Communicating During Conflict: Motives and Making Up

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoI hope you’ve all had an excellent week practicing self-care and communicating your wants and desires. Though, I like to keep things super positive, I understand that sometimes it is necessary to give feedback that may be difficult to say or hear. As such, today’s topic will build on communication in the form of delivering criticism as a much-needed tool for self-care. I’m going to give you tips on delivering and receiving feedback, as well as negotiating differences because if you’re honest conflict and negotiation are bound to happen.

When it comes to delivering criticism it is a good first step to evaluate your motives. Why are you sharing this particular feedback with your partner? If you are doing so because your partner hurt your feelings and you want to make them feel just as bad, you should seriously consider waiting to express yourself until you have had a moment to cool down. If your motive is because you think that providing feedback may improve the situation, sexual experience and/or relationship, then by all means share your feedback.  Try to discuss any potentially negative feedback or criticism in private. You don’t want to embarrass yourself or your partner in public or in front of others. Be as specific as you can about the behavior you’d like to improve without attacking your partner’s personality. After-all you’re sharing feedback in hopes of making things better. For this reason, I suggest using “I” statements and expressing your displeasure in terms of your own feelings. No one wants to dwell in the past so keep criticism and complaints to the present. Do your best to remain positive and offer a concrete suggestion for improving or fixing what bothers you.

comm criticismIf you’re anything like most people, it is much easier to give constructive feedback or criticism than it is to be on the receiving end. However, there will come a time when you’ll find yourself on the other side of criticism and you’ll want to be able to hear what your partner has to say. First, I’d suggest emptying your emotional cup so that you are able to fully understand what is being shared with you without popping off because you may already be feeling some type of way. When receiving criticism it is good to listen actively to what is being shared with you. Be sure to ask clarifying questions if you are unsure about anything that is being said. Acknowledge that you understand by paraphrasing the criticism. This bit of advice may be the hardest, but is also the best I can think of: If you are at fault, admit it and work to solve the problem.

It is entirely possible that if you share potentially negative feedback with your partner and they share some feedback with you as well, there is a good chance the two of you may have to do some negotiating. This is particularly true if you feel that both sides of an argument have some merit and worth.  It is important that you do not give in to urge to retaliate because you don’t like what you are hearing. Instead, discuss what is most important and let go of the less important issues. It may be that you and your partner have to agree to disagree AND understand that is okay. Either way, if you are hoping to continue a relationship with your partner – whether romantic or just sexual – it may be helpful to reinforce your partner’s willingness to communicate. Not only will this encourage your partner to share constructive criticism in the future, it also let’s your partner know that you values him/her even when disagreements arise. Though, I like to be positive, I also like to keep it real. Sometime’s conflict cannot be negotiated and the best self-care move may be to end the relationship. Communication and respect for yourself and others go hand in hand; you will need both to practice sexual self-care. Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

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