Relationship Help: Thinking and Feeling Work Together

March 23, 2016 by

One of the best parts of being in a relationship is always having someone to talk to, especially during the stressful times in our lives.

It can be an enormous help to discuss problems and difficult situations with your partner, vent to them, cry to them, and – if you want – seek their advice and opinion on how to handle the problem. Not only will this possibly help you deal with whatever is causing you stress, but most likely it will also make you feel better.

But when you talk to your partner – or your partner needs to talk to you – it’s not enough that he or she simply understands what you are going through. Your partner has to actually care about what you’re going through and feel compassion and sympathy – and vice versa. You need to think and feel together.

That seems simple enough, but it’s not always how we behave.

To Think, To Feel, or to Do Both?

Let’s look at an example.

Your partner comes home from work complaining about how their boss is giving them too much work. You’ve heard this story before. You understand what your partner is going through, and you know how he or she feels and what they’re thinking.

So you have two choices here:

Choice A: Although you know your partner is upset, you don’t really care today. You also had a long day and don’t want to get into a long discussion.

Choice B: Even though you also had a long day, your partner is upset and you want them to feel better. You care about what your partner is going through, so you tell your partner you’re all ears if they want to talk.

If you go with Choice A, you’re just thinking. You’re probably not going to really be present if your partner wants to talk to you. You’ll be less responsive, less supportive, and less compassionate in your interaction.

If you go with Choice B, you’ll be thinking and feeling. You are choosing to take care of your partner’s needs and be responsive to them. Not just to listen, but to also show your support and compassion.

Your partner will remember what choice you make here, and your choice could set a precedent for future interactions. If you go with Choice A, your partner might wonder if you’ll always respond to them that way. And if you go with Choice B, your partner might trust that your responses will always be concerned.

So it’s not enough to know what your partner is going through, you also have to give your partner the support that he or she needs when they need it.

By thinking and feeling you can offer your partner understanding, compassion, and sympathy, which can strengthen your relationship and bring you closer together.

If you need relationship help, consider reaching out to a Portland relationship counselor to get your relationship back on track.