It has been my experience that the number one reason for conflict in relationships is due to simple misunderstandings. We all have our own junk drawer of experiences and they are different for each one of us. So when someone says something or does something, we react to it based on our own experiences. Often, we misunderstand the intention behind a remark or an action. How do you know it’s a misunderstanding? Usually you are hurt or upset, and the other person is confused, or you’re both hurt and confused, or you are completely pissed off and turning into a raging lunatic. Those are just a few examples. I believe misunderstandings are the easiest things to overcome…to straighten out, to fix. How do you fix it? It is as simple as asking for clarification. Is this what you meant? Or maybe you just say, these are how your actions are affecting me. Most often you will find that what you thought, wasn’t even close. We fail to realize that too often what we THINK is not really what is. If you are hurting, then ask for clarification.
I had a best friend growing up. We came from completely different worlds but we were as close as two girls could be. We were silly and free to be our absolute selves with each other without worry of rejection. We skinny dipped together, smuggled food into movie theaters, took late night walks around town talking about anything and everything, we showered together and I even felt her up one time…completely by accident of course. Our relationship was a safe haven for both of us in a time of our lives that was tumultuous. She lived several hours away and I would often drive down to spend the weekend with her and sometimes longer. She rarely invited me, I would just call her up and say I was coming. After a while, I started to think she didn’t want me to come. I mean, if I was always the one inviting myself? So my visits became less frequent.
Years later I reached out to her at a very vulnerable time in my life. I missed my best friend, I needed my best friend. What I got in return from her was years of pent up frustrations over things I had “done” and how I abandoned her. One of the things that came out was my not visiting. She was upset with me because I never came to see her when she got her first new place and how hurt she was about that. I was shocked…to say the least. From my perspective, I never ever meant to hurt her. I didn’t think she wanted me there because she never asked me to come…from her perspective I didn’t care for her because I didn’t come. What a stupid misunderstanding. One that could have simply been resolved if either one of us had just opened our fucking mouth at the time and said “I’m hurt…”. Unfortunately after a decade of festering and adding on to that with more and more misunderstandings, there was no saving it. To much damage had been done.
Our thoughts are most often wrong. You have to be willing to get to the truth, and not just what you think is true. Having said that, there are some exceptions. Sometimes people don’t really want to know the truth. Sometimes we just want to believe something is the way we think it is because we want to justify our own feelings. That’s ok, that’s yours. Sometimes, what we think something is..really is what we think. Now you have to do with it what you need to. I truly believe that it is best to base your actions on truth…rather than suspicion. Find the truth, then act accordingly. This is how you are able to let go of regret.
How do we then fix a misunderstanding once we know the truth. If someone is important to you, you need to give the person what they need, not what you think they need. That’s another huge mistake we make in our relationships. We need to be sure we ask that person what is they need to make it better…not just give them what we need, and think that fixes it. How many times have you said “but I said I was sorry, why are you still mad?”. Um, well… That is the moment you need to look your loved one in the eyes and ask them. Maybe sorry isn’t what they need to hear. Maybe they need something completely different. Maybe they don’t want to fix it and there is nothing you can say to make it right. It’s complicated sometimes,I get that, but it’s worth it for those moments when the answer is simple.
On the flip side, if YOU need something specific in order to heal, then you need to ask for it. Why oh why the hell do we think people should just read our minds, and instinctively know what we want. They can’t. No matter how much they love you, they cannot read your mind. So if you are not getting what you need…then for the love of all that is precious, ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. Let them decide if they can give it or not. My ex asked me what I needed one time, I said a hug, he walked away. What I needed, was not something he could give.
I’ve come to realize that my relationship with the hunky stallion has been an awful series of misunderstandings. I think I now know what happened. Maybe. He’s not talking, but he’s said enough to put me on what I believe is the right track. I thought he wanted this, he thought I wanted that…both of us were wrong, and both of us have done things based on those wrong assumptions. I can actually pin point the moment it started to spiral out of control. It would have been an easy fix if he had said “what do you mean by that?” or if I had simply elaborated on what I meant by what I said. Many times I’ve asked him what was going on, and his answers were vague,so on I went making my own assumptions and digging myself in deeper.
I’ve gone a little crazy with all this. I tried to fix things based on what I thought the problem was, and I was never really addressing the problem at all. Truth is I was actually compounding the issue this whole time. This is exactly the shit that makes this otherwise smart reasonable woman a complete and utter crazy nut job. Now I get it. I want soooo desperately to just clear the air. He apologized for the misunderstandings…but, we have never really addressed them. There is so much that needs to be settled and I want to settle them once and for all. He’s not talking. That too makes me crazy. The other day I told him, whether this thing between us is over or not, I do not want any more misunderstandings, I just want to clear the air. So far, I’ve got nothing. No response. This is a really hard lesson for me to swallow. If he is not interested in clearing the air…if he is perfectly comfortable with what he perceives to be the truth, I can’t do anything about that. No matter how much I want to…For me, I don’t care what he decides to do, but I want his decision to be based on the truth. I may not get that chance, and that really sucks.
The lesson in all this for me to take to my next “relationship” is to be clear and ask for clarification when I’m not sure. Ok…got it!! Bring it on Universe!! Oh wait, not yet, I’m not ready…I’m still licking my wounds on this one. Give me a minute.