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How to support your partner when you disagree with them a little


How do you support your partner when you disagree with something they do?

This is what I was thinking about when I watched it The greatest love story never toldJennifer Lopez released a documentary earlier this year. The film offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Jennifer Lopez. This is me…now: a love storya visual album chronicling Lopez’s romance and her reunion with now-husband Ben Affleck.

People around Lopez — from her agent to former “Mother-in-Law” co-star Jane Fonda — discouraged her from pursuing the expensive, self-funded passion project.

“It feels too much like you’re trying to prove something rather than just living it,” Fonda said.

Afu expressed his own misgivings about the work he inspired. (The documentary’s title comes from a book containing the couple’s emails and letters that Affleck compiled for Lopez as a Christmas gift and was never intended to be released.)

“Jen was really inspired by this experience, and that’s how artists work. I knew as a writer and director that of course I would do these things,” he says in the film. “But I always feel that personal things are sacred and special.” Part of the reason is that they are private. So it was an adjustment for me. “

Despite this, Affleck stayed by Lopez’s side throughout the film. He reviewed the script with her. He accompanied her on set. He helps her when she doubts herself.

Supporting your partner even if you disagree with them isn’t just for A-list celebrities. For example, my partner supported me doing something he didn’t like – watching this documentary – by walking into another room and making noise – canceling the headphones.

But what do you do if you’re concerned that your partner is doing something particularly dangerous or, in your opinion, misguided?

I turned to a couples therapist for some answers.

The graphic has three lines of bold text that read, “This is actually how it works,” followed by “Read more about living a good life in a complex world,” followed by a button in the shape of a pink lavender pill with white letters that read, It says ‘More Information’ section’

“Sometimes, we just need to put the other person’s needs first,” said Lum Nancyb, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in California, adding that this should not come at the expense of an individual’s safety or well-being.

“When I work with couples, I call them the ‘three Cs,'” Rum said, “communication, compromise and support.”

communicate

Address your concerns in advance

If your partner is doing something you don’t think is a good idea—like taking on more work when they’re already overburdened, or self-financing a $20 million movie—be honest Important, says Dr. Janet Hibbs, a practicing marriage and family therapist in Philadelphia.

If you let your worries fester, she warns, “you’re going to build resentment.”

Hibbs recommends thinking through your concerns and labeling them clearly for your partner. She says phrases like “I’m worried about you – have you thought about this?” and “I’m worried that I might not be able to meet your expectations” can help. .

Even when emotions are running high, respectful communication is key, says Dr. Caroline Daravi, a California registered clinical psychologist and board-certified in couple and family psychology. “Using ‘I’ statements to express feelings and needs, actively listening to your partner’s thoughts, and keeping perspective and avoiding blaming or critical language can help,” she says.

Reflect on your beliefs

Lum recommends asking yourself where your worries are coming from.

“We have unconscious core beliefs about how things should be, what is safe for people, or how people will be perceived,” she said.

Consider whether your doubts stem from concerns about your partner, or if your partner’s behavior challenges your unconscious beliefs and expectations.

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Once you identify these beliefs, you can communicate them to your partner. But remember, they may not think so.

“We don’t need to try to get others to change, but we need to do our part to accept things that don’t turn out well,” she said. “We have to respect that person’s autonomy, even if we’re a couple.”

compromise

Determine what you need to support your partners

Supporting someone doesn’t mean completely giving up on your own needs. In fact, Hibbs said, it’s important for people to consider what those needs might be.

For example, if your partner is taking a new job that requires more travel, consider what would make you feel better about seeing them less. Should you schedule daily phone calls or more frequent date nights?

“Offer help to them on your terms,” ​​she says, “with a clear understanding of what it will take to make both of you happy with the project.”

Remember, relationships aren’t always 50/50

“Marriage is rarely fair,” Hibbs says. Timing, personality, preferences and changing needs can all lead to one partner sometimes having to sacrifice more than the other.

That’s not a bad thing, Hibbs said, as long as both parties understand the care will pay off in the long run.

“There’s a delicate and ever-changing balance of give and take in a relationship,” Hibbs says. “When things aren’t fair and people feel exploited, taken advantage of, or taken for granted, it’s an opportunity to say: ‘We have to rebalance things.'”

Initiative: Understand your partner’s dreams

Ultimately, partners can be each other’s greatest defenders. But in order to do that, they have to figure out what they want to achieve as individuals and as a couple.

According to the Gottman Institute, a couples therapy research and training organization, research shows that many relationship conflicts arise from “unrealized dream”.

You may not be able to directly help your partner realize these dreams, and you may not share the dream yourself, but you can provide curiosity, empathy, emotional support, and logistical support where possible.

In some cases, you just have to remember that it’s not about you (even if “it” is based on your albums, music movies, and documentaries).

“Sometimes we just need to be there for them and exclude ourselves for a while,” Rumm said.



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