What was interesting to me was how many readers requested additional communication prompts - that were specific to male partners! But that’s a “whole other enchilada” as they say, isn’t it? Not as simple as setting a new boundary with a co-worker or what have you. One-liners won’t in and of themselves create connection, which is really what we actually want in our romantic relationships. So I’ve been thinking about how to offer something useful around this request. What I’ve come up with are a few of my more potent “conversation savers” to share… and then for those of you really yearning for intimacy, to “be gotten,” I’m going give you information for an 8-week online class I’m going to start. So check that out if you might be interested.
What YOU can say when:
He’s going straight into problem solving/action mode…
- Thanks for trying to offer me some suggestions, but what I really need right now is just for you to listen to me vent, then give me a long, soft hug. Are you willing to just do that?
- Sweetie, what emotions are you picking up on from me right now? (assuming his guess is fairly good) Yeah. I’m scared and overwhelmed. You can’t change that for me, but do you mind if I just say all these fears out loud so they’re not just stewing in my head?
- We can get back into “solutions” later. Right now I just want to be heard.
He’s not great at guessing how to support you…
- Thanks for just sitting there and listening quietly. Now I’m wondering if you have any ideas on what we should do.
- Honey, as you know, this week I find out whether this IVF cycle took or not. I’m wondering if you can create some spaciousness into your schedule in case I need more time with you than usual. Would you be willing to tell your baseball friends that you’re “a maybe” for this week?
- Will you be around Wednesday evening without much else on your plate? I’d like to sit around and watch light movies without thinking about anything else. If not, can you let me know ASAP, so I can make a different plan?
He’s getting defensive
- Can you tell me what you just heard me say?
- Okay, that’s what you heard… can I try again to say what I really meant? (I suggest using this one in lieu of “That is NOT what I said!”)
- Are you feeling a little overwhelmed right now? (or try other feelings guesses… it’s usually a better move than telling him he’s getting defensive, which generally amps up a fight)