What You Should Ask Yourself Before Judging Your Partner

What You Should Ask Yourself Before Judging Your Partner

This article means to describe the flow of the conversation that takes place after an undesirable event has occurred in your relationship. You should ask yourself these questions during the conversation and adapt your answers consequently so that you may judge your partner fairly and in a (hopefully) unbiased fashion.

Am I, to Some Extent, Responsible for the Situation?

Think hard. Even if you are indirectly responsible to some extent, you should take it into account. This question is not meant to make you feel guilty, but rather make you understand how your words and actions could have influenced your partner to act in an undesired way even if the result was an undesirable. We’re not talking about setting up the other for failure here, but simply any action or thought spoken aloud that could’ve influenced their behavior. After all, being their partner, you are one of the most, if not the most, influential person in their life.

Would I Have Done the Same Thing?
Would I Have Been Capable of Doing Things Differently If I Had Been Them?

Being upset about what happened is understandable, but sometimes people have physical or even mental issues that prevent them from acting in a certain way or might even cause them to act inappropriately. Mental issues can take a fair amount of time to work around, and you shouldn’t blame someone for say, having a panic attack in front of a crowd and “ruining your day”, just like you shouldn’t blame a handicapped person for being too slow and missing the metro or train because they had to take the elevator instead of the stairs. People who believe are mentally stable might have a hard time empathizing with mental issues such as anxiety and depression, but in a relationship, it is extremely important to be understanding first rather than judgmental.

If This Situation Happened in the Past, Has There Been Any Attempt to Avoid It This Time?

Your response should be influenced by whether or not you have gone through the questions of this article in the past, to make sure that reasonable expectations and enough support was given in order to avoid the situation from occurring again. Be aware of your partner’s intentions, as well as understand how and why it happened again. Sometimes it could just be a lack of emotional support from your end, or it could also a lack of commitment from their end. Regardless, this is not a situation where you should let the other off the hook so easily. If it didn’t sink in last time, it really has to this time, and both parties should be ready for a long conversation.

Is It a Breach of Trust?

Trust doesn’t come easily in a relationship. It takes years to build trust into a large and beautiful diamond, but it can be shattered into a thousand pieces in an instant. If you were curious, yes, even genuine and perfect diamonds are ridiculously easy to break. You can try to glue it back, but it will never be the same again. The most important thing to remember here that you have to ask yourself:

  • Were there any lies?
  • Was there any dishonesty?

Of course, most important of all, is how these two things affects you. How much does it pain you? We’re not saying that dishonesty is ever acceptable, but sometimes you should just forgive if there is still something dear and important for you two to hold on to… but you also need to make it clear that it can’t happen again.

Could the Situation Have Been Avoided?

Sometimes people just need a scapegoat. Sometimes things just happen entirely out of our control, but we are still blamed for it. Most people experience this at work from one (or more) of their superiors! Just make sure that you are not blaming your partner for something that’s not their fault… because it could hurt them just as much as if they had really been responsible.

Would Venting My Frustrations Help the Situation?

If you have to, please don’t vent your frustrations at your partner. This is something you should try to avoid regardless, as focusing on negative emotions makes the amygdala in your brain get used to those negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety and depression, which will make them stronger next time they surface — emotions that are detrimental to any relationship. But we are all human, so it is understandable if you have to. And you shouldn’t feel bad about it; it would only make things worse, after all. Instead, what you should try, is to focus on something positive, and let this negative emotion drift away. Yes, it’s not that easy, but our experts are trained in CBT and can help you with it.

What Would It Take for Me to Forgive Them?

We understand if you are upset right now, but you should attempt to keep a clear mind when asking yourself this. It is easy to get overwhelmed by emotions, especially if you were profoundly hurt. Some people will forgive too easily, just as some will hold a grudge until the end of times, both having negative consequences for one or both parties.

But if you deeply trust your partner and your partner cares enough about you, just explaining how it hurt and affected you should be enough to resolve the situation. If they truly care, your pain will be enough of a lesson for them to be more careful in the future… in fact, it might even be overwhelming for those who are particularly passionate about love: knowing they hurt you might strike them with greater pain than they inflicted upon you. Who actually wants to hurt the ones they love?

What Is Their Level of Commitment Towards Resolving the Conflict?

This commitment is about both their commitment towards preventing the situation from happening again and their commitment towards your relationship. If their level of commitment seems low, you should be questioning it, because it could mean that your entire relationship’s foundation is in jeopardy. However, if you can talk to them into a deeper commitment than they were originally comfortable with, with enough support, things could still work out.

What Could I Do or Say to Support Them in Their Commitment?

If their level of commitment is acceptable, don’t just sharpen your knife, ready to stab if they flinch. You’re a team! Act like one! Support is not only a sign of love, but it will also help them stick to it. Love is also not something that grows just by looking at it. We’re not saying that you should be putting more effort into this than your partner, but some commitments might be harder to follow through for some people. Addictions to substances and behaviors, such as alcoholism and gambling, can be quite hard to overcome… unfortunately, if you do not stay by their side to help them overcome these challenges, you will lose them forever and they might never recover from their addiction.

This, of course, is only really possible if you are both committed to the process. No, it’s not fair to you as you are not the one who wronged, but this is where love truly shines in a relationship: being willing to tackle anything together. If you really are committed yourself, you should make it clear to your partner that you are there to love and support them, and that you will do everything you can to help them through it.

A Final Note

If you are reading this right now and if there is no immediate issue that needs to be resolved, try to think about past issues that you have challenged your partner about that you feel you might not have handled as well as you should have, be it: lacking compassion, not showing enough support and understanding, or being too emotional. Then calmly discuss the issues again with your partner. This could save you from another fight!

Categories: Communication, Conflict Resolution, Fights, Relationship Advice, Relationship Issues

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