women. Not sexist, just true.
If it’s the second, then you have bigger problems than merely stating how cross you are with them on a Facebook status. If they don’t care about upsetting you, why are you with them?
Let’s take the approach that they in fact DO care, but are just oblivious to the way you’re feeling. As a woman, I refute the ideals of many a man that upset has to be sensible and rational in order to be tackled and resolved. I get upset about many an irrational thing. I can also know it’s very irrational to be upset about X, Y or Z – but this does not have a calming effect on my feelings, unfortunately.
What will help, usually the only thing that will help, is feeling listened to, understood, accepted for having this strange reason for being upset (in your or their eyes) and treated gently. Being asked what they can do to ease your upset and help make things better. Being told that they didn’t mean to upset you; they love you and want to make you happy.
I know, idealistic. The thing is, this is not going to happen, ever, unless you put it to your partner that this is more than what you want – it’s what you need.
It’s the absolute truth that communication is key, in my experience.
This is not to say that my relationships are perfect, oh, far from it. There is a build up of frustration, I don’t take my own advice and I have those ‘girl times’ of absolutely fuming while he sits in abject oblivion to my silent, seething resentment that is over some minutae of life, seeming all important in this moment however and the be all and end all to existence.
I may be a tad dramatic.
However, we do have intimacy that comes from shared learning experiences such as this, because eventually I will either drag him to a private room or just burst out where I am, with a “what the hell are/were you thinking?” leading to his “huh?” face (come on girls, you know that man face thing) and I rant a little bit, cry a little bit, talk lots and put my feelings into every differently worded sentence I can manage so that he doesn’t miss out on an iota of how I feel about whatever it is. I’m just that lovely.
I know that there is this fear of rocking the boat, that if you say anything then it will cause more drama and hassle. But isn’t yur happiness worth it? If you were really upsetting your partner with something would you want to know about it or would you want them to be sounding off on their socials or to their mates instead of coming to you? It might be something really silly and small, easily remedied. What a waste of angry and hurt emotion to sound it out to the wrong audience!
Over time I have learned to try and word things a bit more tactfully while still getting to the root of my upset. Men in particular can be sensitive and this can lead to defenses being put up if they feel attacked. You don’t want them to clam up entirely and not talk. I try to put things across from a, “I know you didn’t mean to upset me like this and it’s probably entirely silly and irrational BUT…” point of view rather than a, “you did this to me and I am so mad right now I never want to see you again but don’t you dare walk out of this room or I will hate you even more!” kinda way.
There’s nothing more annoying than telling someone to f**k off in the middle of an argument only for them to do just that, leaving you to rant at the back of a closed door. Ho hum.
If it’s a long standing issue or worry, perhaps try to bring it up when you are both calm, relaxed and in an environment that won’t exacerbate bad feeling. During his favourite sci-fi flick probably isn’t the best time. After the sci-fi flick, much better.
Not everyone can rush out to a candlelit dinner every time they have a problem, so I won’t patronise everyone by suggesting donning some Agent Provocateur underneath a microscopic mini dress and heading to your local Gordon Ramsay one-stop romance shop. Real life gets in the way too often, work, children, lack of finances and the rest.
Of course if you are able to, then hurray! Oysters, caviar and champagne, maintenant s’il vous plaît.
Back to reality, talking is free and hopefully you can find some quiet time together to talk about these things. Getting an issue aired and sorted before sleep feels fantastic.
Start afresh and get those feelings resolved. Live your life honestly and without troubles tangling up your mind.
Life is far too short to tell your problems to Facebook or Twitter rather than to the one person that can actually make you feel better. Don’t be afraid to value the importance of your feelings.
Note: this post has been written from a hetero woman’s standpoint, please don’t take offence. Instead, feel free to insert the gender of your choice – my feelings on the subject still stand.