R&R - Rovena and Rick's Relationship Moments
Difference in communication styles, asking for what we need and how to avoid conflict
I first wrote about this in early 2017, and it’s still as important and real as ever. More traditional textbooks will call it a difference between men and women. I'll just call it the differences between Rick and I.
In the morning, I wrote a very vulnerable and open email to my boyfriend. Clicked send.
My heart is beating fast waiting to hear from him. All day I am not myself.
After a number of hours, I can't stand the suspense any more so I text. “Have you read my email?”
“Yes I did”.
Period. That’s it.
I asked if he read it and he honestly told me that yes, he did. What else is there to say? End of conversation….so he thought. Exchange complete. I've got my answer.
But did I?
Of course what I really meant was “ Did you read it? Is it ok? Are YOU ok? Are WE going to be ok?” I wanted to know how he felt. I needed reassurance.
I wanted him to make it all ok. But I didn’t ask for it, did I?
At the end of the day when I finally asked him for that reassurance and he sent me a most beautiful, loving, supportive message. I broke down and cried.
I didn’t even realize I held so much tension about it - the whole day.
It all could’ve been avoided.
I could’ve made a clear request.
I could’ve said - “Hey, I’m really nervous about something I needed to share with you. It feels very fragile and vulnerable, and what I need is from you to read my email and reassure me that we can work through it, that we are ok. We can have a longer discussion later, but now all I need is for you to tell me it’s all good.“
Funny thing, even knowing all the right tools, the more vulnerable the situation is, the more chances that I won't use any of them.
The scarier it is, the more likely we'll return back to instinct. (Fight or flight, run, hide, isolate, disassociate)
It’s not about perfection, it’s not about getting everything right every single time.
It’s about noticing it; It’s about repair, it’s about turnaround time.
In the past, something like this would stay with me for days and weeks. Sometimes I wouldn’t even talk about it, holding it all inside.
Now, cards on the table, no secrets, no withholds.
I trust that we CAN and WILL work through anything. And it makes all the difference