Are you and your partner starting too look too much alike?: Knowing who you are and what you want matters.

Posted by Kurt on Oct 30, 2011 in Meetings, Relationships, Self, Work |
Mr and Mrs Vader On The Town

I wonder if she picked out his suit? (could not resist borrowing this pic from: http://www.vivaboo.com/at-long-last-lord-vader-gets-himself-a-wife/)

The Problem:

Something weird can happen to guys when they are in a relationship for a while: they get comfortable.  They stop doing “I” things and start doing “We” ones.  They stop making decisions and start “I’d better ask my wife…”.  They stop being themselves and start being whatever helps the relationship run smoother or what their partner wants.

Comfort is not a bad thing (and, refractionist physician for the record, more info neither is checking in with your wife for important decisions), but it is important not to lose yourself in the process of developing relationship. It can make your life easier at times to “go with the flow”, it can keep the peace and even keep your partner (somewhat) happy.  However, a part of you will start to feel neglected and resentment can build.  David Deida describes this issue well in “The Way of the Superior Man” (1997, p. 18):

If a woman suggests something that changes a man’s perspective, then
he should make a new decision based on his new perspective. But he
should never betray his own deepest knowledge and intuition in order to
please his woman or “go along” with her. Both she and he will be
weakened by such an action. They will grow to resent each other, and
the crust of accumulated inauthenticity will burden their love, as well as
their capacity for free action.

The Way Out:

The simple answer to this conundrum is to be yourself.  However, this is often easier said than done.  One simple practice is to make a commitment to consciously make decisions each day.  Even if you would like to get someone else’s opinion about something, ask yourself what your decision is first.  Then, like Deida says, you can use your (tentative) decision and anyone else’s thought on the matter as raw data for a final decision of your own later on.  Some decisions don’t really need to be brought to committee, so try making a few more each day on your own.  If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to your old ways in a week or so… so give it a try!

Ironically, making more decisions will make your life run more smoothly.  Your partner may like you to agree with their ideas (who doesn’t like having things their way?), but, in the long run:  A) you may pine for the “old days” when you could do what you wanted and/or B) your partner will start to forget who the “real you” is (the one they fell in love with) and resent you for it.  Your partner may not agree with every decision of yours, but they certainly will respect you more for being a person who is confident in and true to themselves.

Other Manifestations:

These dilemmas are not just the realm of love relationships.  Any interpersonal environment can bring about this sort of “group think”.  Many work environments tend to build up norms that are really just old, unquestioned habits rather than actual preferences.  So, be mindful of how you show up at work and with your friends then too!

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We’ll be discussing this topic at our next meeting.  Anyone local or those who don’t mind the drive (or flight) are welcome to come.

 

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