Seems like the stars and planets have clustered to bring pain to people’s love lives this past week. I’ve gotten many calls and emails from heartbroken people who are baffled and confused by unexpected “love turmoil.”
I don’t know what the celestial answer is, but I do know what to do and what not to do when the “Sh#t” hits the fan:
1) Don’t immediately react. Keep breathing.
2) Don’t automatically assume the relationship is over. Keep breathing.
3) Don’t assume you did anything “wrong” (unless you did, in which case google the best way to make a proper apology and do it). Simply saying I’m sorry is generally not sufficient.
4) Ask for a time when you can sit down and talk (ideally in person) and then be sure to REALLY listen:
One of the best ways to carefully listen to your partner and have them feel really certain that you are “getting” them is to learn a simple and easy five-step technique known as the Imago Dialogue created by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.
Step One: Listen without interrupting.
Step Two: Act as a mirror. When your partner stops talking repeat back to him what you heard as accurately as possible. Ask, “Did I get that” and “Is there more?”
Step Three: Summarize, especially if he added “more”. Then ask again “Did I get it all?”
Step Four: Validate. “What you said makes sense to me.” This statement doesn’t mean you have to agree with him; it simply lets him know you understand.
Step Five: Empathize. Let him know that you can imagine, if you were in his position, how he might be feeling such as hurt, scared, angry, disappointed, etc.
By listening in this careful, structured way, your partner will feel seen, heard and understood.
5) When it’s your turn to share, use “I” statement. Be honest, open and vulnerable. No blaming, no shaming and no “constructive criticism.” Hendrix says all criticism is a form of violence. Remember you are a “team,” and even though things are ugly at the moment, the love is most likely still there; you just need to be committed to a dialogue that is kind, respectful and focused on a win/win creative solution.
Wishing you love, laughter, and magical kisses,