Blaming Is The Problem In Your Relationship: Not Your Partner. Here’s How To Stop It!
No one is the problem in your relationship, blaming each other is the problem, but how can that be true?
It seems so obvious to you when the other person is wrong. But what happens to communication when we get fixated on being right instead of listening? Blaming behaviour becomes the problem in your relationship.
How do we act with our partner/s when we refuse to consider any kind of alternative to the one we’ve decided is the best course of action?
We behave pretty badly, in my experience.
That’s how we get stuck in cycles, having the same argument over and over, unable to find a solution.
We believe the other person is the problem and we feel hurt that they can’t see how they’re negatively impacting us. We blame them for how we’re feeling. Blaming is the problem in your relationship.
There is an alternative.
What if you both consider the idea that the problem is the problem?
REALLY consider that.
Stop. Just for a moment. Pause the blaming of your significant other/s for these common relationship problems:
Housework. Not listening. Scrolling. Who is in charge of what duties and jobs. How often we have sex (and what constitutes satisfying sex for everyone involved). Nagging. Whingeing. Grunting as a form of communication. Lack of romance. Whose family and friends we spend the most time with. How often someone is at work. Who gets to pursue their hobbies and interests the most. Who picks the kids up from school.
What if these issues are not anyone’s fault?
What if no one is to blame?
If you know these kinds of problems happen to everyone (and spoiler: they do) then why do you insist that someone you love is to blame?
Maybe you BOTH have a problem, and if you learn to face it together, you might actually see a way through it. Blaming is the problem in your relationship, not your lover.
But how do you stop blaming someone (or stop being blamed) and start coming up with solutions?
I’m not going to lie. It takes a little work. Blaming another person for problems in relationships comes second nature to most of us, especially when we’re busy and stressed and it seems obvious who’s in the wrong.
But where has it got you so far? If you’re reading this article then you’re open to trying something new.
I invite you both to commit to a new process before reading on.
Start by really and truly imagining yourself in your lover’s shoes. In their mind. Do your best to empathise with them on the very deepest level.
Sit down with the very best of intentions to tackle a problem TOGETHER.
Don’t enter the discussion with five pages of notes on why you’re right and why the other person needs to change. This is not a debate. Try and be as open as possible to whatever will arise.
Be detectives about THE PROBLEM, as though neither of you has skin the game. This is an investigation!
You are looking for a mutually agreeable problem.
One of you feels the chores are unfairly distributed. One of you would like to be having more sex. How would you reframe these as couples problems rather than an individual problem?
Bear in mind that if one of you feels something is a problem, then it is. It’s not ok to swipe a problem off the table just because one of you isn’t struggling with it.
Also bear in mind you aren’t going to fix all the problems in one conversation, so try to stick to just one or maybe two (at the most). The idea is to get used to talking about problems in the third person.
Consider relationship problems as their own separate entity.
Pick something that isn’t too serious to start off with. Just say you name it ‘the washing-up problem’.
- Who does it affect?
- How does it affect them?
- How does it make you both feel when you argue about it?
- How does the washing-up problem get you down?
- Why does it invade your couple experience?
- In what ways does it interfere with the love you feel for your partner/s or your family?
- Are you ok with the washing-up problem doing that to your relationship?
- How can you be more of a team when facing the washing-up problem?
These questions are not exhaustive. Keep going. Interrogate the washing-up problem until you’re sick to death of it.
Don’t leap into solutions (especially if they’re the same ones you’ve tried a million times that you never stick to). Try to really listen to your partner without seeing it as an attack (and don’t be the attacker).
If blaming is the problem in your relationship, you need to really understand each other in order to make change.
Us humans are excellent at seeing things from our own point-of-view, and excellent and blocking out another person’s perspective, especially if we don’t understand it. This is not the time for winning an argument. This is a time for genuine listening and caring.
Yup. Caring. What if you choose to care about the washing up problem, even if you didn’t before? I mean, you should care about it if it’s causing distress in your relationship. Promising to fix it, and then going back to old habits a week later isn’t going to cut it.
Take the time to talk about it, to understand each other, and do this several times BEFORE you come up with solutions. Don’t come up with solutions until the empathy levels are 11/10 and you are sure you’re both on the same page.
You will be surprised at how good you are at non-blaming, and coming up with ideas that work for everyone. And even though not all problems can be ‘fixed’ your relationship will benefit from being able to talk about things in a new and less-blamey way.
No one is to blame for all the problems in your relationship.
Blaming is the problem in your relationship, and if you don’t fix it, this behaviour can build endless anger and resentment and become a problem of it’s own.
Consider, instead, that the problem is the problem.
The more you can talk openly and honestly without blame and defensiveness about the washing-up problem, the greater foundation you are laying for finding a solution to this problem AND future bigger problems as they arise.
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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash