All of us in our relationships have reservations. What I mean is that all of us at some time or another will withhold our complete affection, love and joy from our mate because we have something that is unfinished. These are the reservations I am talking about.
And when we have these areas that we withhold from our mate we often answer questions with “Yes”, but there is often a catch. We add a “but”. It could sound something like, “Will you go to the beach with me?” “Yes I will go, but last time we went you did such and such, and I don’t want to go if you are going to act that way.”
Saying “Yes, But” Weakens Our Agreement
Do you get what I am talking about? When we agree with our mate we say yes. When we add a but we are giving them an excuse as to why the yes is not solid. This is a habit that I encounter many times in my office when I work with couples.
All of us in our relationships want to feel safe. If at some point we do not feel completely safe or at ease with our partner, then the excuses come out as to why we can’t fully commit.
I don’t think people are conscious of this, and yet it happens so often I have just accepted the fact that many people communicate this way to the person they love.
Learn to Separate Your “Yes” From Your Doubts
In the past when I would hear someone say yes, and then start to give me some more information that interferes with the yes I would usually stop them. I might say. “Let’s just hear that yes as one thing. This is separate from what you are trying to tell me now.”
After we finish with the yes, then I am able to hear their doubts or excuses as to why the yes needs qualifications. I know all of us want to love our partners. We sign up with the people we love. But sometimes when we get our feelings hurt and we aren’t able to heal and reconnect, we will build some conditions into our communication.
We want to be with our partner, but we are hesitant because we don’t want to get hurt. This is common. But it is not helpful to you or your mate. Listen to yourself answer when you are asked something. If you fall into the habit of agreeing but with conditions, just notice this. And maybe ask yourself if you are giving your mate a mixed message. And if you are, then all you have to do is realize this and be conscious the next time you fall into the habit.
Notice Your Doubts and Course Correct to Give a Confident Yes
And if you misstep again, just say, “Sorry Baby, I am working on it. I know that a yes means yes. I also know I have some conditions attached to the yes. I guess I have both things working inside me.”
Now that’s honesty, and every soul on the planet can feel that.
Communicate with Confidence in Your Relationship
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how to communicate more confidently in your relationship, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you both feel closer, better understood, and more assured of one another’s feelings. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.