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Initially I just put these sorts of comments down to the difference in our cultures, us never having met, etc.
And in the spirit of giving him the benefit of the doubt, I agreed for him to come and visit me in England. We visited a great restaurant in London with fantastic views over the Thames. When you’re in the exciting early stages of a new relationship it can be really hard to see these warning signs for what they are—serious issues with insecurity and controlling behavior.
To do this, practice the art of non-defensive listening and focus on being curious about your partner’s feelings. When you listen for your partner’s feelings with your whole being, it becomes a lot easier to understand their perspective. To attune to your partner requires the ability to experience their feelings on such a level that that you almost become your partner.
“Empathy lies in our ability to be [fully] present.” – Marshall Rosenberg 2. It’s easy to get swept away in the facts of what happened during the heat of a conflict discussion. They argue over who is “right,” and yet both views are valid. I related to the visual Brené Brown paints of a hurt partner being down in a dark hole, because I know when I am feeling sad or upset, I feel like I’m alone in a pit of pain. Empathy is so deeply connecting that it’s physical.
So he would ask who I was texting, and if I was free then why wasn’t it him I was talking to?
When I went for a coffee with a male friend at work to discuss something business related, John asked why I couldn’t stay at work and discuss the issue there instead of going out for coffee.
I visit the USA a few times a year to see friends, and he lived in their state, so I thought I had a good idea of his culture and what he would be like in general.
By receiving empathy, not only do we feel how amazing it is to be understood, we also learn about the courage it takes to be vulnerable.In these cases, long distance is just compounding serious challenges that would have been present in the relationship anyway.When this happens in a LDR, however, the distance can even make you stay in the relationship longer than you would have otherwise.If you’re having trouble climbing into the hole with your partner, start by being curious about what they’re feeling.
Ask questions to help you understand why they are feeling that way. During your State of the Union Meeting, you’ll get a chance to summarize what you heard.
Being “rational” about the facts inhibits empathy because it invalidates emotions. Gottman suggests concentrating on what your partner is feeling. What I really crave in these moments is not for someone to throw a rope down, but for someone to climb into the hole with me. This is why Brené Brown says empathy is vulnerable.