One of the issues that may have caused Linda and I to drift apart was the fact that we both tended to shy away from confrontation. Now on the surface you might think that it isn’t such a bad thing to do,as there sure are a lot less arguments that way! However, when things were said or done that upset either one of us, we would typically get mad, but end up holding the emotions inside of us where it would build into resentment.
Now that I look back on it, I believe when faced with confrontation we do much better when we calmly discuss the issue or point of contention. This is one area of communication that we are still working on, but we have become much better at speaking our minds, no matter what. This has also helped to increase the level of trust with each other, and certainly Linda’s trust with me.
As I may have mentioned previously, Linda is always questioning me about things that happened during my emotional affair with Tanya. I do understand why she does it, and she has every right to do it, but I must admit that this frustrates and often angers me. Whatever emotion I’m feeling, I tell her so, and in turn she calmly explains why she is asking whatever it is she’s asking me. We then continue to discuss things, and eventually the conversation ends in a good way and neither of us feels as though we have been beaten up.
You see, most of us are afraid of strong feelings or points of contention in a relationship. If people respond to confrontation or points of contention by defending themselves (to a perceived attack), explaining themselves, counter-attacking, shutting down, or walking away, then of course, the relationship remains stuck in a state of mistrust and fear.
Rather than reacting and having our feelings flowing all over the place or shutting down, Linda and I practice charging calmly. We try to communicate calm and cool, not only in our tone of voice but also in how we carry our bodies. We say what we must say, state the truth and do it directly and calmly. The effect has been a dramatic flow in our relationship. Either of us can point out something big, without making a big deal out of it. We maintain control at all times, which not only feels great, but we trust each other not to fly off the handle. This gives each of us a sense of personal power, and has helped us to develop a trust in each other that we will always operate from a quiet center, remain engaged, not back down and speak the truth with conviction and calmness.
If you tend to back down during confrontation, letting the emotions build up to the point of resentment, give the tactic discussed above a shot. I think you will find that it will not only help you work out the problems that crop up periodically, but also will help you to re-establish trust in your relationship.