Being a guy who never really knew how to connect emotionally?
It was pretty natural I would develop work and play activities that did not require me to interact on a more personal level.
So I took on things like technology and IT for a career.
I became a typical geek software guy who could program in a room for 16 hours and not notice there weren’t people there.
But of course you can’t spend all your time working (You can’t?!!), so I also needed something to do with my spare time when I had some.
Something that would ensure I didn’t come too close to humans as well.
My hobby of choice?
Theology and philosophy.
The world of ideas.
I know what you’re thinking.
No wonder this guy writes the way he does about relationships!
Although you might not think so, my work in philosophy has actually given me a lot of great relationship skills.
Of course it took a lot of years for the value to translate.
I had to become open first and learn to accept and rejoice in my emotional life.
It makes me sad how long this took me.
That I had to go through a difficult relationship crisis to finally wake up.
If you’re a guy and relate to what I’m saying there is hope.
You can change and you can become the lover you wish you could be, even if you feel emotionally shut down right now.
If you want to talk about it I hope you’ll catch a coffee with me to find out what I can do to help.
You can get out of this trap!
One great thing that happened when I finally woke up?
Though I got to add all that emotional sensitivity and appreciation to my life?
I did this without loosing the valuable things I gained from my more intellectual endeavors.
This is something you guys are often worried about. You think if you open up more to your feelings you’ll become some sort of prissy beta male who loses his alpha masculinity.
It’s not like that at all.
I kept everything I gained.
I just added a richer part.
Now I’m a thinking analytical who loves girls and enjoys connecting with them.
Talk about a great deal!
You get the best of both worlds!
One of the most important relationship skills I bring to the plate from my philosophy experience is the ability to disagree.
This doesn’t sound like a great relationship skill Kel.
It sounds like you’re headed for trouble.
I know what you’re wondering.
How can conflict and disagreement be positive for a relationship?
It’s not conflict itself that is positive.
It is what can come from it.
When things aren’t working, the only way for you to find a better way of viewing the world and living in it, is to change your way of thinking so you act differently.
You can only change your way of thinking when someone with a different perspective impacts your thinking.
Often that person will be your partner.
You have to be able to disagree with each other if you want to grow.
If you’ve been following this blog?
You’ll know I don’t recommend personal growth as the reason to be in a relationship.
But the fact is, it is inevitable you will grow when you’re with your partner.
Doing so is a big part of what helps build the emotional connection you share together.
As you carry on intimate conversation and spend time together in recreational activities, these dynamics increase the bond you have for each other.
But you’re individuals and you will not always see eye to eye.
You will disagree. Being open to disagreement will allow you to create a deeper connection once you see things differently.
You will disagree.
Being open to disagreement will allow you to create a deeper connection once you see things differently.
The problem of course?
Most of us don’t enjoy somebody disagreeing with us.
Instead we tend to gravitate to people who agree with us.
Or people who will defer to us so we can have our own way.
This is really a a problem with you guys. Most of you have big egos. When your partner disagrees with you, you get defensive or angry with them.
You feel hurt and become emotionally wounded (yes guys even you get emotionally wounded despite your tough unemotional veneer!).
This harms your bond.
It interferes with the feeling of romantic love you share with your girl.
Of course I don’t have to tell you girls about feeling hurt when you’re attacked do I?
Though your normal pattern is to get quiet and defer.
Neither of these responses is helpful to your love.
This is where my experience in philosophy comes in.
A lot of people don’t realize it, but the philosophical world is a world of conflict and disagreement. Philosophers are notorious for disagreeing with each other and never arriving at consensus most of the time.
What most people never stop to notice though?
Philosophers do this while hardly ever becoming emotionally wounded by each other.
How do they accomplish this?
By maintaining objectivity.
This is built right into their discipline.
What they do is discuss ideas not people.
By talking about concepts and avoiding reference to the people holding them?
They disagree with each other all day long and nobody gets hurt.
You need to do the same thing in your relationships.
You need to make protecting your partner and keeping him or her safe your highest priority.
Yes there will be times when you disagree.
Some of your most important bonding will result from expressing such disagreement.
But you need to be sure that your partner’s feelings are always more important to you than being right or winning an argument.
What makes things more difficult of course?
Often when you are disagreeing with your partner?
You’re disagreeing about things you care a great deal about.
I get it.
It isn’t as practically relevant to a philosopher whether or not we’re living in the Matrix.
Your partner’s careless habitual negligence makes you feel unloved.
In relationships you’re trying to find a way to bring two very different individuals into communion.
You’re doing this so you can share the closeness you both desire.
You have a very vested interest in the outcome of such discussions. This makes it harder not to become emotional.
But the way to guard your hearts is still to do what the philosophers do.
Create a structure around your disagreements that controls the emotional impact.
Make your discussion about the ideas.
Not about your partner.
Talk about how you feel yes, but not in a way that accuses your partner of making you feel that way.
Be sure to reassure your partner you love her.
That he is more important to you than what you’re trying to help him see.
If you make this point of protecting your partner’s feelings your priority in times of relational conflict?
You’ll more easily come out the other side stronger and more emotionally connected as qwll.
What about you? What ways do you use to protect your partner when it’s time to disagree?
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