The Power of Constructive Conflict

Continuing from yesterday’s post entitled Cursing and Conflict

 

Mr. C is probably the best person for having healthy conflict. He believes in fair fighting. In case you didn’t know, Mr. C is a Beta male. I’m an Alpha female. We get along well. I’ll discuss the Beta Male comparison in another post, but the point is that Mr. C doesn’t believe in a whole lot of arguing, fussing, fighting or cursing. He isn’t disrespectful or cursing me out my name when we are in disagreement. He believes that two adults should be able to have a conversation and work through their issues. Sounds simple right?

In reality, it is simple with him. I spend a lot of time researching ways to effectively communicate with my love. I do this by investing in quality conversations. We discuss our feelings and we do relationship check-ins. Remember my fear of telling him that I didn’t want to marry or the fact that I didn’t want to buy a house or adopt children? It was an enormous amount of adjustments that he had to accept, but I had to make sure that we could communicate through it all without harboring negative feelings.

I’m a business woman and I think in terms of black and white. There are no shades of gray. Gray is indefinite and I need definite answers for everything. Yes, I know that I can’t always get what I want that way, but you can give me a time frame. Things need to be time bound and relevant to work with me.

That’s when I learned about constructive conflict and started using it in our relationship.

Constructive conflict refers to conflict in which the benefits exceed the costs; it generates productive, mutually beneficial, shared decisions. In constructive conflicts, the process becomes as important as the end result. Individuals come together to redefine or strengthen their relationship for the greater good of the parties involved. – Differences Between Destructive & Constructive Conflict by Colette L. Meehan

I was dealing with our communication and conflict from the only logical way that I could think of…the business sense. In constructive conflict we both see the benefits of communicating our needs effectively no matter the cost. We understand that no matter what we say that we will be able to work through it. We don’t argue, yell or curse each other out. There is no disrespect. Only a strengthening of our desire to make sure that we are tackling our issues together because together is the only outcome we want.

So, we focus on the process. It was weird at first because I never knew that you could have healthy conflict in relationships. Hell, I grew up in a loud and disrespectful environment and I was embarking on something I never had…peace. Peace of mind to know that the person you love isn’t your enemy and they can disagree with you without cursing you out or calling you out your name.

That’s it. He’s not my enemy. He’s my love. He’s my best friend. He’s the person that I trust with all the pain that I’ve endured to not belittle or discourage me. He’s my supporter. Knowing and accepting that allows me to understand how conflict can work and apply it in our relationship.

I’m not perfect. Neither of us is perfect, but we we are committed to focusing on our relationship and keeping it strong and healthy. We know that it is a process and we’ll keep working on it. Why? Because we’re worth it.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Playing Games

I had a conversation with my male best friend this weekend about this woman he’s dating. He was telling me that he’s cutting her off because he doesn’t like the games she plays. I asked him what game is she playing? He said “the game of passive/aggressive I’m going to try to get you to step up and say that you want me to be in a relationship with you exclusively” game.

I sighed.

He was struggling. He hadn’t had a successful relationship since his marriage ended six years ago. He never allowed anyone to get close. He didn’t believe in love.

It was always the same story with women. They get too close and he finds a way to break it off and run for the hills. However, she was new. She had lasted a while. It had been six months. He said she was smart, beautiful and successful. He had hinted that there were things wrong with her though.

She had her issues. “Everyone has issues” I said. “I know, but I don’t like a woman that tries to control my life or tell me what I will and won’t do.” I asked “What did she say?” He told me that she told him that once that are in a committed relationship that I can no longer come over to his house and visit. Umm.

“Well, if that’s what ya’ll do I’m cool with it” I said. “No one tells me who can come over to my house. She doesn’t pay this mortgage and I don’t like that. It’s not like you come over all the time.” I laughed.

He’s right. We’ve been friends 29 years this August. A long friendship. Many twists and turns and we’ve managed to not kill each other. It says a lot. I trust him. He has my back. Not sure if I met him or Nikki first, but the bond is deep. The bond is real. Friends for almost 3 decades and you want to put limits on that friendship. I’m not sure how I feel about it. But, I respect his choices.

He’s right on some things. Wrong on others. But, is she playing games? I don’t think so. I think that she really likes him and just wants an exclusive relationship. She wants to know that she’s number one. Many women want that.

She was wrong to try and tell him what to do, but he doesn’t communicate well. He’s always testing women. I think there’s something to be said about two people sitting back and having a conversation about the future of their relationship. It may not come out the way you want, but you can’t say that you didn’t tell each other how you feel. We’re too old to not tell people how we feel.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Dating Diary: Treat Em Right

I am always looking for new ways to work on my relationship with Mr. C and just trying to be a good girlfriend. I’ve never been a girlfriend for long and I wasn’t concerned about my exes feelings and we were young  that it didn’t matter. As, I’m now over 40 and constantly learning myself, I’ve learned to focus on communication with Mr. C as a means to strengthen our relationship.

Why? Because I love him. And? I love him more than being vulnerable. I actually hate being vulnerable. I said it. I feel like it opens me up and you can see what I’m really feeling. I hate showing my feelings. Ugh!

But, I do with Mr. C. Even when I try not to, he knows me well enough to tell when something is wrong. He pays attention to me. Especially to my tone. It’s a good and bad thing at times.

That being said I understand the importance of making sure that I’m meeting his needs. I don’t ask all the time, but I think it’s important to find out if there are things that he desires of me that I’m just not paying attention too. Blame it on my short attention span, but he deserves to know that I’m invested and concerned about him as a man, as a father, as a son and as a human being. I’m paying attention.

So, I asked him three questions to do a relationship check-up and find out how I’m doing and give myself a tune-up if need be so that we can be on one accord. My 3 questions were as follows:

  1. What things could I do to strengthen our communication?
  2. Do you think I’m open to your ideas and/or suggestions?
  3. Do you believe that I value and respect our time together? Do I put you first?

His responses were:

  1. When we make plans/meeting each other lets make sure we communicate that we are on the same pages, from beginning to end.
  2. I believe you are but sometimes my ideas are shot down.  i.e.  meeting for breakfast…its not about us eating just sitting and talking..connecting before you go to work.
  3. You do except for when you get that social media buzz.  but it doesn’t bother me because I get it…I completely understand when there’s a need to check our devices.

Yeah, he responded! However, I’m not surprised. He’s a great guy who is open to me reaching out and soliciting input at any moment. That being said it looks like I have work to do. I agree with #1 and I realized that I do #2 and #3 so I have to check myself and make sure that I’m being present in the moment and not shooting down my man’s ideas. I can be a negative Nancy and I need to work on that. Also, I need to make sure that he has my undivided attention and turn my head away from my phone.

Now, Mr. C wanted me to answer the same questions about him. Here’s how I responded:

  1. You could confirm date/time and locations anytime we are meeting. Make sure that we are on the same page from beginning to end. You could also talk to me more. Let me know more of what you think about things that I say or do.
  2. I don’t understand when I mention something that you don’t really give a yes or no response right at that moment. I feel like I’m being blown off in some ways so then I don’t want to suggest things. I know it’s not true, but I need you to either 1. answer immediately or 2. write it down and follow-up with me timely. By not following up it makes me feel like you don’t care about it.
  3. Yes, I believe that you value our time together and yes I believe that you try to put me first.

Yep, time for us to get to work!

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Dating Diary: Water My Dang Flower

I was telling you in yesterday’s post some of my lessons learned about relationships. Mr. C and I are struggling with time management. Specifically, quality time. Here’s what happened when I discussed it with my therapist…

I was sharing with my therapist last week how I had only spent about an hour with him since the start of the new year. I told her that he had stopped by to give me my birthday gifts but we hadn’t spent any substantial time with each other. I told her that now that he’s sick, I have no idea when I’m going to see him. We were two weeks into the new year.

She listened. She said “Relationships are like flowers. You have to water them or they will die.” She explained that he would need to treat our relationship like a job. Schedule time on the calendar to get together. I told her that he wouldn’t do that because he said that I’m the type of person that would be disappointed if plans changed. She said “Good. I believe that if he hears your disappointment then he won’t want to disappoint you. He will make it happen.”

I sat there and thought about that. That’s what happened in my last marriage. We stopped watering each other’s flower. We died. We stopped caring if we disappointed each other. So what? We probably thought “Oh well, just deal with it.” I was too tired to play any role but room mate and friend. We both died from our choices.

I didn’t want that to happen with Mr. C. I am constantly choosing him each and every day and I needed to make sure that he was doing the same. That we were watering each other’s flowers and making the time to be in each other’s lives. I told him what my therapist said.

He listened and said he had to process. But, he made an effort to see me two days later. We went to lunch and that’s when we had the difficult conversation that I wrote about. He then tells me about an interview for a job within his organization but the hours would be 2pm to 10pm.

I sighed. I was never going to see him. He already switched his hours from 8:30 to 5pm to 10:30 to 7pm. He couldn’t stand the stress from the traffic. I got it. I understood. I chose to move to the other side of the county thereby creating a 45 minute drive between each other. However, I work a straight 9 am to 5pm job. I explained that as busy as I am that I still make spending time with him a priority. It was God, my family (including him) and my sorority. I guess I wondered where I fit in to his hierarchy structure.

How does he see me? Is it as simple as I laid out for him or a more convoluted explanation. I know I’m probably over thinking it. But, I am a person that thinks in terms of black and white. No areas of gray. I have a lot on my plate, but I am committed to nurturing and watering this relationship. But, I can’t water my own dang flower alone. He needs to water me more.

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Simple

How simple life would be if we just lived in and owned our own truth? Why do we complicate matters by practicing deceit, ignorance and omission? Aren’t you exhausted from all the games?

I am.

Simple.

I choose to simply tell the truth.

Own my truth.

I don’t owe anyone explanations for my behavior.

Take it or leave it but the truth is simple.

Here are my some of my truths:

  • I don’t want any more children. I choose not to be pregnant ever again. Been there and done that.
  • I don’t want to pretend that I have it all together. I don’t. Half the time I am just winging it and hoping I don’t fall apart before I get home.
  • Men from my past life…you have no chance with me right now. I’m in a happy and healthy relationship and I need you to reflect on why we aren’t together in the first place.
  • I shut down when I’m tired of listening to the same argument. I won’t go in circles with the same issues.
  • I don’t say stuff out of anger. I choose my words carefully because I can’t take it back when it’s said. I just shut down.
  • I am an advocate for women’s rights. As a survivor of abuse, I refuse to allow anyone to be victimized or suffer in silence like I did.

Simple. Those are my truths. I own them. I make no apologies for being who I am and you know what? Neither should you. Simply be the best you possible.

 

This post is in response to the Daily Post. The word was simple.

Getting It Off My Chest

Have you ever been in a situation where you were mad as hell about something with someone you loved and you didn’t know how to talk about it? That happened with me and Mr. C this week. It’s true. We had our first real issue and I was mad as hell and ready to walk the hell away from the man who gave me butterflies and makes me feel safe.

It started on Monday when we had lunch. I was talking to him about something and his response made me feel insignificant. Like I didn’t matter. I felt like the months that we’ve spent building and creating this safe and secure relationship was all in vain. For the first time, I felt like I was the butt of the joke where I had this great relationship and then it just was all fake.

I struggled with my feelings all day and night long. I was emotional and wanted to scream. I sought advice from my friends because I needed guidance. I needed an outside opinion on what the hell happened. How do I turn back the clock and get the man that I fell in love with back?

Differing opinions on how I should handle the situation. When men advised me to leave him alone, I cried. Why are you crying they would ask? I would tell them that God told me. That God told me that Mr. C was the man that I was going to marry. I wondered if God had made a mistake.

I know it was crazy. God doesn’t make mistakes, but I was really going through it. I was wallowing in despair and looking for a life jacket. I needed rescuing bad. But, no one was helping me. No one could help me feel better.

I went to sleep that night tossing and turning and my spirit was in a place of unrest. I had a stomach ache the next morning and I was exhausted. I talked to a friend that morning and he gave me these great words of encouragement about talking to Mr. C…”It doesn’t matter if they don’t have a problem with it. You do and you should address it.”

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Boom.

There it was.

I had a problem with how our conversation went and how I felt that we were on two different pages, hell in two different books. I had to talk to him. I couldn’t keep talking to everyone around me but him. I needed to muster up the strength and tell him how I felt even if it meant that I had to walk away in the end.

So, I called him 5 minutes before I pulled up to my office. After a minute of pleasantries I just told him that my spirit was in unrest after our conversation yesterday. I told him how I felt like he didn’t care about me. That I didn’t matter. I explained that I let him into my life no matter how messy it is or was, but how could I support him when he won’t let me in?

I went on and on for about 5 minutes straight and told him that if I told him what he had said to me that he would be pissed too. He agreed. He then said something that I wasn’t prepared to hear.

“I hear you. I don’t have a response. I need time to process.”

What the hell?

In my head I was cursing him in all kind of foreign languages that I didn’t speak. But, I’m in therapy now so I know how to pause and reflect before speaking.

Okay.

That was all I could say.

He wished me well and we got off the phone.

I didn’t know where we were ending up. Was I single again? Was this relationship a big mistake?

And It’s Done

Mr. K and I are over. We just couldn’t make it work. While I believe he is an awesome man, I’ve accepted the fact that he just might not be the man for me. That was hard to do. But, I know you can’t put a square peg in a circle. I’m not sure which of us is the peg, but you get the gist right?

Compatibility. Differing points of view I guess. I don’t know. Probably my smart mouth or a combination of things.

Sigh.

It’s hard. It was sad. But, I’m thankful for the time shared. I told you that I believe that people come into your life for a reason, season or lifetime and it’s up to you to figure that out. Well, his was probably a reason. To remind me that I deserve to have a man who opens doors for me, pays for dates and respects me as a woman. I’m thankful for the lesson learned and I’m thankful that I met him.

I’m going on vacation Saturday and I will sit on the beach (with a big glass of wine) and reminisce about better days. It is what it is. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m optimistic.

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5 Turnoffs in On-Line Dating Profiles

Me and my girlfriend were conversing a few weeks ago about how frustrating it is weeding out men in on-line dating. We were talking about how inevitably no matter how decent a man sounds on-line, once we start conversing and meeting then we find out that he was a major disappointment. Not at all like his profile. In fact, in many cases he may have even lied.

Now, before you say that everyone lies in their on-line profiles, I would say that it is not an accurate statement. I am honest and many women I know are honest. I’ve actually met some guys whose profiles were extremely honest and we just didn’t hit it off. But, the point is not everyone lies, but there are some major turnoffs that we hate.

5 Turn-Offs in an On-line Dating Profile

  1. No picture is at the top of the list. I specifically say don’t contact me without a picture and men still do. I don’t contact or respond back. Why? Because either you are truly unattractive, married or hiding from the feds and either way it goes I don’t want to get involved with a one-eyed snaggled tooth monster who thinks he looks like Idris Elba. Sigh.
  2. No bio listed. Are you really that awesome you think that we don’t want to know about you while skimming over your profile with our morning coffee? Why should I have to contact you to find out that you dislike kids and oh, I have one? Shouldn’t you write that in your profile? How about the fact that you just got out of jail and you’re on house arrest so our dates need to occur prior to 8 pm daily? I think you should mention it in your profile.
  3. Pictures that show you with your boys or another woman. Why would we want to look at you after seeing your hot friend? He’s so much better looking and he actually smiles. Don’t include pictures of your friends especially when you can’t be sure that they look better than you. Also, stop including pictures of another woman and then contacting me. Why? I don’t know for sure that is your college aged daughter. Is she vouching that you are not a weirdo by standing next to you? You could still be an undercover pedophile so posing with your daughter is not cute.
  4. Misspellings. Yep this is a pet peeve. I’ve said before that I’m understandable at the occasional misspelling, but if you can’t take the time to read your dang profile and proofread, why would I be interested in you. Women hate to proofread and wonder did you really obtain your undergraduate degree because you can’t write a complete sentence. You sound like you’re slower than a first grader.
  5. Lies. So, obviously this goes without saying, but apparently I need to educate men that a lie is a lie is a lie. A half truth is still a lie. A lie of omission is still a lie. You get the point right? Lies. I met a gentleman who I had conversed with for about a month. We started having phone conversations and then he asked me one day, “So, where did you graduate from?” I told him. I asked him the same question. His reply, “I didn’t. I’m working on my GED and I should have it in 6 months.” WTH? Pause. Stop sign. I went back to his profile and re-read what he wrote: Master’s Degree. Are you serious? You don’t even have a GED how the heck are you going to blatantly lie and say you have a Master’s Degree. You would have been better off saying a high school diploma. NEXT!

As you can imagine this dating thing is kind of a crap shoot and you never know what you’re going to end up getting. It’s like buying a used car. Apparently you have to ride in some crappers before finally getting to ride in a luxury vehicle you can afford. It’s a process. I get it. But, I need all the men to hear me clearly:

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Until next time!