Turning Towards Not Against

Imagine you and your partner are hanging around the house on the weekend. You’re busy working on your computer, and your partner comments on how they would love to go to the park with you. You ignore your partner, immersed in your work. Although it’s likely that you’re not aware of it, you have just inadvertently rejected the person you love. You’ve just turned against your partner’s bid for connection. You may not have noticed this, but it’s likely they did.

“Turning against” happens when your partner reaches out to you and you reject them. Whether intentional or not, it damages the very fabric of your partnership. And it doesn’t just happen when you ignore your partner. Hurtful comments, provocative comebacks, and criticism are other possibilities.

The build-up of such responses creates a deep divide between you two. The more of these you and your partner experience, the more likely they are to destroy your partnership entirely.

“Turning towards” means paying attention to these bids for attention and responding to your partner’s efforts in a way that acknowledges their attempt to connect with you.

However, given the degree of responsibility that most people carry, it’s not always possible to be available to your partner’s every request for connection. At times when you can’t follow through with a bid for attention, a few words of repair, rather than a flat out rejection, can make a big difference to maintaining your connection. Words of repair in this circumstance may be, “I’d actually really love to go to the park, though can we take a rain check till tomorrow, I’m snowed under… “

By responding to your partner’s bid for attention you are letting them know that they are important to you. In this way, you are still “turning towards” rather than “turning against.”

When you show up for your partner, and support them to feel seen and heard, your connection will deepen. In those times that life just gets in the way and you are not able to be available a few caring words of repair goes a long way to keep your relationship on track.