“If You Would Just Admit That You’re Wrong Then Everything Would be Fine”
Updated: Jul 4
In case you missed my last post:
Last week I introduced Terry Real’s Five Losing Strategies for getting what you want in your relationship. A concept that Real details in his bestselling book, The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work. Starting today, each week I’ll explore one of these “Losing Strategies” and what so often drives us to employ them despite their destructive consequences. If you missed my previous post, or would like a quick primer, check out my free, downloadable infographic on the losing strategies, as well as one that introduces their more savvy counterparts, The Five Winning Strategies for Getting What You Want in Your Relationship.
When you love someone and you experience disappointment with them, anger at them, or disconnection from them, most of us seek to join together, to bridge the divide, to get back on the same page. For many of us, the way we seek to do this is to try to get our partners to understand our experience by pointing out “objective facts."
“No, that’s not what happened. You…”
“You aren’t listening. What I said was…”
“No, that’s not what you said. You said…”
And so it begins. Like lawyers in a courtroom you and your partner argue your cases, each trying to convince the other with your facts, evidence, and data to establish “what really happened.”
Of course, the problem (beyond the fact that a relationship isn’t a courtroom) is that in the case of which one of us is right you two are not only the lawyers, you’re also the judge, the jury, and at least one of you is probably even the defendant. So, infuriatingly, the more objective facts that you present to your partner, the further apart you seem to get, the more misunderstood you feel, and the more bewildered you become that your partner somehow, astonishingly, can not, or, worse, stubbornly, will not see the truth of the situation.
If these are the times that you fantasize about having a recording to playback to your partner to prove your point, then welcome to relationship “Losing Strategy” number one, “Needing to Be Right.” So, why is this strategy a loser even when you are, in fact, actually right? Because here’s the truth, even if you had that recording you’re fantasizing about, even if your partner saw clear, objective, indisputable evidence that they were completely wrong and that you were absolutely right, it wouldn’t get you any closer to what you really want. It wouldn’t get you back in connection with your partner.
So then what should you do? Refocus on what it is that you really want - finding a solution and reconnecting with your partner. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself if you’re being treated badly, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t advocate for what you want. But realize that as soon as you and your partner land in an objectivity battle that intimacy always loses out and the more indignant you become the further apart you and your partner will end up.
In future weeks I’ll explore the four remaining Losing Strategies as well the Five Winning Strategies that you can use instead. If you’d like my relationship ideas and resources delivered directly to your inbox sign up for my free newsletter.
The relationship you wish for is possible, but sometimes skills and tools aren’t enough to get you there. Most of us have times in our lives when we need help to rebuild the passion and connection in our relationships. If this is where you are - reach out. I can help.