Relationship Tips: Work That Soft Spot!
Do you have a “soft spot” for that special someone? It’s not just a figure of speech; when we get in touch with our bodies, we feel a softening of our chest and a tenderness in our heart in relation to our beloved.
And when we have conflict, we need to speak from that soft spot and make ourselves vulnerable by sharing our true feelings. Pema Chodron, a Buddhist abbess, tells us to “stay with the soft spot” of Bodhichitta, the compassionate heart. As a therapist, when I listen to my clients, I try to feel that soft spot. And after a day of listening to other people’s problems, this can be hard to do with the person closest to me—my partner, Robin.
The other night, Robin and I got into some (verbal) “fisticuffs” about when to visit New York, where our daughter, Meg, was expecting our first grandchild. (Am I really that old?) Robin had wanted to go after the birth, to give Meg some space while the in-laws buzz’ed around.
A sudden message from Meg—she was to have labor induced tomorrow! Slipping easily into manic mode, I trolled the ‘net to find the best bus and motel deals for our visit after the birth. The next day, I get a sudden message from Robin: “I need to go immediately—I realize that I must be there for my grandaughter’s birth! And it might be better to go alone!” Was l was angry about the sudden change in plans, and hurt that Robin seemed to want to go without me!
At the end of the day, I asked Robin to stop by my office to talk. Oops—was he in trouble! Boy, did I want to zap him! But I prayed and was determined to focus on that soft spot. And the conversation went pretty well. Not too much drama—more clarification and understanding. Robin was slow (which I never am—not!) to realize his need to be with Meg for the actual birth, and he was trying to give me an “out” not to change my plans (let’s watch out for that co-dependency, fellas).
Moral(s) of the story:
- Cut hubby some slack—he may be on a different emotional “schedule”
- Don’t make an “ass” of “u” and “me” (which both of us did)
- Check out what he means (which I should have done).
So when you feel tempted to let your partner have it, work that soft spot–you never know what might happen….
PS Meg just gave birth to a beautiful, healthy girl, “Juna!”
Jonathan Lebolt, PhD is a licensed clinical social worker and psychoanalyst in private practice in Richmond. He lives happily with his partner of 13 years, Rev. Dr. Robin Gorsline, and their princely pooch, Cocoa. He (Jonathan, not Cocoa) may be reached via his website at http://Doctor-Jon.home.comcast.net
Jonathan Lebolt, PhD (“Doctor Jon”) is a licensed clinical social worker, psychoanalyst, and group psychotherapist specializing in relationship issues. He lives with his partner of 14 plus years, Rev. Dr. Robin Gorsline, and their princely pooch, Cocoa. Robin and Jonathan are proud grandfathers of a beautiful one-year-old girl, Juna. Feel free to contact Doctor Jon at his website.
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