How many of you have ended up in a relationship where you find yourself furious at your partner, after which resentment keeps bubbling up and boiling over for a good stretch of time? You can go ahead and raise your hand if that’s happened to you. I’m going to raise my hand, too.
What I’ve found in my work with couples is that this problem most often arises when we answer “Yes” to something we really want to say “No” to. An inauthentic “yes” for the sake of short term peace almost always ends up breeding resentment in the long run.
We’ve all been there, right? We’ve all gotten to that space where we feel like our partner overstepped our boundaries in some way or our partner is somehow not fulfilling their end of an agreement we made based on our expectation that they would also follow-through.
When Your “Yes” Becomes A Silent “No”
In other words, there was a boundary you didn’t set up front, and not you are feeling the results of that invisible boundary’s violation over and over and over again.
So for instance, let’s say my partner comes to me and says, “Hey, I’m really busy at work this week. Can you make sure that you cook dinner for both of us all week?”
If I’m under the impression that this arrangement will last for the one week that they’re going to be really busy and that afterwards we’re going back to our more equitable division of labor, then I might say, “Yeah, sure. I can do that for one week,” even if it feels a little bit off-putting or like a bit of a sacrifice.
I might say yes because I’m going under the assumption that I’m saying yes to a short term thing.
But what happens when the following week is super busy too? And the week after that? And the week after that?
I’ve kind of set up this situation where I agreed to cook when they’re busy. Now I feel really shitty because I don’t feel like I can tell them that I want out of it, but I also don’t feel happy about continuing to do it.
How many of you have been in a situation like that?
Negotiation Begins With Honesty
When you’re agreeing to things in relationships, meaning, when you’re negotiating out how things are going to look, make sure that you’re being super honest with yourself and with your partner about what the parameters are for your answer.