Last week i explored some of the reasons it is so difficult to truly listen and be there for your partner. This week, i will list some of the steps that will help you overcome these challenges and form a relationship of trust and safety.
1) The first step is to understand that if you want a partner who is in your corner, you have to be in his/ or hers.
2) Approach your partner and ask if she/he experiences that you are there for her/him and have her/his back.
3) If yes, keep doing what ever you are doing. If not, ask why she/he believes and feels this way and of course listen without commenting-even take the time to write down the answer.
4) While this may very hard to do and the answer may not make any sense to you or hurt your feelings and your view of yourself, it is essential that you take the time to try to understand how your partner thinks and views the relationship and what his/her needs are.
5) If your partner asks whether you believe she/he has your back, this would be a good time to answer honestly. Take the time to explain how you have come to this view and try not to attack her/his character but focus on your needs and what it would take for you to feel safe and secure with her/him. If your partner does not ask at this time, approach her/him the next day and share your view at that time and ask her/him to listen and try to not comment but take time to process what you are saying.
6) Suggest that you each think about what one another has shared and agree to meet in a week and revisit this discussion. Talk about what you each can do to make at least one change that would demosnstrate a desire to create the relationship that you each want.
7) Meet weekly to review the efforts each are making and what further changes need to be done.
8) This is not an easy process and there are often slips and steps backwards but if you stick to the stucture of meeting once a week to focus on your efforts and stay open to one another's experience of each other, you will be taking a stand for a "loving relationship" that will be the foundation of a lasting partnership and friendship.
Next week-Gender issues