Resolving a point of tension in your relationship feels so good.
It feels like a weight being lifted off your shoulders.
After successfully working through a relationship problem, you feel lighter, happier, and more “together” with your partner than you ever did before. Even if it was just a small issue with your boyfriend.
But it can be endlessly frustrating when your partner shuts you down every time you even try to address an issue that bothers you.
That’s where a third-party can help.
And it doesn’t need to be someone you know. Because they have a tendency to take sides. And even if they don’t, they lack the finesse of a professional counselor.
I know what you’re thinking. “My guy would never make an appointment to see a professional relationship counselor.”
But you only think that because you haven’t seen how quick and easy it is to start text-based relationship counseling. (That’s a link to the online counseling service I recommend, by the way.)
I’ve found that men are much more open minded to the idea of relationship counseling when they can just write back and forth with a licensed counselor instead of making an appointment.
The counselor becomes a mediator of sorts. A trusted third party who has a knack for getting both of you to use more of the emotional intelligence you already have, not only to solve problems, but to enhance the relationship in unexpected ways too.
Are you the only one who purposefully nurtures the relationship?
Do you see its amazing potential and purposely invest in it?
If so, it wouldn’t surprise me. Women tend to be the emotional leaders in relationships.
They’re the ones thinking of ways to connect and get closer. They’re the ones reading books and newsletters like this one. They’re always learning how to love better.
Well, you’ll spot the occasional man reading a relationship book. But guys often fail to see the relationship as a living thing that needs attention. They’d rather leave all that stuff to their wives and girlfriends.
That’s a problem.
When a man abdicates his responsibility for the emotional labor of the relationship, the woman gets stuck with it all.
That’s why it can really pay off to get a licensed relationship counselor working to support your efforts. Even if it’s just for you to have someone to talk to…
A “thinking partner” you can bounce ideas off of as you work on things.
And if you do get him to join the written chat sessions? In that case, a well-trained relationship counselor can take some of the burden off of you, so you stop looking like the bad guy when you ask your man to work on things.
It’s hard to make progress if he gets an attitude every time you try to work on the relationship. A 6-year study of 130 newlyweds found that the strongest predictor of happiness is the husband’s attitude.
If he’s willing to work with his partner, listen to her input, and take her recommendations on board, their marriage is much more likely to last.
Only a third of the men in the study were willing to accept their partner’s influence, however.
Others reacted to their partner’s suggestions with defensiveness, anger, or stonewalling.
They didn’t feel they had to do ANYTHING their partner suggested. They saw the work of relationships—negotiating, compromising—as a struggle for power and control.
Their thinking went something like this:
“She isn’t the boss of me. How dare she criticize me! I work and work, and she doesn’t appreciate it. If I let her have her way this once, she’s going to keep asking. She nags all the time. She just wants to control me.”
That refusal to address conflict or work through disagreements diminishes the potential of a relationship.
What can you do, when your partner refuses to let you influence him?
Not much. You’re stuck.
You may think you can live with it, but know this. If he won’t listen to you, your relationship has an 81% chance of falling apart.
Of course, women don’t always listen to their partners, either. No one is perfect.
But in general women are better at taking their partner’s feelings and preferences into account. That’s their job, as emotional custodians of the relationship. They try to balance everyone’s wants and needs.
But maybe you shouldn’t.
Maybe you should let a professional do the balancing of everyone’s needs. That way you can just say what you need and leave it up to the counselor to make sure he hears that request in the right frame of mind.
Speaking of frame of mind, that’s really the secret sauce for relationship counselors. They’re good at framing problems differently. And that’s a skill you can use too.
You see, counselors are masters of framing discussions in the right light. They set the stage before talking about difficult issues. They accomplish that by getting people into the right frame of mind before tackling stressful topics.
We can all learn something from their tactics. So let me share just one of them with you today. It’s a secret for getting guys to open up.