Agreements For Healthy Relating | Agreement 3: If We Are Upset, We Make a Request
Agreement 3: If we are upset and we would like a new rule or new agreement, we make a request.
This could be as simple as, “my request is you open doors for me on a date” or “my request is that you call if you are going to me 5 or more minutes late”, or “my request is that on our dates you turn your phone off - or silence it” so you are fully present.
Or it could be something with more gravity and/or more impact: “if you are dating other people, my request is that you let me know that”, or “my request is that we be monogamous”.
This is how to have clean communication, to get what you want, and to get back into connection as cleanly and as quickly as possible.
All too often I have seen proponents of so-called “conscious” communication manipulating (or attempting to manipulate) the other person through simply expressing displeasure and then being upset that they did not pick up on it.
All too often women in so-called “conscious” or “transformational” communities talk about how the man should get better at hearing “feminine” communication.
There is certainly some truth to that - men need to pay attention to minimal cues more and can develop more subtle awareness both linguistically and - but it also codifies implicit communication 0- and can lead to passive-aggressive tendencies that leads to the ickiest (that is a technical term) kind of control where one person is controlling the other person through their lack of emotional facility - often intentionally.
And once you allow this to work, and this dynamic seeps into your relating, it can be one heckuva downward spiral that gains momentum.
And then you have devolution, not evolution.
Let’s explore what you may be upset by.
It could be a trigger (something unresolved from your past that is stacked on top of other similar events and therefore disproportionate). It could be a boundary that was crossed (you may or may not have been aware of it being a boundary but your upset can bring that into the foreground). It could be a broken agreement with the person you are in a relationship with.
First, reflect on whether or not you are holding them accountable to an agreement they have not made.
Next, explore whether or not it is triggering something from your past: the disproportionate nature of it will point to that. Relate to this as an opportunity to heal that. It’s a gift they just handed you, really, without knowing it.
If they broke an agreement you had made with them, there are several steps:
First, ask, “it is my understanding we had __________ agreement. Is that your understanding?”
It is my experience - and my observation - that most people simply forgot. So all it takes it to bring the agreement back into awareness.
Obviously, if it is a larger transgression, like that breaking an agreement around dating or sex, that would be nearly impossible to forget, like “we agreed to be monogamous” then the next step is to offer incredible grace.
For example: is there anything I have done to create the conditions for you to [most likely] not tell the truth about what was happening.
Some of you may be protesting right now, but remember two critical things:
- Communication skills are physical skills. So take every opportunity to get as much practice as you can
- We take responsibility for our part in things - despite the fact that it will give them grace. And we do it for healthy selfish reasons: to build self-esteem and to increase our capacity for spaciousness and depth.
“Grace” in this context is defined as “unmerited mercy”. But again, that is just fine, because we do it for us - for our own personal evolution - not for them.
This is an excerpt from Jason's forthcoming book on Evolutionary Relationships from the #RelationshipGenesis section.
To be Guided by Jason - whether you are currently in a relationship and want to transform it, or you are single and want to “do the next one right” - check out the Evolutionary Relationships offering.
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