I have had many clients come into my office with a laundry list of complaints about his/her spouse. One client in particular was talking about divorce. When I asked if he had ever expressed his concerns to his spouse his response was, “Oh no I couldn’t do that I wouldn’t want to hurt her feelings.” Now explain to me how leaving your partner who thinks she has a happy marriage is not going to hurt her feelings. This phenomenon happens frequently.
When your spouse tells you only what he thinks you want to hear, is always nice and accommodating, AND has a long list of secret complaints and resentments, you have a huge problem. One partner thinks everything is fine and the other is on the way to divorce.
Imagine the gap between these two individuals. Imagine what that would feel like to you to think you are in one situation only to find you are in another. By people pleasing you sell out on yourself and your partner. You do not know who you are, nor does your partner know you. You have built resentment! Resentment kills passion. You may shut down and this may set up the perfect scenario for an affair. After all you feel justified because look at all the injustices your partner has committed. WRONG!!!!
It is your job in a partnership to have the courage to bring up your concerns and let your partner have the opportunity to address your concerns and fight for her marriage. If you find yourself in this situation now, start talking fast.
Make a list of your concerns, find your voice and start speaking. My book details exactly how to do this paying attention to timing, tone, sensitivity, and respect. I have seen so much suffering because a partner’s marriage was over before she/he had a chance to fight for it.
If you have been someone who seeks out people who tell you what you want to hear, you are at risk for the above. You want to know when your partner (business or romantic or friendship) is upset with you. If you have never heard a complaint from someone close to you watch out. If your concern is important enough to leave, fire someone, build resentment, or get sick over, it is important enough to bring up.
Honesty is important in all relationships including marital, business, friendship, contractor/client, doctor/patient, lawyer/client, etc. People- pleasing is not honesty.
(c) 2014, Anne Brown. Permission needed for reproduction in any form.