You know the saying, “it’s not what you say it’s how you say it” ? That’s true. But it is also in fact, what you say. Often times you are not getting what you want because you aren’t even asking for it. Instead, you are complaining about what you’re getting. Asking and complaining. Those are two very different things bringing two very different results.
Example: You are the primary “household keeper”. You are usually the one that makes the bed in the morning, puts the laundry away, washes the dishes, etc. Your partner usually comes home in the evening, kicks off his shoes, throws his jacket on the bed, jumps in the shower and leaves his clothes on the bathroom floor. This may have turned into a routine, and you fall into the routine by, putting his shoes away, hanging up his coat and putting his dirty clothes in the hamper. You do this begrudgingly. You tell your friends how annoying it is. And one day, it’s not your day. He comes home and the second he kicks off his shoes you say “UGH can you put your shit away when you get home? You come home to a clean house every day and you just trash it. You do realize I’m the one that has to pick up after you, don’t you?? You’re so disrespectful you don’t appreciate anything I do around here!”
How do you think your partner is going to react in this situation? Probably not good. By attacking him with “you’re so disrespectful you don’t appreciate anything” you’ve put him in defense mode. He will probably either list all the OTHER ways he shows appreciation which you have completely disregarded, or he might counterattack you by bringing up your traits he finds disrespectful. (Like the way you just yelled at him, for example)
So try this.
“Hi Honey, how was your day? Oh really? Yeah, mine was a little stressful too. By the way, would you mind putting your coat and shoes away? I’d like to keep the house looking nice for us. Thank you!”
I know it sounds a little cheesy and too easy. But it really is that simple. Stating your wishes in a very direct and polite way, will always work 100x better than passive aggression and personal attacks. In fact, almost always, you can get exactly what you want if you talk to your partner like your new friend, your grandparent, your coworker, boss, or anyone else you have a high respect for.
Just because you are in a relationship with someone, doesn’t mean they are now yours. Yours to talk with how you wish. Yours to use as a punching bag. Yours to let your frustration and anger out on. They are only with you. Because they like you. Because they love you. So try to see the best in others and don’t assume the worst.
The only reason you lash out in scenario #1, is because you actually think your partner disrespects and under appreciates you. It is a story you have created in your head and you have now caused yourself real pain. Your partner cannot understand this pain because it is probably completely far from the truth and he is not living the same reality as you. So right now, he’s thinking you’re crazy. That’s why he’s not saying “Oh you’re right. I’m so sorry. I’m gonna try to be a better man.” This is what you would love to hear and it ain’t comin. Because in his reality, he is a good man. He had a long day, his mind was fast forwarded to having dinner with you, (skipping the part about putting clothes away) because you have been doing it for him for the last six weeks without saying a word.
So bottom line; speak kindly, have compassion, and be clear with your wishes.
That is all Happy Loving!