It’s natural when you have a disagreement with someone, or they or you do something that gets misinterpreted, to explain and discuss what has happened. You can then move to resolution and go forward if both parties empathise with one another’s perspective and the incident isn’t symbolic of inherent disrespect.
A mutual relationship where you share similar values means it won’t be like one of you is speaking French and the other is speaking Chinese but both assuming you’re speaking the same language.
However, what I see are entire relationships that are like one giant misinterpretation or an ongoing dialogue of I Was Really Hurt When You Did X Which Really Disrespected Me So Let Me Tell You Why So That You Can Learn How Not To Do It Again.
In a mutual relationship, you have the past as an indicator of the ‘misunderstanding’.
In a new relationship, you have to question how much you need to really be explaining when you’ve been together for a hot minute. When you’re re-explaining, you’re basically trying to raise someone from the ground up.
Most adults know the fundamental difference between right and wrong, respect and disrespect, boundaries and no boundaries. Don’t believe me? Just try doing something to them and you’ll quickly see that knowledge in action. Those who don’t know the difference have serious issues that no amount of love or patient/terse/emotional explanations and dogged loyalty can resolve.
Explaining to someone how to treat you with the basics of love, care, trust and respect or repeatedly laying out why something doesn’t work for you or is hurtful, is incredibly devaluing.
Relationship smart people don’t explain why something is disrespectful because they recognise that they’re dating adults, not a child in an adult’s body.
They show how much respect they want by nipping it in the bud or opting out. You’re only patronising them and yourself by practically doing PowerPoint presentations. Yes, some readers have done this. Same for live ‘demos’, and talking slowly or begging and pleading with them to see your point of view.
I’m not explaining myself in that way to anybody. I only have two kids so there is no need for me to be raising any adult from the ground up. It’s like failing to heed a vital piece of information:
You have different values and are betting on potential.
You’re not being treated how you say you want to be treated, but you see ‘enough’ or feel too invested to back away. You’re trying to talk them into changing.
Explaining yourself that much to someone means that you can’t possibly regard yourself as equals. Either that or you’re projecting things that you believe you’re lacking and assuming they share the same ‘flaws’. Then it becomes “Well I’m no one to talk. Look at all the issues that I have so who am I to expect them to step up? I need someone to love me and be patient with me, so maybe they do too. Plus…what if it’s something wrong with me why they’re disrespecting me?”
Just like the person who thinks that if they ‘love enough’ that the other party will change and they’ll reach a tipping point of reciprocation, if you keep explaining why someone’s actions don’t work for you, it’s like you think that just one of these times if you’re shrill enough or have 20 tears in your eyes instead of 19, they’ll finally ‘get’ it.
When something isn’t working for you to the point where you consider it to be a lack of care, trust, respect or love, you step. If you’re still explaining, either they’re not listening or you’re not hearing feedback from your relationship.
Explaining once, fine. Explaining twice, OK, it’s second chances. Beyond that and it’s time to get off the crack.
While there are areas in a relationship where you can learn and grow together, such as healthy compromise and understanding each others communication style or what makes you tick, a learning gap in fundamentals means your relationship has busted or non-existent foundations.
It’s also important to recognise that talk is cheap. Action is where your relationship is at. In fact, matching actions and words is the ticket.
If someone isn’t going to treat you with respect in the relationship or has code amber or red issues, the signs are there from early on if you have both feet on the ground and are listening and watching. If you keep turning a blind eye, playing things down or believing you can ‘handle’ it, you don’t realise that you’re actually inadvertently giving a thumbs up to and accepting what they do. This lets them believe their feet are well and truly under the table.
Talking and explaining the crappola out of your relationship isn’t ‘handling’ it; it’s avoidance.
If in doubt, make a note of all of the things you’re explaining or ‘in talks’ about. Look for the common thread.
- Is it disrespect or lack of care/trust/love?
- Do you both want different things?
- Do you both see the relationship differently?
- Is it all on one person’s terms?
- Are you explaining stuff that would be obvious to anyone with an ounce of decency?
What I do know is that you can’t convince someone via copious explanations how to love, respect, care for, trust you or be trusted. These are all action-based.
Instead of telling them that you’re better than being in a Friends With Benefits/booty call situation and then continuing to shag them, show them you’re better than this by not participating. Upgrading from a casual relationship is exceedingly difficult.
Instead of explaining that you’re better than being called up late at night or being booked in as a last-minute arrangement when they’ve not got anything better to do, don’t take calls past a certain time. And if they contact you on Friday afternoon, you have other plans. The message is loud and clear: If you want to be with me, you need to flex up in advance not treat me like lastminutedate.com.
Instead of saying you’d like to be called more than once in a blue moon or that you don’t like being managed by text, go and get on with your life. Start out with more regular contact in your next relationship. The telephone was invented in 1876 and is still, after face to face, the most effective way of keeping in regular, engaged contact. It hasn’t died, people still use it, nobody is that busy.
Instead of telling them how you’d really appreciate it if they stopped roaming around on dating sites, shagging around, or mailing strange people for hookups and flirtations, tell them to shag off.
Explaining the crappola out of yourself is like negotiating with your boundaries and self-esteem and bargaining. “I’ll trade you some sex, a massive ego stroke and a blind eye if you can give me a semblance of a relationship and some validation”.
If you keep talking but not much action results, it suggests that there’s some leeway. After all, if there wasn’t, you’d be out of there or showing them you mean business, not acting like they’re irreplaceable and that you can’t survive without them.
Never negotiate with your boundaries and your self-esteem. You’ll end up talking yourself into a poor relationship. Continuously explaining yourself and teaching them how to act or treat you is at best a code amber in itself. You should be enjoying your relationship, not having to construct and direct it.
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