Learning How to Be With Another Person for the Rest of Your Life

Years ago, a good friend of mine was going through a divorce. He said something so enlightening that it has stuck with me to this very day. It was:

Society trains you to become great doctors, lawyers, scientists. You go through 4 years of college – not to mention all the grade school preparatory work – and then years of graduate work. So much time and effort to teach you all you need to know how to become great at those disciplines.

But society never trains you how to be with another person for the rest of your life.

How profound.

And it remains true to this day.

Our education system is great for many things but yet around half our population can’t remain in a relationship for the rest of their lives.

And the half of the relationships that do remain are likely filled conflict and dissatisfaction.

How many of us go through our relationships – married or otherwise – and feel like we cannot communicate with the other person or have our needs met and supported?

Every week, many of my coaching conversations involve the inability to relate, communicate, and support another person. And sometimes it’s the person that isn’t getting the support that needs tools to address with the other person.

The challenges range from:

Lack of knowledge of concepts and skills.
Lack of practice.
Lack of supportive and safe people to practice with.
The need for unwinding of their previous training (Parents? Siblings? Friends? Other?).
Past experiences from the mundane to traumatic.
Unresolved fears and triggers.
Cultural and personal beliefs.
Boundary issues.
Introversion versus extroversion (is that a real thing…?)

Let’s not forget what pandemic isolation and remote work has done for communication challenges…

Everybody’s situation is different, and usually multi-threaded.

We discover the challenges of a particular situation and find resolutions to fit the needs of an individual and their situation.

It does take time and effort, but worth all that energy spent. Wouldn’t you like to be someone who can actually spend the rest of their life with another person, with needs met and supported, with confidence to ask for support and to deal with conflict successfully?

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