What do you do when your partner makes fun of your feelings? My husband says put them in the shed. Alternatively, ask yourself, am I in or am I out? If you’re out, you might reply, “That doesn’t work for me anymore,” and make new living arrangements. On the other hand, if you’re in, you might reply, “That doesn’t work for me anymore,” and prepare to be astonished one day at a time at how hard this work is, and how rewarding.
Regardless of whether this relationship grows to maturity, you will grow and partner with someone who, like you, is willing (however haltingly), to roll up their sleeves and do the work.
Assume your partner just now made fun of your feelings, and you’re in, and you replied, “That doesn’t work for me anymore,” and your partner cracks up laughing. In response you might:
a. feel sorry for yourself
b. feel sorry for your partner
c. slam a door or worse
d. go into deep thought about what wound in your partner prompted that absurd response to your authentic truth
e. none of the above.
Correct. None of the above is the right answer. What you may instead wish to do is go read your book. You have just set an important boundary that will be true in any relationship you ever have. You have just validated who you are- a person who accepts the responsibility of being the steward of her or his own being. Pat yourself on the back. Leave the results up to the divine. Your partner has just been rocket-launched from a standing still position. Give your partner time to reel, contort, react and ultimately choose life as an unruly adolescent or life with you.
What about your partner’s childhood wounds that excuse her or his bad behavior? Your partner is the only one who can heal them. You can be a confederate in your partner’s healing process by being as healthy as you can be yourself. Your steady insistence on respect is a stable force essential to your partner’s and your own healing and growth.
NEXT: Am I in or am I out?