In last week’s blog, I talked about how using “I” language can help improve communication with your partner. Doing so acknowledges to both of you that you take responsibility for your own feelings. Likewise, it is important to confront yourself first when discussing relationship difficulties.
Start by facing yourself honestly. Admit your negative parts and acknowledge their role in the situation. If you feel stingy or greedy or jealous or resentful, say that out loud and own that this is your stuff to deal with. This demonstrates that you are willing to admit your faults, and it sets the stage for your partner to do the same. For example, to return to the case of not feeling like your partner appreciates your contribution, you might say, “Now that we’re talking about it, I know I have a part of me that is a martyr. I do a lot around the house that you don’t even expect. I take more on that I can handle, and I struggle to ask for help. Sometimes, I don’t even tell you I’ve done something. I wait for you to notice, and then I end up getting resentful when you don’t. I have been too afraid to bring this up and address it, and that’s on me. Going forward, I am not going to secretly pick up the slack, and I am going to talk to you to work out a more equitable way to share the responsibilities.”