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Meg Luce: Reduce relationship drama in 3 steps

By Meg Luce
Columnist

Are you shocked and offended that your partner says and does annoying things? Do you rediscover these imperfections on a weekly basis when your partner forgets to turn off the air conditioner, change the kitty litter, or interrupts your stories? If so, it sounds like you have a plain old, regular, ordinary, sometimes annoying, but typical relationship.

Couples are often surprised and even outraged when their partner is a bit selfish or forgetful. But who isn’t? That’s the thing about being in a relationship with another human — we mess up. Is it irritating? Yep. But that’s life.

Does this mean we have to live in dismal disappointment? No, not at all. Stuff happens, which is life. But we can choose to skip the outrage and unnecessary drama. Then it becomes easier to sail right through the troubles.



Unless there is some egregious act, rather than worry about WHY (?!) or how COULD you (?!), think instead about how you will respond the next time your partner is not perfect. We know it’s going to happen.

Less drama

Let me give an example of what I mean. If you are frustrated that your partner didn’t thank you for getting groceries, rather than, “You DIDN’T say thank you!”, how about saying, “Would you please thank me for getting groceries?” If you are reading this thinking, “What? You can do that?” Why yes, you can.



If you are thinking, “I shouldn’t have to ask!” Well, I guess that is my point. You often do. And it’s okay. Knowing you must sometimes ask is a fundamental concept in reducing the drama. If you expect these occasional relationship misdemeanors as part of life, you can take charge and make improvements. You can decide to do a sort of 3-step shuffle of having a good relationship. Here is my drama-reducing 3-step shuffle. Check it out and see what you think.

Oh, and by the way, sometimes people say, “I already TOLD my partner about my concern!” Remember, you are in a relationship with a fallible human, not a divine being that is focused solely on your earthly pleasures. Though tempting, skip the outrage and tell your partner again. Okay, here’s that 3-step shuffle:

3-Step Shuffle

1. Remember that my partner will sometimes forget the things I want

2. Ask nicely for the things I want (“nicely” — key factor for success)

3. Receive and enjoy the things after asking nicely

If your partner says, “Forget it, I’m not doing that,” you may have another situation on your hands. If you need some backup, call a couples therapist for professional help.

Mini challenge

Okay, now it’s time for your mini relationship challenge should you choose to accept! Here are a few common bugaboos. If any of these things happen in your relationship, see if you can do the 3-step shuffle. Instead of drama galore, tell your partner what you want rather than blow up or give them the silent treatment (or both!). Here are some juicy instances. When else can you use the 3-step shuffle?

  • Partner didn’t show appreciation
  • Partner didn’t greet you nicely
  • Partner didn’t initiate quality time, sex, or an activity they said they would do

After you try out your new drama-free responses, you can ask yourself how you did. If you had trouble, what got in your way? If you were able to resist jumping into your regular defensive maneuvers, yay for you! You are giving yourself a more drama-free life.

Good luck practicing the 3-step shuffle in your imperfect relationship. Remember, it’s the only kind of relationship there is.

Meg Luce, M.S., is a Marriage and Family Therapist in Grass Valley specializing in helping couples create satisfying relationships. You can find her contact info at https://NevadaCountyTherapist.com

Couples are often surprised and even outraged when their partner is a bit selfish or forgetful. But who isn’t? That’s the thing about being in a relationship with another human — we mess up.
Courtesy Metro Newspaper Service

 

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