Navigating Emotional Distress And Also Being A Better Communicator

by Reid on June 3, 2013

Awesome Relationships 101

Relationship DiscussionToday I am going to teach you how to navigate emotional distress and also be a better communicator so you can have new ease and connection in your relationships.

In the last article we talked about:
– How you can create more romance for your partner,
– How you can transform their experience of your relationship by the ways that you’re orienting and understanding their romantic orientation,
– What you can do to leverage their love languages and how to create a romance home run.

I hope you found ways to incorporate that into your life and your love! Feel free to post your successes, questions or concerns on

Let’s move on to the next step of improving your relationship and creating more ease and passion!

Difficult Conversations:
Most people ask for what they think the people around them will be a yes to. They calibrate and guess what their partners, friends and co-workers will say yes to and then they figure out how to ask for that. And that’s all they ask for.

They’re not getting clear about what it is that they really want. And since they never ask for it, they also don’t learn how to asking for what they do want in ways that give the other person room to say yes or no.

Hedging your bets and only asking for the things that you think other people will be a yes for creates resentment because you’re slowly cutting yourself off from what you actually want in your life.

It also subtlety disempowers the other person because you’re basically saying to them, “I don’t think you can handle the real me.”

You’re trying to make everybody else happy rather than speaking up for the things that are important to you which would leave you feeling more self-expressed. And what if you’re wrong about the other person? What if they not only could handle the real you, but interacting with the real, self-expressed you would actually make them happier?! In the article I’ll send in a few days, we’re going to talk about this whole idea about self-expression versus attraction and what you can do to flip that cultural paradigm on its head so that your relationships start being more self-expressed- so watch out for that one!

But first notice that most of us live our lives asking for the things that we think other people will be a yes for, and what happens is we end up slowly getting upset, slowly building up resentments. To change this pattern we need to start having the discussions we’ve avoided. We need to learn how to have difficult conversations. (Don’t worry, I’ll show you how to make them much easier to give and receive than you might think).

I’m going to share my Difficult Conversations formula. Some of you might have already seen this. It gets passed around a lot in certain sex educator community circles. Here is a link to download the pdf version of this, so you can work through this and share it with your partner (this is free, so please forward and share this with everyone you think needs to be more open and self-expressed!):

First: The difficult conversation formula is basically a writing exercise. You’re going to first write out what you’re not saying, whatever that is. You might want to give yourself two minutes to just write all the things that you’re not saying in your relationships. For example, when you’re going home to visit, make a list of the things you’re not speaking up about or saying in your relationships at home. Or around sharing chores around the house, what haven’t you been saying?

You don’t have to say all of them. You don’t have to say any of them, but getting them out on paper is way more useful and powerful than having them rattling around in your head where they get momentum and breed like hamsters.

DiscussionSecond: After you’ve written out what you’re not saying, pick one of those things off the list. Whatever is the most scary is the one that I would recommend.

Then you’re going to answer this next question. “Why I’m not saying ____ is because I’m afraid ____ will happen.” Again take another couple of minutes and write down a list of what are you afraid is going to happen if you were to say that or share it? Get a big list. Get all that scary stuff out of your head and on paper.

Last But Not Least: Answer this question, “What I’d like to have happen by sharing that is ____.” Again, spend a couple more minutes, write, write, write, write. Get those things out of your head.

When you get done writing these exercises you’ll have are two lists that will help you create context and clarity for what you want to share with whomever you’re not sharing. Take this list and turn it into a script.

Then ask your partner if it’s a good time to share or not. When you have a yes, you’re going to say, “Honey, there’s something I’m not telling you. Why I’m not telling you is I’m afraid _____, ______ and ______ will happen. What I’d like to have happen by telling you is ______, ______, and ______, and what I’m not telling you, what I’m not saying is ______.”

Example: You know, honey, I’m afraid, there’s something I’m not telling you. I am afraid that if I tell you this you’re going to leave me, you’re going to lose respect for me, you think I’m a liar, you’re going to pack up and take the kids or the dog or the hamsters whatever.

What I’d like to have happen by me telling you this is that you trust me, that you know that I’m not going to hide things from you anymore. That I’m going to be really honest with you and always bring the scary stuff to you as quickly as I can and that we’ll have time to work through it and I hope that what happens by me sharing this is that you learn to love me more and that it strengthens our relationship.

What I’m not saying to you is I cannot stand your uncle Ben and if I ever see him again, I will probably bash him over the head with it because he did X, Y, and Z to me the last time back at your place and I never told you this.

Creating Context: By going through these steps you get clarity of getting it out of your head and down on paper and then you have a way to go to your partner and create context for what’s about to happen. Most people build up all this pressure and then one day they just blurt it out and it surprises your partner… which doesn’t end well!

Understand that most people do not handle surprise well. They do not handle new information well. So the next time you have a difficult conversation with somebody and you initiate it, understand that the person you’re sharing it with may not handle surprise well, and that they’re just flipping out or freaking out because it was a surprise to them.

What you want to do is give them room for their blood chemistry to calm down, and then come back and ask if they would like to have a conversation about that difficult thing that you just shared with them. Knowing that a lot of people don’t handle new information well makes it easier for you not to make it mean something about you that they’re flipping out.

When the shit hits the fan in a lot of relationships, because people are surprised that something happened, what they do is they get their own bucket of shit and throw it on the fan as well, which just makes the mess even bigger.

If you understand that people don’t always handle new information well, when they throw that bucket of shit on the fan, what you can do is calmly reach over and unplug the fan.

It’s a revolutionary idea and it’s one that I wish that my mom and dad had had while my brothers and I were growing up in the house because what we got to see was a lot of surprise and a lot of bad behavior because of the surprise.

The goal is for you not to get activated when somebody else gets activated. That way, you can calmly reach over and unplug the fan.

Homework: Go through the Difficult Conversation Guide and write out your thoughts, fears and intentions. Then have that conversation with your partner, friend, or family member! And let me know how it went.

Join me in my next newsletter when I’m going to talk about this idea of self-expression versus attraction and how you can bring that into your life so that you can actually be more bold, free and self-expressed and actually finally start being the person in the relationship that you’ve always wanted to be.

And check out where you can transform your relationship 10x in 10 minutes a day!

Yours in awesome relationships!

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