Proper Communication reins high on the list…. Poor Communication habits will drain a relationship over time.
This can include everything from not mentioning the little things that get on your nerves to just not communicating in a meaningful way on a regular or daily basis.
One might tell themselves:
- What I say will just upset my partner so I am better off just not saying anything.
- I don’t need to say those things out loud. My partner knows how I feel and what I mean.
The quality of our communication is what ultimately determines how close a couple stays over time.
On husDOM we are always talking about Downtime. Downtime is the code word for proper communication on just about every level. It can be used to communicate about specific topics in general conversations. It is also used as a regularly scheduled event as well as an impromptu in-the-moment type conversation and everything in between.
You can read about the meaning of Downtime and how I use it in my D/s-m dynamic on husdom.com.
Here are 3 common communication hacks to be aware of.
- Avoid fighting via text message.
As we grow more and more accustomed to using our phones for everything in day-to-day life, some have adopted using their favorite mobile device to bicker or even argue with their partners.
Wait a minute, I have an app for that…
This is especially common with couples that are frequently apart. They could be apart while working, having different schedules, or separated by distance. In some instances, the distance can be as small as the kitchen to the bedroom. No matter the cause for the separation this is a dangerous practice for many reasons.
We’re all a little bolder than we would normally be while texting.
It is a lot easier to find the courage to toss out an inflammatory comment when you are frustrated and you aren’t standing in front of the other person. We aren’t physically present to take ownership of the actual carnage that we just manifested. Often times we will even lie to the other person and to ourselves and say that we didn’t mean it that way. Whether that was how the comment was said or not we all need to take ownership for the words that we choose and when and how we are using them. This is emotional intelligence, the ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others.
It is also easy to misinterpret what someone is saying or what they mean when you can’t hear or see them.
What was the old adage? Communication is only 7% verbal and 93% nonverbal…(Body language, vocal variety, tone, inflection, etc…) That statistic and the study in which it was manifested has been under scrutiny for many years and I am not going down that rabbit hole just now.
I believe that it is reasonable to say and that most of you would probably agree with me, that the written word is not the best medium for communication in a relationship. It may be amazing in books and legal contracts and other things of that nature but in relationships where two people, two emotional human beings are involved nothing is going to beat sitting down, face to face, or in some instances the proper position of Downtime, and having an actual conversation. No matter how difficult the conversation may be… In fact, the more difficult or uncomfortable the conversation the more arguably it should be an in-person conversation.
- Never expect the other person to figure out what’s bothering you.
This is a common challenge in many relationships. No matter how much the other person loves you, or how long the two of you have been together, or how many children that you have together, they can’t read your mind.
When you create expectations or layout subtle hints that you believe your partner should be able to figure out, you are setting both you and your partner up for failure. No matter how obvious the situation may be to you, your partner has almost zero chance of meeting your unsaid expectation. Think about it for a minute, they don’t even know that there is a riddle to be solved, yet you are expecting them to solve it.
Take responsibility for your happiness and your need-fulfillment and let your partner know what you need, what you expect. Your partner wants you to be happy as well and will do what they can to fulfill your needs if they are communicated properly.
Most submissives live for the opportunity to please their Dominants, but again, they can’t read your mind or interpret subtle clues without communicating your expectations clearly.
Some people like to give the silent treatment to their partner when they feel annoyed or wronged. They will often justify the silent treatment as a way of avoiding conflict or “de-escalating” the situation.
Deescalating a conflict is not accomplished by avoiding or ignoring the situation or the other person. Avoiding the other person will do nothing other than ESCALATE the situation even further and undermine the core fundamentals of the relationship by weakening the foundation, (Honesty, Communication, Trust, Respect, Intimacy, Flexibility, and Grace) Overtime your partner will become more resentful and less interested in resolving the issue.
Avoidance creates a space between the two partners. Given enough time and repetition, this space will grow too large to bridge the gap.
When tensions are high and you find yourself needing to take a minute to collect your thoughts before responding to a comment or situation, that space that you are creating is not avoidance, that space is wise…. It is the difference between being responsive or reactive.
We should all take a minute and think before we speak. ESPECIALLY when feelings and tensions are already elevated. Take a deep breath, consider the situation. Not just from your perspective but from her perspective as well. This calm consideration will enable you to control YOUR emotions and deliver a thoughtful response.
- Insecurity. For a Dominant, insecurity is a relationship killer.
When the leader is plagued by anxiety and worry, everyone is affected.
Imagine if when you were a child your father was nervous, anxious, or uncertain all of the time. Would you feel safe and secure? Or would you feel like no one was in control?
Visualize the CEO of your company appearing to be apprehensive, fearful, and uneasy. How would that make you feel as an employee? Someone whose livelihood was dependent on him and his leadership.
This lack of confidence is not only unattractive, it will begin to undermine the confidence that others have in you. And like a disease, it will begin to negatively affect the confidence of the others around you.
Insecurity can manifest itself in many ways:
- Are you frequently jealous? This can include your partner’s close friends and previous relationships.
- Do you analyze everything your partner says and does for some sign that they’re losing interest?
- Do you need constant reassurance that everything is okay?
- Do you spend more time worrying about the stability of your relationship than you do enjoying it?
- If you have a lot of insecurity in your relationships, consider addressing your levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Prior experiences in the relationship, fully exploring and solving them. Were they solved before?
- A need for unchecked control. Do you feel the need to control every aspect of your relationship? No one likes to be dominated day in and day out, not even a submissive.
There is a substantial difference between Dominance and Domineering.
Dominance is a position of leadership within a relationship. A person that is in control of not just others but also of himself. A Dominant is a person of influence. A leader that has the best interest of those in his charge at the forefront of his mind. People want to support and follow a good leader.
Domineering is when someone asserts their control over another in an arrogant way. They are hungry for control and not concerned about the other person or the other person’s welfare.
Ask yourself why you feel the need to control everything about your relationship and your partner. Micromanaging doesn’t work in the workplace, and it won’t work at home in your relationship.
- This is commonly camouflaged as caretaking taken to the extreme. But caring for the other person isn’t the real purpose. The real purpose is control.
You can be in control without being controlling…
- Being Reactive
A reaction is instantaneous. It is driven by our unconscious mind by our beliefs, biases, and prejudices. Have you ever said something without thinking, almost like a reflex? A reaction…. That is your unconscious mind speaking. That reaction is based on the moment and doesn’t take into consideration the long-term effects of why you do or say.
We often react without understanding the other person’s perspective.
Reactive is usually:
- Emotion Driven
- Fuels Disagreement
- Weakens You as a leader and your position of leadership
DO NOT REACT:
- Without thinking about the other person.
- Without being aware. Aware of the entire situation. Gather some intel on the situation first. Gain some insight and perspective.
- When you are angry.
- When you do not need to.
A reactive comment may turn out alright and sometimes they do, but all too often, especially in a relationship, a reactive comment will be the spark that ignites the flame. The other person may not even say a word or give any indication that they have been hurt or are angry. They may simply walk away with resentment. And that resentment may continue to materialize unchecked until one day they just explode.
- Assuming the role of the martyr.
“Nice guys” often assume this role. They mistakenly believe that if they sacrifice enough in the name of their partner’s happiness, they’ll eventually get what they need in the end.
This is a copout and an excuse in the making that will eventually be leveraged against your partner at some point. No one is expecting you or wanting you to sacrifice anything in the relationship. Relationships are not about sacrifice they are about abundance and growth for both people involved. Each person helps the other achieve heights that wouldn’t be possible without the other.
Your partner wants your happiness as much as you want and deserve it.
Over time, being the martyr in a relationship leads to a level of resentment that can never be satisfied.
Take a look at your relationship and be completely honest with yourself. Can you identify which, if any of these areas you can make improvements to?
What adjustments can you make today to enhance and forge a better stronger marriage?
Life is a journey and with that comes constant change. It doesn’t matter how old we are or how long we have been with our partner, we are learning and evolving every day.
We have gone over quite a bit here today…. Let’s wrap this up with a quick review.
Don’t blame yourself for not being the perfect partner in your relationship.
No one is perfect. What sets us apart from others, us Dominants us Leaders is that we recognize this and accept it. We wake up every day eager to learn and become better.
We are always striving for excellence.
It seems a little crazy but in our society, we need to actually make an effort to seek out and learn how to lead in a relationship. Yes, it takes a skill to have a successful fulfilling relationship. We need to learn and constantly work on this skill.
Poor communication will drain a relationship dry…
Communication is happening every second of every day whether we realize it or not. Everything that you do, that you say, the way you say it, the infection and tone of your voice, even the way you position yourself and your posture, your body language is communicating something to someone. Think about it for a minute…. Even if you are the guy in the room that doesnt say a word you are communicating something.
Look into downtime, what it is and how to use it, and create a structure within your relationship that will enable proper communication. We weren’t born with the skill and most likely never taught how to communicate properly. This is not an excuse but rather the reality and the catalyst to motivate you to level up on your communication skills.
As the Dominant and the leader proper communication is your responsibility. Own it…
Insecurity and Dominance are opposing words by nature. You can not be a Dominant if you are insecure, anxious, unsure of yourself.
Dominance is about self-assuredness and self-confidence. This isn’t about faking or fronting confidence. It has to be genuine authentic self-confidence.
Are you jealous? Do you need constant reassurance that you are doing everything alright? Are you indecisive and making decisions is difficult? Do you beat yourself up after a failure or a setback?
Consider joining or becoming part of a group of like-minded men where you can share your thoughts and ideas. It is also powerful to learn what others are doing in similar situations and how they are holding themselves accountable to overcome similar issues. I can’t say enough about the benefits of peer-to-peer communication and learning.
Are you a Dominant man or are you a Domineering man?
A Dominant man exhibits self-control and self-discipline.
A Domineering man has no self-control and is a slave to his passions and his appetite. (Overeat, smokes, drinks too much, too much tv or social media)
A Dominant man is patient yet relentless.
A Domineering man expects instant gratification, submission.
A Dominant man leads by example. He radiates confidence, good humor, and wisdom.
A Domineering man tries to bully and manipulate others.
Being reactive to anything in life will seldom produce positive results. Controlling your emotions is also a skill. Skills are not something that we are born with rather something that we need to develop and sharpen.
The next time you feel your blood pressure rise and your face get flushed take a few short seconds and consider your reaction.
It may not even be something that upsets you. You may have a clever or crass comment flash into your mind. How do you want to show up?
Assuming the role of the martyr
Assuming the role of the martyr could have you inadvertently abdicate responsibility for your happiness. When you behave like a martyr, you give your power away, including the power to solve your own problems and to learn new ways of responding to your own feelings and emotions.
If there were some things that we covered here today that you feel that you can work on to be a better man, a better father, a better friend, a better colleague, a better husband, a better leader, a better Dominant – A HUSDOM…. don’t beat yourself up.
That is actually a good thing. I haven’t met a single man that can’t fine-tune or trim his sails…. And I suspect I never will.
There is no one to blame for any one of the skills that you want to enhance. Not your father, not the school system, not your friends, family, no one…. Not even you…. Blaming anyone including yourself is not serving you in any healthy or positive manner.
Accept it and accept yourself for what it is and for what you are….
Whatever the issue is, identify it, own it, make a plan and take action….