Tag Archives: Attachment Love

“I Feel Like You Should..”

“I feel like you should…”  If this is how you’ve been talking about your feelings, it’s time to learn how to be more honest and effective.

It’s a bit like “I love you, but . . . ”

You’ve lost me at the “but”.

Sometimes, talking to people we love about things that matter is too hard to even get started. This is where emotions come in handy.

I’m blogging about emotions for two reasons.

  • Learning to notice and name what you feel helps you figure out what you need;
  • Learning to talk effectively about what you feel and need is key to great relationships.

Say you and your partner are both foodies. It’s what drew you together. You thought “We both adore cooking, it’s going to be fun!” But after a few months of Honeymoon best-behaviour (when neither of you spoke up for what you really wanted) you began to resent “cuisine compromise.” Neither one of you ever truly made a dish – it was all “What do you think – add the sherry or red wine vinegar?” You longed to have the kitchen to yourself to make a disaster or delicacy all on your own. You’re savvy enough to know you’re supposed to talk feelings and “I” statements so after one helpful tidbit too many you blurt out “I feel like you’re way controlling – I can make a potato salad for heaven’s sake.”

Great start – you’ve noticed a surge of anger and spoken up for something you want.  You’ve let your feeling of “angry” identify your need for “kitchen autonomy.” Odds are your partner won’t take it that well though. You may have lost ‘em at “You’re way controlling.”

Here are 7 steps for speaking with your partner more effectively.

  1. Presume do-overs. Cut yourselves some slack for botched first ( second and third) attempts. It’s rare for couples to talk effectively to one another on the first go-around.
  2. Figure out what you feel. Check your cheat sheet, Parrott Emotions Tree 2001and/or read “I Feel So Bad!
  3. Use your feelings to identify what you need.  See this posting.
  4. Break the ice with something. “Wow – who knew I had such strong feelings about potato salad?”;  “I was a toad in there – sorry! But I’ve figured out why I was all snappy. Are you open to hearing it?”
  5. Just talk through your process. Literally, lead them through what you’ve just done in steps 2 and 3. Tell them how you sleuthed out what you felt and maybe what you think you need.
  6. Get curious. What does your partner feel and need?
  7. Get creative When you both know what you each feel and need you can come together on the same team against the disconnection you both felt. Now you’ll feel more like collaborating together for some win-win solutions.

“Well, we want more independence, but to cook together some too. And new – so maybe a class or two? And guests – livens things up. What else do we want?”

And you’re off.

Watch for that shift from “I” and “You” statements to “We” statements.

This is key!

Love as Acceptance

Part 5 of 5 How to Win At Love – in Five Easy Stages

STAGE  #5 ACCEPTANCE~ your partner is perfectly imperfect.

What is this stage like?  Figured I’d show ya rather than tell ya. Gratefully re-posting this lovely interview with the worlds oldest couple. See original here:

“Meet Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher of North Carolina. They have been married 85 years (86 in May) and hold the Guinness World Record for the longest marriage of a living couple and get this…. Zelmyra is 101 years old and Herbert is 104.

The happily married couple teamed up with twitter this Valentine’s Day to answer some relationship questions. Check out their take on finding love, getting through hard times and more. Good read.

1. What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?

H & Z: With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option – or even a thought.

2. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?

We grew up together & were best friends before we married. A friend is for life – our marriage has lasted a lifetime.

3. Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?

We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other & our family.

4. What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?

Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep the faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.

5. What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?

Respect, support & communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest & true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.

6. What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?

Zelmyra: A hard worker & good provider. The 1920s were hard, but Herbert wanted & provided the best for us. I married a good man!

7. What is your best Valentine’s Day memory?

Zelmyra: I cook dinner EVERY day. Herbert left work early & surprised me – he cooked dinner for me! He is a VERY good cook!

Herbert: I said that I was going to cook dinner for her & she could relax – the look on her face & clean plate made my day!

8. You got married very young – how did you both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?

“Everyone who plants a seed & harvests the crop celebrates together” We are individuals, but accomplish more together.

9. What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?

Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.

10. Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?

The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.

11. How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?

Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.

12. At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?

Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win

13. Is fighting important?

NEVER physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, & fight for what really matters. Learn to bend – not break!

14. What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?

We are both Christians & believe in God.Marriage is a commitment to the Lord.

We pray with & for each other every day.Image

Love as Attachment

Part 4 of 5 How to Win At Love – in Five Easy Stages

STAGE  #4 ATTACHMENT ~ work, house, debt, kids, pets, oh – and love…

By now in Stage 4 , in Dr. Helen Fisher’s  terms, you’ve formed an attachment. A stage of calm, companionable love, the sort we see all around us with  birds and  bees well, – mammals actually – and it looks like you’d imagine:

  • Building your nest together
  • Defending your nest together
  • Sharing parental chores
  • Sharing home-making chores
  • Bringing home the bacon
  • Missing one another when you are apart
  • Finding security in one another’s love
  • Feeling calm and comforted in the knowledge of your partnership
  • Feeling a sense of belonging.

All these rewarding behaviours are promoted in your brain by the release of two hormones in particular – oxytocin (yup, the same hormone that floods new Mums also promotes trust and satisfying sex) and vasopressin (increasingly associated with positive social behaviour, sexual motivation and coping with parenting stress). These evolutionary aides exist to help people stay together long enough to effectively birth, raise and educate their utterly helpless human young.

While each stage has its challenges, this one’s tough. Most divorces occur here with an up-tick at 3 years (when couples have that first baby), at seven years (kids and boredom) and again at 12 or 13 years (more kids, more boredom?). It is terrifically hard to prioritize your relationship when all about you are impending domestic, physical or financial emergencies.

What to do?

Savour the moments you can!

Whether or not you have kids and pets, you are right slap dash in the middle of life and busy days speed by all the faster.  Try these ~

TIP 1 ~ Do one thing each day for you.  Self-care in all things is not only a sensible way to go into your hectic, giving, caring, other-centered days, but it is actually a very thoughtful gesture. No one wants to live with a depleted martyr. Whatever replenishes your spirit each day – commit to it. A run; yoga; a hot bath and candles; a gym workout; writing for 30 minutes; 10 minutes of meditation. Try it!

TIP 2 ~ Do one thing a day for your partner. Remember who you are doing all this nesting and attachment loving with? A warm “Welcome Home” hug; a text or two at work; picking up his/her library book or dry cleaning; choosing his/her favourite wine or beer for dinner; a neck rub over the evening news; a five minute snuggle after the alarm goes off at 6:00am.

TIP 3 ~ Do one thing a week for your relationship. Ask yourselves “What can WE do together for US?” As a couple, what brings you closer? Can you plan an adventure? Invite friends over? Start a book or movie club? Take up Tango? Commit to boot camp as a team? Set compellingly exciting financial goals? Sponsor a worthy cause together?