She wanted an open relationship, but he didn’t. After months of endless processing, he finally relented. Reluctantly, he allowed her to date others, and at some point, finally went out on a date of his own. He fell in love with someone else. She freaked out. Now she wants monogamy and he wants an open relationship. They have switched positions.
She wants more sex but he isn’t interested. His libido is gone he says. We work together in several coaching sessions to revive his drive and reignite his interest. As soon as he is amped up and ready to go, she finds excuses for why she doesn’t really want to. They have switched roles.
She wants to get married but he isn’t sure. She threatens to leave him, saying she doesn’t want to be with someone who isn’t committed. As soon as she takes a break from the relationship, he realizes that he can’t live without her. He proposes, but she declines because she isn’t sure he is “the one”. They have switched places.
What the heck is going on?
We have seen variations of this pattern over and over again throughout our entire coaching career. I have seen it in myself as well. I want one thing, or so I think, but as soon as I get it, I am then not so sure. I strangely seem to want something else – sometimes the exact opposite of what I was just fighting for!
These scenarios are commonplace in our relationships.
• One of you enjoys a clean tidy house and the other prefers it a mess.
• One of you wants children and the other isn’t ready.
• One of you wants to commit and the other isn’t sure.
• One of you likes to save money while the other is a spender.
• One wants sex and the other couldn’t care less about it.
• One is social and wants to go out and the other is content to stay home.
• One of you wants monogamy and the other wants an open relationship.
• One of you likes loud music and the other likes it quiet.
• One wants more time together and the other wants more space.
• One of you likes to camp outdoors for vacation and the other likes to stay in a hotel, shop and visit museums.
• One of you wants to live together and the other wants to continue living apart.
The list goes on…
It is easy in these moments of conflict and incompatibility to question whether or not you are well suited for one another. You may wonder if you will ever get what you want in the relationship and even contemplate ending the relationship in search of a better match.
At first glance, these incompatibilities look like either/or scenarios where one of you is going to get what you want and the other isn’t. This sets you up for a fight against each other as adversaries as you endeavor to “win” your side.
But conflicts like these aren’t winnable, because there is something going on underneath that is bigger than the either/or conflict on the surface: a deeper truth, a deeper desire, a deeper need, a deeper fear.
We offer a radical new way of looking at conflict that transcends the either/or paradigm. Our unique system allows you to find the AND in your conflict, the place of overlap, the opening in the middle where there is alignment, where there is connection, where there is agreement. In that middle place, creative solutions abound that will surprise both of you.
In our work with thousands of couples and singles, we have come to realize that external conflicts in relationship are an expression of internal conflicts. Meaning, if I have a desire for sex and you don’t want sex, some part of me wants sex and some part of me doesn’t.
The same is true for you. Some part of you wants sex and some part of you doesn’t. When I own both parts in myself and you own both parts in you, we are then able to work as partners on the issue rather than as adversaries to find common ground and discover creative solutions.
I worked with one couple that was at an impasse. She wanted monogamy and he wanted an open relationship. They both loved each other deeply and didn’t want to lose their relationship, but they didn’t know how to move forward. Just for an experiment, I invited him to say he would marry her and invited her to say he could be with other women from time to time. They both felt completely relieved and excited as they said their respective phrases. Turns out, both of them wanted security and freedom, marriage and open relationship. They lit up, walked out hand in hand and got married soon after. They raised a son and had a few sexual liaisons with others from time to time. That was 25 years ago.
They found their “middle”, that win/win solution that felt good and right to them and allowed them to create exactly what they wanted in their relationship.
It is important to note that solutions are not a one size fits all. In other words, what worked for them might not work for you even if you have the same problem. You need to find your middle, your opening, your solution.
We have successfully helped many couples and singles to solve recurring fights, conflicts and challenges once and for all by finding their “middles”.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for support if you find yourself in some of these similar predicaments.
Or consider joining us for our phenomenal Gift of Conflict workshop! (Registration is open for the first time to non-Mastery Program members.) Click here for more information or to register.
Really. There is no need to stay stuck in conflicts. No need to keep fighting about the same things over and over again.
With a little help, you can discover the breakthroughs and creative solutions that will delight and grow you to the next highest version of yourself and your relationship!!