Tiger or Kitten? Which One Are You?
Relationships are a funny thing. In the beginning, there's laughter, courteousness, interest, and kindness, to name but a few.
As the relationship evolves, however, and the honeymoon phase ends, the relationship may take a downturn. Being too comfortable with each other may lead you to take your partner for granted. Perhaps they do things that irritate you, frustrating you to no end. You yell, complain, and make demands aggressively. You become a vicious cat!
A lot of couples start out as kittens, but over time, turn into tigers. They allow slights, arguments, and aggravations to taint their relationship, and turn it into a battleground.
What happens? Why does this transformational shift occur?
When relationships are new, there's an undeniable spark. Everything is fresh; everything is right with the world. You've fallen in lust, and are on your best behavior. You are walking on a cloud, bragging about your honey to everyone who will listen. But like a ship sitting on a dock too long, the relationship can get battered, rusty, and sink, if not enough of the right attention is paid to it.
The thing is, in all relationships the true self eventually reveals itself—that true self is the one you hide because you don't want to scare your new love interest away. Some of what gets exposed may be irritating to your partner and vice versa. Here's an example, let's say you typically dump all your dirty clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the hamper. While you're dating, though, your clothes, time and time again, find their way into the hamper without a problem. After you've been dating a while, your clothes find their way back onto the floor, their regular resting spot. Your partner thought they were with a neat person, and now they realize they're with a slob. When this happens, patience goes out the window and tempers flare. You start to forget that this is the person you love, and instead treat them worse than a stranger on the street. You allow all the little irritations to pile up, affecting many aspects of your partnership.
Instead of asking for things nicely, such as, "Hey, Hon, would you do me a favor and take out the trash when you get a sec?" It's more like, "Would you please take out the goddamn trash! I am so sick of your laziness!" Unfortunately, that's not going to fly. You will get back what you put in. If you put in kindness, you receive kindness. If you express aggression, you'll get aggression. It's that simple.
You may be exasperated with your partner. That happens. But understand that antagonism is never the key to fixing anything. It only creates resentment and anger.
If you're in a relationship that is currently frustrating you, ask yourself, "What do I want from my partner? Do I want a person that's on my team? What is the true nature of our problem? Is yelling, whining, and complaining the right way to go about rectifying the situation? How do I solve it, instead of aggravating it?
You can come at your partner like a tiger, but that will only make them defensive, and push them away. No one wants to be attacked. Or you can come at your partner like a kitten. And who doesn't love kittens and the purring of contentment?
Further, ask yourself, "How would I like to be treated? Aggressively or kindly?" I'm certain you're going to choose the latter. That's because at the end of the day that's what everyone wants. No one wants to live like they're in a boxing ring with their partner.
If you want to have a successful relationship, practice approaching your partner with kindness. Remember, this partner of yours was chosen by you for a reason. Try and recall that reason. Think now about your best memories. How do they make you feel? Do they perhaps soften your heart?
When I get fed up with my husband, my technique is to think about all the great things he does for me. Then I say the opposite of what I'm thinking. For example, let's suppose he told me he was going to put some boxes in the attic. But day after day I see the boxes stacked in our living room. That would be extremely annoying for me. I would want to say...
"Would you please put the boxes in the attic like you said you would? How many times do I have to ask you, you good for nothing bum?"
Instead I say...
"Hey, Hon! When you get a second, would you help me put the boxes in the attic? It should only take a couple of minutes. That would really help me out."
Typically, my kind approaches yield exactly the results I want. They can for you as well. I guarantee it. This technique works time and time again.
A) When you talk to your partner, be like a kitten. Curl up to him/her and ask for what you want in the nicest way possible. Don't attack their character, even if you're upset. Recall something really cool they did for you.
B) Remember who you're talking to. They're your life partner, not a terrorist. Be kinder to them than you are to strangers on the street.
You're human. You're going to get upset with your partner. But your relationship doesn't have to be destroyed in the process.
Be kind and see what happens!
NOTE: If you are in a violent type situation with a partner, that's a whole different ball of wax. No amount of being like a kitten can save you. You are dealing with a tiger that cannot be tamed. At this point, you need professional help. Domestic abuse is not what I'm referring to in this blog article. I'm simply talking about the common irritants couples face, and how best to approach them.