Today’s blog comes from the wise duo Susie and Otto Collins, who warn us all about asking questions that can lead to more serious issues in our relationships. I am sure I am guilty of asking at least one of these in the past! Oops…
If you’ve ever asked yourself the question: “Was it something I said?” chances are, it was. Communication with your spouse or partner can be tricky business. You may have the best intentions and only want your beloved to move closer to you, but the way you choose to tell your truth and say whatever is on your mind can unintentionally cause a rift between you and your partner.
And if that rift is not addressed, it can grow bigger and become deadly to your relationship. You really know it if, after your “helpful” advice, or opinion-sharing, there seems to be more tension and disconnection than there was before.
Because of this, you may feel like you can’t be totally honest or that you have to hold back and only say what you think your partner wants to hear. Of course, this isn’t healthy either. Resentment and tension can form from silence and this is detrimental too.
For a relationship that’s open, honest and truly happy, you have to talk with your partner—even about issues you two don’t agree on. Set difficult (or even everyday) conversations up for success by NOT asking your partner questions like these:
1. “Why don’t you ____ anymore?”
It is helpful to talk about specific behaviors with your partner, but you put him or her on the defensive when you use an accusatory tone and allege that this thing (that you desire) never happens. It usually isn’t true and comes off as nagging or desperate.
Be sure to acknowledge it when your partner does what you like and appreciate—even it it doesn’t happen as often as you’d like. Do say to your beloved something like, “I love it when you hold my hand when we’re out together.”
2. “Is she pretty?”
You might not consider yourself to be a jealous person, but if a question like this comes out of your mouth, think again. You put your partner in an impossible position when you ask something like this. Will you even believe what he (or she) responds? Will a “No” quell your worries and insecurity? When you’re tempted to ask this kind of a question, pause and go within to soothe the stories of not being good enough that you may be telling yourself.
3. “Do I look fat in this?”
This may sound like a stereotypical question, but it’s possibly one you’ve posed to your partner before. It’s another impossible question because it’s usually about you and your self-criticism and doubt. There is no “safe” answer he (or she) can give you. No matter what your partner says, you’re still going to feel self-conscious and ugly if that’s the belief you have about yourself.
It makes sense that you want to know that you’re attractive to your partner, but you won’t be able to hear (or believe) a compliment if you don’t feel it from your own self first. Healthy self-esteem and body image are top priorities for a happy and close relationship.
4. “What’s wrong with you?”
It’s frustrating when the one you love is acting quiet or weird and you have no idea why. Your partner’s withdrawal from you can seem like a rejection. Instead of demanding to know why your partner is not his or her usual self, take a moment (and a deep breath) and get clear.
Maybe you already know what this change in mood or behavior is about but you’re overlooking the obvious or maybe you don’t know. Different questions like, “How can I help?” or “I love you and I am here to listen if you want to talk” are much more effective ways to invite your partner to open up to you.
Any other questions you can think of that we should never be asking our partners?
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