Updated: Mar 3, 2020
By The Editor In Question
As I move into my 30s I find that breaking up is often far more difficult than it has to be. Instead of a casual passing of ships in the sea of life, it is more of a murky dread drenched in the primordial pools of anxiety.
From my observation, it appears men are either willing to remain within the confines of a failing relationship or end them all together when they feel uncomfortable. However, I recently had my perspective challenged. A few weeks ago one of my male friends called me to sort out some issues he was experiencing with his Girlfriend. Half way into his story I recognized she had a series of traumas and unchecked habits that were running their relationship into a wall. As we spoke further I suggested that he be clear, decisive and transparent in his ap- proach with her so he could maintain a level of vulnerability while getting his point across.
“ I love her, I want it to change but her damage is too deep, I left it alone because I’m just not sure what to say”
Two weeks later, a new conversation on similar subjects lead to his admission that he still hadn’t had a conversa- tion with her about any of his feelings, and he chose to instead avoid speaking to her at all! As a woman I could only empathize with the anxiety that probably caused her, not to mention her friends, family, and children were asking about his absence or bearing witness to his cool (unexplained) behavior towards her. I asked him why
he hadn’t had the discussion and he broke it down like this, “ I love her, I want it to change but her damage is too deep, I left it alone because I’m just not sure what to say”. From a logical standpoint, it makes complete sense: put down a hot item to let it cool off then pick it back up. The truth is that men aren’t bad at knowing what is they have to say, rather they often arent confi- dent in how to say it in a way that won’t ruffle any feath- ers. I believe that’s because Men often don’t have the tools or emotional vocabulary neccesary to express their emotions from a perspective that women can relate to. His response caused me to think back to my own experi- ences with relationship troubles and break-ups. I realized many of them honestly meant well but were unable to communicate with a compassion I could feel. Or were only expressing ideas crafted in rational and not emo- tion. I found myself reflecting on how many times was I being unruly or practicing horrible communication skills? How long had they known that I wasn’t the woman they wanted or needed me to be but they stayed for fear of my response?
This is in no way to excuse or justify the negligent, rude, inept, or just poor communicators that reside on both sides of the sexes, it is however, an acknowl- edgement of how very different we are inherently. To combat those differences, I suggest a checklist, if you will, that ‘ll help you keep it 100% right from the start of your relationship. Getting clear about what you’re looking for and staying clear is the biggest key to healing miscommunication woes.
At the exact moment that you find that your rela- tionship is going astray, First look at your motivation for being involved in the relationship at all; Have
you had this type of issue before? What did you learn from your past experiences approaching said issue? If the answer is no, then ask yourself Is what she saying true in any capacity? What do I fear (or just don’t want to deal with) about her reaction?
Do I want to be in a relationship where I can’t be honest? Those questions will lead you to your own traumas and unaddressed emotional biases and po- tentially help you assess wether you should you even entertain a romantic union right now. If after all the questions have led you to believe that the relation- ship you have is something you want to maintain, Find a direct yet compassionate (she does love you after all, it’s ok for her to be a little sensitive) way to share your thoughts with her. I suggest creativity, write down your problems with her, brainstorm about how the both of you can positively encourage and coach one another on being better partners.
If and when you find that breaking up is inevitable than man up Sir and take your lust and flush it down the damn toilet because sex and complaceny is a recipe for emotional diaster. Remind yourself that she is also an adult, and not your responsibilty. if she’s been presented with a list of her issues and traumas, whether they be lack of trust, disre- spect,etc remind yourself that you too deserve bet- ter. While it’s true that no one is perfect and there
is no surefire way to communicate perfectly across the board, leading with love and telling you’re truth ( even if someone does get upset) will always trump being afraid and living a lie just to keep someone happy.