If you’re looking for advice about relationships, you must focus on one factor that you can control: yourself. Your parents may not understand your new pursuits in life, but you can convince them by showing results and commitment to your passion. You may be in a tough period with your partner, but instead of sustaining the silence, perhaps an argument can help you both face your unspoken issues.
Here are four true-to-life cases that you can learn from to reduce misunderstandings in a relationship.
Case #1: The returning migrant parent and his aloof son
Studies show that the absence of a father negatively affects children’s social and emotional development, and the impact are more pronounced when the absence occurred during early childhood than in teenage years. According to researchers, growing up without a father increases adolescents’ risky behaviors such as smoking and teenage pregnancy. Unfortunately, some people have their hands tied when it comes to this issue. Many parents are forced to work abroad in the hopes of a better life for their families.
Alfred has been a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia for most of his son Luke’s early childhood. When he went abroad, there was no Facebook, Skype or unlimited call promos. The only chance he got to spend with his son was a few weeks once a year or during his monthly phone calls. Alfred finally decided to come home after 13 years, hoping to “make up for lost time with his family.”
Alfred knew the cost of being an
absentee father and tried his best to make things easier without forcing a father-son relationship. He did not rush to close the gap, instead he let his son be familiar with his presence first. It took years before Luke was able to consult his problems with his father, but Alfred was patient. He thought that if his son waited for more than a decade for him, he can do the same, even more, for a chance of building a relationship with his child. Waiting was worth it.
Case #2: The workaholic millennial couple
Chris and Ana met in college and soon became sweethearts. After a year, Ana had to move to another city, ending their brief relationship without much opposition. The two met five years later, both focused on their chosen careers. Chris was a sought-after architect and Ana was building a career in advertising. It was a simple dinner that rekindled their forgotten love. However, as all relationships go, theirs traversed a cycle of misunderstandings and resolutions.
They separated two years after reuniting. Each party has a side of the story. For Chris, Ana was too focused on her job and any hint of a conversation involving settling down was effectively swept under the rug. Ana did not deny this, but claimed that Chris valued his profession more and wanted her to concentrate on child-rearing when they decide to build a family.
It was too late for Chris and Ana to bother with tips on how to reduce couple misunderstandings as they already raised the white flag. Ana, however, realized things months after their separation. Had she and Chris learned to compromise, they may have worked on a plan. Instead of using their arguments as opportunities to assess their situation, they used these as a scorecard on each other until they both reached their breaking point.
Case #3: The arguments that never happened
Photo Courtesy of unsplash.com via Pexels
After 30 years of marital bliss, Dominic and Jane decided to go separate ways. It was not clear who started that conversation that would finally end a relationship that brought three children into the world. Unlike similar talks, Dominic and Jane’s did not involve shouting, broken glasses or sobs. They were as calm as the river beside their cottage. It was almost as if they were on a mission and their job has been completed after three decades.
People incessantly asked Dominic on what happened. “We just decided to live separately,” was the only response he had because there’s really nothing much into it. He genuinely loved and respected his ex-wife, but looking back, he realized that he never had an argument with her. They’d have simple misunderstandings that would evaporate in thin air—no aftershock, no emotions. Perhaps, their relationship was not something worth arguing about, he thought.
Case #4: The introvert and her chaotic extended family
Martina loves her big and loud family. Despite their flaws and sometimes lack of remorse, they’re the only people she can truly trust. However, as other introverts, Martina can’t stand daily arguments and discussions on various topics even with family members. She can talk for long hours today, but may not feel like talking to anybody tomorrow. Her family’s ignorance about introversion has led to ugly altercations with Martina being labelled as insensitive, self-centered, and proud.
To save her relationship with her family, and her sanity, Martina decided to move to her own place. Her decision was not to fan the fire, but to set defined limits in her relationships. She figured that arguments about the way she deals with people are means to no fruitful end. Martina chose condo living in the Philippines where she can have her own quiet space, redesign her bedroom and host occasional intimate dinners with her family. Instead of shutting her world and the people around her, she embraced her introversion and enjoyed relationships on her own terms. Perhaps someday, her family would truly understand the way she is.
Misunderstandings are inevitable in any type of relationship. No matter how many relationship tips your read, you can always expect to commit mistakes one way or another. The reason is simple and obvious: we are humans and humans evolve. Our perspectives and aspirations change as time goes by, and sometimes, the people around us do not or refuse to acknowledge that we may not be the same individuals we were yesterday. However, what’s important is that we try to make things work.