Imagine This: You and your partner are really excited about your upcoming summer vacation. You’re especially happy since she took care of most of the details. You get off the plane and breathe in the fresh. You arrive at the inn that looked so gorgeous on the website, only to realize that your sweetie, (who had thought she had booked the entire charming house with a bathroom en suite) had actually reserved only one room with a shared bathroom down the hall. You think, “Now I know why that price seemed too good to be true!”
Now what? You see that your partner is already upset, so you step up to the proprietor and calmly explain that there has been a misunderstanding. The woman turns on your partner, speaks to her in a loud, rude, and condescending tone. Amazingly, with others standing at the front desk, she launches into “How could you be so stupid? Didn’t you read the online descriptions of the property? I guess you just don’t have an eye for details!” This woman is clearly a bully, very rude, and totally inconsiderate.
Think about it. Would you tolerate someone treating the woman you love in such a belittling, disrespectful manner? Of course not. But let’s be honest, could this person have been you? Have you ever treated the supposed “love of your life” in a shabby way? In public or at home, have you spoken to her with harsh words?
In real world situations, all of us misjudge, miscalculate, and make errors. In relationships, mistakes often lead to major disappointments, hurt, and resentment. However, in a healthy, loving partnership it’s important to remember that there is never malicious intent. No one is perfect. Your partner who has “messed up” feels badly enough and needs your support, not your criticism.
So instead of shaming and blaming, let her know that you’re on her side and that together you will brainstorm to come up with options to fix the situation. Even if you are feeling sad or even miserable due to the error, you need to transcend those feelings to the best of your ability for the sake of your relationship.
What To Do
So, the next time your partner makes a mistake, which leaves you feeling disappointed, resentful, or frustrated, here are some tips to help you become a part of the solution, not the problem.
- Instead of reacting and blurting out the “how could you?” stop yourself and remember that she is your best friend. After all, how would you speak to your BFF?
- Wrap her in your arms and remember that you are a team. Think of relationship issues not as problems, but as projects.
- Remind yourself that even though you’re feeling miserable, she’s feeling worse. In this situation, she’s probably experiencing feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and in effect, beating herself up. It is your job to create a sense of safety for her, which in the long run will help you feel even more connected.
- And finally, get in touch with the fact that you too will be in her shoes one of these days. All of us will have lapses in judgment, times when we aren’t paying attention, and moments of forgetfulness. Add stress to the mix and all of us are bound to make mistakes from time to time. How would you want her to treat you?