You want to spend more time with him. He says he loves you and wants to spend more time with you too. But he’s not making any adjustments to his schedule. No matter how many times you talk to him about it, the situation doesn’t change.
The problem appears to have no solution. You’re stuck.
Being stuck is no fun. Whatever the issue, big or small, here are two ways to get unstuck.
- Break it Down
This is a classic problem-solving technique. It works well with problems that feel big and unwieldy. The kind of problems that leave you feeling overwhelmed just thinking about them.
Take the problem and break it down into a series of smaller problems.
Most big problems are a bunch of little problems all clustered together. When you break those little problems apart, you can then choose one and work on solving it.
Take the example above. He’s not spending as much time with you as you’d like. One of the smaller problems might be that he doesn’t even use a schedule, so whatever is most urgent gets the lion’s share of his time and attention. Dive into that problem. Is he open to using a planner to schedule social time in advance?
Or maybe a smaller problem is that he believes the two of you don’t have any recreational preferences in common. Working on that subcomponent of the larger problem might get you “unstuck.”
Remember the last time you were talking to someone and felt like they weren’t listening at all?
It happens to me more often than I like. Sometimes I’ll say something totally outlandish just to see if they react. It’s surprising how often they just nod.
The sad reality is that we live in a culture that isn’t very listening-oriented. It’s sad because everyone values being listened to. Few things matter to us as much as feeling understood. That’s when our connection to another really deepens.
But, there’s an upside. You can use that truth to boost your relationship’s intimacy in less than five minutes. Here’s how.
First, when you talk to the man you’re interested in, read between the lines.
Second, reflect on what he’s not saying (but clearly feeling).
I used to know an older couple who refused to make any big decision without “sleeping on it” first. Whether booking a trip, or buying a car, or overseeing their investments, they always talked about it one day and made the final decision the next.
I didn’t realize at the time just how wise they were. They really were making better decisions by waiting and sleeping on it, and the reason has nothing to do with sleep.
A few years ago, researchers at Radboud University discovered there’s more to making good decisions than clear thinking. In fact, sometimes a purely logical approach actually gets in the way. When your brain focuses on conscious problem-solving, it turns off the part of itself that’s more intuitive. The two parts can’t both function at the same time.
In other words, when you’re most logical, you’re less intuitive.
That’s why it’s so common for people to solve complex problems while they’re doing something totally mundane, like taking a shower or driving. Those kinds of activities allow us the mental room to daydream, and the intuitive part of our brain kicks back on.
The British Royal Navy takes this idea seriously. They include it in their emergency protocols. When there’s a nautical emergency, the first command from the captain isn’t what you’d expect. He calls for an “all-still.” For the next three minutes, everyone on board stops what they’re doing. No one moves or even speaks.
In school, it was helpful to give the impression you knew a bit more than you really did. The same thing is true for adults in the workplace. After all, no one wants to draw attention by admitting they have no idea what that acronym stands for when everyone else is nodding like they get the manager’s point.
Projecting confidence in a school or at the office is a smart move, but when we carry that over to our relationships, bad things can happen. Here’s how.
One of the keys to a healthy relationship is deep understanding. The better you understand yourself and your partner, the easier it is to sidestep problems and cultivate intimacy. But you can’t grow in understanding if you aren’t willing to admit there are things you don’t know.