Have you gone to the repair SHOP? We've talked about how to disagree effectively and what to do during arguments, but what about afterwards, or with subjects that repeatedly come up in disagreements? Try the SHOP acronym: Stories, History, Ownership, and Prevention.
Our theme music is Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand.
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Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory Podcast, we're talking about how to repair after a fight with a partner or even maybe a close friend? We did an episode not too long ago about having healthy arguments, which is Episode 210, if you want to check that out. Today, we're focusing on what you can do after a fight has already happened? How to use it to actually deepen your connection and avoid future arguments? We're going to be talking about after a little fender bender, how to take your relationship to the repair SHOP and make it better than news.
It's a little different than a car though because it's like better than it was before the accident.
Emily: I say so. It's not just they put on the cheap replacement bumper.
Jase: Yes, like the little suction cup thing to pull out the dents and it looks bad. It's like no, this is
Dedeker: Like, upgrade also. It's a really good
Emily: The entire exterior and then go from there.
Jase: Maybe it's sort of like, an altered carbon. When she loses her arm but then gets the super awesome cybernetic arm.
Emily: Yes, what did they call not the skins? It's a sleeve.
Jase: She still had the same sleeve but she got the new arm but a cybernetic arm
Dedeker: I don't know what you're talking about
Emily: Good show.
Jase: Cool. Listening to you throughout that show I was like, "Yes."
Dedeker: Let's talk about the problem.
Jase: Yes. Tell me about the problems?
Emily: We love problems.
Dedeker: Fights or the problems?
Jase: That's why we're here for problems.
Dedeker: They happen. Fights and arguments happen. There's research out there that states that couples who do fight actually have better relationships. At the same time, I've also seen people use that as a justification for staying in a shitty relationship or a relationship that's fundamentally incompatible. Honestly, it reminds me of what really bothers me about The Notebook
Jase: I've still never seen that film.
Dedeker: That's fine.
Jase: Do you like John Cena?
Dedeker: It's not a bad film. It's pretty iconic, I suppose. What bothered me about The Notebook is, they very much got wrapped up in this idea. I just remember part of their relationship that their early relationship when they were young as they're talking about like, they fought all the time because they loved each other so much
Emily: Like, passion and all the stuff?
Dedeker: Yes. Very much like, we're so passionate. That means we get into really passionate fights and that's just a clue that we're just so dang passionate for each other. It would be no, that sounds like a fundamental incompatibility if you're fighting all the time. Anyway.
Emily: Some people do like bite and not literally bite but sort of prod and poke each other verbally. That's just kind of harder relationships.
Dedeker: Once you know someone well enough, you know how to poke their button, you also know how to not poke their buttons.
Jase: I think that's the thing, though. I think the research out there that talks about people who fight in their relationships actually have better relationships that are more like a deeper connection and whatever. It's in comparison to people who just keep it all inside and see it and just are so annoyed with their partner rather than just being like, "Hey, this sucks that you did this thing?" That's kind of what it's talking about. Then people hear it and they think that that kind of just like needling each other or just kind of being jerks to each other or doing things that are like some of The Four Horsemen of The Relationship Apocalypse.
Like, just contempt for each other that they think like, "Oh, yes, that's what they mean. This is fine."
Emily: There is, I think mean poking and prodding and there's poking and prodding that's like, out of fun and just knowing like, what you do?
Jase: Let's do it.
Emily: Well, the three of each other do it to each other. When I observe your relationship, it happens at times.
Dedeker: First, some more specifics about that people can check out Episode 210. Now that was our fighting firefighting dirty episode. Correct?
Dedeker: That's the one where we get more into the breakdown of what are some fair and best practices for having an argument with a loved one versus what are some destructive practices? What's the destructive needling versus the playful joshing? Again, that's Episode 210. However, the point is that fights just happen sometimes. Especially, as the relationship goes on for more time, we can find ourselves having essentially variations on the same fights over and over or the same topics can come up or the same triggers can present themselves.
Emily: Yes, there are fights out there that will just happen over and over again. The Gottman's researched to this and the research has shown that 69% of the time when couples talk about the one thing that they always argue about, it's just a perpetual problem. It's not going to be resolved and it actually shouldn't be resolved, which is really interesting to me. These recurring fights can really just actually be an opportunity to deepen our connections with our partners, even though they may keep coming up time and time again.
Dedeker: Yes, it's a very provocative statement for the Gottman's to make of like this thing that you keep fighting about, it's going to keep being a problem, and it's not going to be resolved. Maybe it even shouldn't and you're like, what?
Emily: Yes, I know. I guess I struggle with that a little bit too because if it is a continual problem, it's like, why can't we move forward with that in some way but I guess-
Jase: That's kind of-
Emily: It's deeper than that.
Jase: I think it's important here to take a little pause to make this distinction between a perpetual problem, that's not going to get resolved and doesn't need to and that's okay. Like if that's an opportunity to learn about each other versus something that's never going to be resolved that is a deal-breaker. They do the Gottman's also, I was reading about this. They also acknowledge that there are certain incompatibilities that just-- Not that like either one of us a bad person, it's just like this is a deal-breaker. You are not going to be happy long term in this relationship because of this.
Just real quick basically, in both cases, the thing that these have in common is that the reason why this will never get resolved is because you're not fighting about just a thing of like, who takes care of this task or where do we put this thing or which house do we buy or something? This argument actually stems from a fundamental personality trait of each of the two of you or a fundamental belief of each of the two of you. That is something that's most likely never going to change. It's definitely not going to change by fighting about it. It's something that's not going to change.
The question is, is this something that once I understand better why you make the decisions you make, and what the beliefs are behind it that that helps me understand you better and we can stop fighting about it, even though the difference will never get fixed. They're not saying like, you're going to fight forever. They're saying that difference isn't going to change. You're not going to convince each other.
Dedeker: It's like on the deal-breaker side is, there's something we disagree about and we're not going to be able to find a tolerable way to deal with it. The relationship probably needs to end versus the other side being like, there's something we disagree about, but we can actually agree or disagree in a healthy way and learn to live with each other and understand each other and work around it, is that-?
Jase: Let's actually go through some examples of these.
Emily: Yes, please because I want to learn more about this still.
Jase: This example also comes from the Gottman's and I like this one and this is about punctuality
Emily: That is a question like, I do know some people who are just perpetually always not punctual or always completely on time. I don't know if that can be changed or not. I think there are steps to take to become more punctual but yes, I don't think it's necessarily a deal-breaker.
Jase: Exactly. This was one that they used as an example of something that's not a deal-breaker, but like you just said, we'll probably never change.
Dedeker: It could be a deal-breaker for someone.
Emily: Maybe for some people.
Jase: Maybe, yes. It depends on the person.
Emily: I like to think that it's not a deal-breaker, but maybe it is.
Jase: Yes, this thing that like that's like a personality trait like you were saying, Emily, some people just kind of are that and maybe it came from the way that they were raised. Maybe there's some other aspect of their personality that just thinks differently about what they value? Whether they value taking their time more than being punctual, whereas for the other person that might be the opposite, whatever it is. The point here is that if you can understand that this isn't just like, a thing that needs to be figured out or decided, but this is actually a fundamental trait of your partner, it changes the way you address it, to be like, okay, rather than try to tell you why this is important, or for me to tell you why I think my side is important and it's better. It's, "Okay, let's find a way to live together with this." Is it maybe a certain element of both sides, like one accepting the other will be late and the other realizing, "Okay, I should plan ahead, plan everything a half-hour earlier so that I'm helping out my partner." There's something for me with my stepdad, actually. He is someone-
Emily: Is he not punctual?
Jase: No, he shows up like 15 to 30 minutes early for everything.
Dedeker: I love your stepdad.
Emily: That sounds about right. He's a military guy.
Jase: Yes. If you just show up on time-
Emily: You're late.
Jase: He's going to be annoyed about it. Oh my God.
Dedeker: I'm a fan of myself. This is my family of origin. All the Germans. It's very much that. It's like, if you're on time, you're late. We're going to show up an hour ahead of time and sit in the car and wait. Because that's how we rather spend our time.
Jase: Totally. That's 100% my stepdad.
Emily: You're wasting time just sitting in your car then.
Dedeker: You know you're early
Emily: I was on time today.
Jase: You were.
Emily: I'm not always, but I am a lot of the time. I'm like, I towed that line.
Dedeker: We can get derailed by punctuality.
Jase: Anyway, the example is that this was something that growing up was an issue between me and my stepdad. Now it's something-- My brother and I were meeting up with him for something. Josh and I together with each other, we're like-
Emily: We got to tell him that he's like, 30 minutes after when it is.
Jase: No. Just we were like, "Okay, we should actually leave now because we know he's already probably sitting in the car waiting." We should go and make sure that we're early. Then we did and it's like, just understanding that about a person, rather than fighting against it, makes a big difference.
Dedeker: I appreciate you giving the counter-example because I can already see listeners or me pretending to be a listener being mad at us about being like, "What? You think we should just cater to all the late people all the time." Thank you for providing the counter-example.
Emily: No. He was catering to the non-late people.
Jase: Right. Hopefully, some understanding can go both ways in a relationship. Let's look at some other ones.
Emily: All right. Tidiness of the home. Now, I also don't think this is a deal-breaker. I do think and Dedeker is saying over there-
Jase: With all of these it could be for someone and not for another, but I agree with Emily over here.
Emily: I suppose you are right.
Dedeker: It's on a spectrum. I think it's on a spectrum because I reckon it's not a deal-breaker for me if someone's a little bit more messy than me or a little bit more cleaner than me. I can definitely learn to live with that and learn to find a compromise and a middle ground. If it's an extreme, usually in the extremely much more messy than me then I'm just like, we could probably still be in a relationship, but probably I couldn't live without person.
Emily: I get that. I think probably Jase has become super minimal from living with you.
Jase: That's been part of it. I mean, I did that before I lived with her.
Emily: That's right.
Jase: We only live together part of the year anyway.
Emily: That's true. You are all super minimal.
Jase: I started my minimalism say, when we were not living together.
Emily: I need to get on that train a little more.
Dedeker: Yes, you do.
Jase: It's great. You also don't, if you don't want to. That's what we are talking about here.
Emily: I'm a little bit of a hoarder, because I'm pretty sure of my mother.
Jase: I was raised that way too.
Emily: It's not that I like hoard to an extreme by any means. It's just that like, I am the same size as I was in high school, so I have clothes from high school, still.
Dedeker: Let's talk about more of these examples.
Emily: Oh gosh. How to celebrate holidays, Christmas or other holidays. See, again, I don't feel that this is a deal-breaker.
Jase: You can see how that would be a point of contention?
Emily: Maybe, yes.
Jase: To one person. It's like, Christmas is so--
Emily: Do Thanksgiving this way and do Christmas this way or do Hanukkah this way and do whatever this way.
Dedeker: Definitely something I run into with my partner Alex is, and I think I'm the weird one. I don't think he's the weird one. Is, very much holidays are very important thing. Christmas and birthdays and things. It's very important to celebrate them on the day and do all the things. For me, I was definitely raised where it's like--
Dedeker: Whatever, practicality always trump's sentimentality. If it's not convenient to celebrate the holiday on this day--
Emily: It doesn't sound like you.
Dedeker: You are going to reschedule to another day. I'm like, I can fly on Christmas. It's so much cheaper. He's like, "What? You would fly on Christmas?"
Emily: I love flying on Christmas. It's great. Because nobody is on the plane.
Dedeker: It's the kind of thing where I think that comes up for me, whereas, definitely not a deal-breaker. I think because it can be so emotional, I can definitely see how it can generate fights. Fights happen every year, potentially.
Jase: Exactly, because that for people who do care about like-- Even if it's not just about the day it happens on, but it's like the way we do Christmas. Christmas is super important. I want to see all my family and the other person's like, "For me, Christmas is like I want to get away. I want to take a trip. I just want it to be the two of us," like whatever it is. You can see how that would be a very emotionally charged difference.
Emily: Well, you got to compromise. You got to do one thing one year and one thing another year.
Dedeker: I was just talking to a friend of mine, and one of her partners was raised Jehovah's Witnesses. He was raised not celebrating any holiday. Not even birthdays.
Dedeker: Yes. That's how they do. Anyway, he's not anymore. He's still like, around Christmas-- He lives with her and with her other partner and so around Christmas, he's like, "I just don't want anything to do with this really." He tries to play along a little bit, but for the most part, he's just like, "Whatever."
Emily: Oh my Gosh.
Dedeker: Which is also really fascinating.
Emily: That's fascinating.
Jase: Anyway, yes, that's an example of something that hopefully you could work with and figure out to make that work.
Emily: This one is getting into some crunchy territory. How to relate to in laws? I think this becomes more challenging if somebody doesn't like their in-law. In like they have a really tough time with them. Because I know that, historically in-laws have been deal-breakers or major points of contention for people. I don't know. This could be, I'll learn to live with that situation, for sure. I just watched the show, Years and Years, I highly recommend it. Everyone needs to watch it. The wife of one of the main characters really didn't like his grandmother and had to learn to live with her. Then at the end of the show, they ended up being very close. I don't know. I think that yes, you can learn to deal with each other better.
Dedeker: This doesn't even necessarily have to be when you don't get along with the in-laws, it could just be that for you, you're like, yes, the in-law relationship isn't one that's super important to me to foster.
Emily: I see.
Dedeker: Whereas your partner is like, "Why aren't you texting with my mom?" Or whatever. I think the same stuff could come up with how people view metamour relationships, because they are not the same with in-laws.
Jase: It's a great point.
Emily: That's a really good point.
Dedeker: For some people, it's like, "Whatever. I'm fine to be hands-off." For other people, they want something much more kitchen-tableish or much more.
Emily: Yes. We ought to be in on this.
Jase: I actually think that the more I've thought about it, the the analogy of in-laws, I think is is the analogy for metamour. It's really the same type of thing. It's someone who's connected to your partner, they're important to your partner and you didn't get to choose. They're just there. I think it is very similar, where it's like, I don't know what kind of relationship I want to have with them necessarily. I think this one also extends to how close one person is with their family versus another. Where one person might be like, I prefer having my own space. The other is like, I want my siblings to come over every weekend. They bring their kids and hang out.
to get figured out and talked about rather than just arguing over who's correct.
Emily: I mean, I call my mom like, almost every single day. My partner talks to his parents, like once a month or once every three months or whatever. My mom and I just gab.
Jase: That's great. If that causes an issue with a partner, though, it's not like they're going to convince you to not do that, right?
Emily: No, that would never happen.
Jase: Right. That's a good example of one of these just inherent. No, this is just a thing about me.
Emily: Okay, this one's a deal-breaker. I think.
Jase: I think it can be.
Emily: We're too monogamous or not too monogamous. That is the question.
Dedeker: Maybe more of like, what level of monogamy and/or non-monogamy. Or sometimes I think the Gottman's phrase this as like, what level of fidelity you expect or what fidelity looks like in relationship.
Emily: I think that too many people, and we'll get into this in a later episode, but I think too many people just expect that, if you are monogamous, that means exactly what everyone in the planet thinks that it means. In reality, that's not the case. I mean, all of these things need to be spoken about and communicated about.
Jase: To even not put it in the context of non-monogamy, but just like-
Emily: Is hanging out with an ex a bad thing?
Jase: Exactly. Yes. Like, maybe your best friend is your ex. To one person it's like, that's completely unacceptable for you to be friends with this person. The other person's like, "No. This is my best friend." You can see how that's not something that one's just going to convince the other.
Jase: It's not that either one is wrong.
Dedeker: I know, exactly.
Jase: It's just not compatible.
Dedeker: I could see many in some situations, some people learning to live with that, maybe. I could also see in many situations that just being a non-starter.
Emily: I just see that as something that pisses someone off for a long time.
Jase: I think, this one is a good example of one of those where it's like, for some people this could be a deal-breaker and for others it might not. It just really depends on how that shows up. I think if they argue about it, trying to convince the other person or trying to just figure out who's right, you're not going to get anywhere and you're going to fight about this forever and you're going to be miserable doing it, and it's not going to make you closer. It's not a fight that's going to make you closer and more intimate with each other.
Dedeker: What about wanting kids or not?
Emily: That is a deal-breaker in life again.
Jase: For a lot of people it is. Yes.
Dedeker: Unless it was a situation where I was dating someone who is okay having kids with someone else. If they're into that, then I'm like, "Yes, great." If it's, "I want kids with you." Then I'm like, "Sorry."
Jase: Nope. Yes.
Dedeker: That’s...nippety nope.
Emily: I have kids with a bunch of other randos out there, but not with the you and I don't know them.
Jase: That's a good one where it's like, I think this one sometimes people will compromise on and not really think that through and not really think through like, "I'm going to get to the end of my life then and always regret this and be sad about this."
Emily: Yes, I've heard that from various people.
Dedeker: On both sides.
Emily: Well yes.
Dedeker: Whether having kids or not having kids.
Emily: Yes, that's true. My voice teachers, like, "One of the greatest regrets in my life is that I've never had a kid." I'm like, "You can, I'm an example that you can do it alone." Yes. I don't know.
Jase: On the other side too, it's like, when my partner really wanted kids, so we had kids and it's been really hard and it's put a strain on our relationship and I wasn't able to accomplish the things I wanted to do in life. It can be on either side. I think, so this one I would tend to-
Dedeker: Not to imply that those people don't love their kids, before you angry tweet at us, we know-
Jase: Good point.
Emily: hate them.
Dedeker: -generally when you have a kid you love it, which is a good thing.
Jase: Just that this one maybe isn't something to compromise on. Just a thought.
Emily: Cohabitation and marriage. Yes. Again, I think that you can compromise on that, but I think that if somebody fundamentally is like, "I really want these things in my life and I want them with a partner." Then, if another person doesn't, then that's not really compatible.
Dedeker: Yes. Honestly, I'll say that, this is going to sound weird, one of the best breakups I ever had but probably, I mean, one of the most like healthy, respectful, where I was like hurt and disappointed but not harmed by the breakup was when someone who has only dating for a few months was honest with me of like, "You know what, I'm really clear that I want to get married and have kids and it's clearly you don't."
Emily: Like I know who this person is.
Dedeker: Yes. He was just really honest and upfront with me about that.
Emily: Now he's married.
Dedeker: Now he's married and probably going to have kids. Good for him. We're still in touch and it's positive and it's fine.
Emily: That's so great.
Dedeker: That kind of thing where he was honest about what he wanted and do the thing that I think a lot of people do, which I have done, of like, "I'm just going to go along with this and maybe this person will change their mind or maybe I'll change my mind. I don't know."
Emily: They won't, you won't.
Dedeker: It's unlikely. What I so appreciate about that was just that, that it's he was honest and we could end the relationship early as opposed to getting all murky and in the weeds about this ]stuff.
Emily: Totally. That's great.
Jase: Yes, definitely. Next one is about how we spend money. This one has to do with, what do we value. It's about our values and our beliefs of like-
Emily: I want to save a lot or I want to go on extravagant trips and once a year.
Jase: -to me it's like, "What's the point of money if I'm not using it to have experiences." Then on the other side it's like, "No, the purpose of money is safety. That means saving it."
Emily: Said a couple of things right there that I can relate to.
Dedeker: We'll do the money episode where you do the money episodes.
Emily: Yes. It's going through my head too. I, all that stuff. I don't know if that's a deal-breaker unless it's like we share all of our finances and if-
Emily: If you have your own moneys.
Dedeker: -you're draining our bank account constantly on exorbitant expenses that I don't want to, that seems like that's a deal-breaker and people break up over money all the time.
Jase: Yes, I've heard it's the number one cause, of course, or at least one of the top three causes.
Jase: Another one's how out we want to be.
Emily: Regarding non-monogamy or?
Jase: Non-monogamy or whatever.
Jase: Something that you feel one person wants to hide and the other wants to shout it from the rooftops, that could be a deal-breaker.
Emily: I think you should be with the pace car there a little bit, but.
Jase: Well, sure. It's a traditional perspective.
Dedeker: Depends on your overlap of social circles and professional circles because depending on the context of your life, maybe it is something you can live with. Where it's like, my partner being more out than I am, doesn't affect my life or doesn't influence my life or doesn't compromise my safety and so that's okay for us to be different levels of out versus you may be in a different situation where no like because there's some professional overlap or social overlap. Like if my partner is out, it doesn't necessarily make it safe for me or whatever.
Jase: I just want to say too that with this one it's like, this could be a deal-breaker or it could be a compromise, it depends. It also could, like Emily you said I would agree with you that out of respect for someone's boundaries That I wouldn't be out and posting on my social media about non-monogamy if I had a partner who felt like they couldn't do that. At the same time, for me, that is such an important part of my identity and my professional life to be out that that would be a deal-breaker. Not cause I think they're wrong or they think I'm wrong. It's just like, "Well, this is just fundamentally incompatible."
Emily: Sorry I do a podcast on non-monogamy.
Dedeker: Part of the mission .
Emily: Yes, exactly.
Jase: Then the last one we have here is use of substances or whether or not someone will admit to having an addiction. This could be disagreeing about use of substances recreationally that isn't an addiction problem, but just one person is very not okay with that and the other does like to, whatever it is, dabble or it could be one person not admitting to an addiction problem or alcoholism or something. That's one of the ones that Gottman's point out as a deal-breaker.
Dedeker: Maybe more of a deal-breaker.
Dedeker: Versus just that you like to use this substance but I don't and that's okay. You know, it's just like, "We just don't do that together as long as we're safe and it's not having some destructive effect on our lives."
Emily: Let's talk about what to do about these perpetual problems when they're not deal-breakers. Yes, they can be destructive. They can cause a relationship to fall apart, but they can also cause a relationship to get stronger and for us to learn more about our partners and ourselves in these situations, like why is it that we're doing these things, why is it that they're doing these things? With all of those, definitely try to let go of being right or winning. We've talked about that a little bit in episode 210, but it is worth reiterating here that winning and being right and one-upping your partner is not a good thing and these situations.
Dedeker: It's not even an effective thing.
Emily: That's true.
Dedeker: That's the more important part of this is that it's not going to be an effective and actually changing the perpetual problem.
Emily: Exactly. Again, maybe the goal is not to change these perpetual problems, but if you want to talk about how to be better in these situations and be a better communicator, then going that route is not going to be helpful at all. The goal is really not to jump back into the fight or try to fight your way to being right, but rather trying to find a mutual understanding between the two of you and delve into what your partner is going through, what their reality is during the fight. I think that really is huge there, to try to understand for each other, their point of view, to walk a mile in their shoes or whatever.
Jase: To understand what the beliefs are behind that thing. One of the ways that I've heard it put is that you're not arguing about a thing, but you're arguing about a meaning of a thing and that's the stuff that's not going to get resolved. It's like you might have a different meaning that you attached to this thing and that's just the reality. Learning the meaning that this has for each other is more important than the actual decision about the thing in terms of these perpetual fights that come up over and over again. If you do find that you have one of these where it's like we have a variation on the same fight over and over again, perhaps this is an opportunity to look at what might be this meaning behind it. What might be this fundamental personality trait or belief in us that is attached to this that we're maybe not even realizing is different? We just assume the other person believes the same thing and so we don't understand why they make different decisions than us and we have to have an argument about it.
What we've done here, for this episode, is we've taken advice and steps proposed by researchers like the Gottman's as well as other articles by psychologists and our own personal experiences of working with couples and also in our own lives. We have created SHOP.
Emily: Till you drop, no, I'm kidding.
Jase: different. Yes. Like I said in the intro, you're driving along in your relationship car and you have an accident and maybe you keep having this same accident.
Emily: That's so unfortunate.
Dedeker: Or maybe it's like the chip engine that keeps coming on, or you keep that weird clickety clickety noise keeps going off and you're like, "What is that noise?" Or the air conditioner keeps cutting and you are like, "Ugh"
Emily: Yes, you need to put a patch on your tire it keeps like getting-
Dedeker: Or your tires are just like whatever-- Some perpetual ongoing problem.
Jase: You take it to the repair SHOP and the beautiful thing about this repair SHOP is that it makes your car even better and stronger and faster than it was before.
Emily: Harder best or-- Harder or better, stronger? What is it?
Dedeker: Harder better faster stronger.
Emily: There it is.
Jase: It's faster or higher or stronger as the-
Emily: No, we're talking about-
Dedeker: It's is really interesting because I know-
Jase: You're talking about the Daft Punk side, I'm talking about the Olympics. The Veni Vidi Vici or the Vidi Vici Veni.
Emily: I like that. Veni Vidi Vici
Dedeker: That's I came, I saw, I conquered.
Dedeker: What are you talking about, Jase?
Jase: The Olympics one the faster, higher, stronger, right?
Emily: I don't know.
Dedeker: What are you talking about with the Olympics?
Emily: I feel like I should now those, I love the Olympics.
Dedeker: Is it Be the best you can be.
Jase: That's the army, that's be all you can be.
Emily: This is the Nike symbol, no.
Jase: Yes, I'm sorry. It's Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is the Olympic motto and it means it means faster, higher, stronger. That Daft Punk song is kind of a play on this idea, I think, at least that's how I interpreted it.
Dedeker: I thought it was just about technology.
Emily: It is.
Dedeker: Let's talk about our repair SHOP.
Jase: Okay, here we go. The SHOP is an acronym and it stands for Stories History Ownership and Prevention. This is not something to do during the fight. Go to 210 for that. This is after the fight when you're like, "Hey, we're having the same fight. Let's go to the repair SHOP."
Emily: Or like doing this on your radar.
Dedeker: Yes, it's a great thing for a radar.
Jase: Yes, totally, during that section on fights and conflicts.
Dedeker: It's a great thing for any time where you're not in the emotional upheaval of the fight, when things have calmed down a little bit when you're feeling a little bit better when you have a better perspective on it and you can enter into this space of taking a step back and analyzing, "What really happened here for me? What really happened here for you? Let's see if we can come to a place of mutual understanding on this."
Jase: Yes, let's go through the steps.
Dedeker: Yes. The first one is S for Stories. What you're going to do is you're going to take turns sharing your experience of what happened during the fight or sharing your story of the fight, sharing how did you feel? What was your experience of what happened? What was your reality? It could be things like-- I'm going to create a little example for us just to use as we go through this. Let's take this first example of the perpetual problem, let's do the punctuality one.
Dedeker: Maybe my story was like well I experience that when you came home half an hour late and I hadn't got a message from you in like two hours. I felt lonely, I felt a little worried, I felt a little bit abandoned, I had this story in my head that you totally forgot about me or I had this story that maybe you were just having such a great time hanging out with someone else that you weren't going to come home or things like that. Then my partner gets an opportunity to also share their story as well of maybe it was what? Like, "I don't know, I just lost track of the time and then I got caught in traffic and then I was really worried because I knew that we had plans tonight and I was really stressed about coming home and so that's why I was all flustered when I came home."
Bear in mind that like when you and your partner share your stories or your realities of the fight. They're probably going to be two very different realities. We've talked about this on the show before, this idea of multiple competing narratives essentially that neither of your narratives are wrong. They're both right. That's the weird paradoxical thing about all this. Avoid the temptation to get into arguing about which one is the right story? Which one is more accurate? Or trying to essentially discredit your partner story by being like, "Why does he-? How you would think that because yadda yadda yadda." Or like, "Well, you should have known that this was actually what the case was yadda yadda yadda."
Jase: It sounds easy and it's actually very hard.
Emily: It is very hard.
Emily: -get defensive and in silence.
Jase: In that example like Dedeker was sharing of like to me it meant that you didn't care about me and maybe you were never going to come home or you didn't value me.
Emily: No, it's offside.
Jase: It's like, "No, I was stuck because of this thing," or whatever.
Emily: Like, "Why would you think that?"
Jase: Right, it's like, "I've always come home. Why would think that?" It's hard not to fall into that temptation instead of to step back and validate it.
Dedeker: Yes, it's very important when you're exchanging your stories or your realities of the fight that it could be, you can validate what your partner's experience was. Remember that validating it doesn't necessarily mean agreeing. It doesn't mean like, "Oh, okay, well, your experience was the right one," or, "Well, my experience is tough on the right one." But something more along the lines of like, "Oh, okay, from your point of view, I can see how when you're sitting in traffic all stressed out and then you come home stressed out and then I'm their immediate upset with you.
I can see how that would be really upsetting or really off-putting when you were expecting to come home and things were fine," or, "Okay, I can see from your point of view that you didn't get a message from me and I came home late. I can totally understand how that would feel really lonely or concerning or upsetting." Again that's not necessarily saying like, "Okay, you're right or you're wrong or whatever." It's just validating like, "Okay, if this is what your reality was I can totally understand why you would feel XYZ." Again don't tell your partner what they did or what they didn't do. Just stay focused also on your own feelings when you're telling your story. Again will reiterate that using I-statements is generally better than using you-statements.
Jase: With Dedeker's example there, it's like, "I felt like you didn't care about me or you didn't value our plans or you were having more fun with someone else and forgot about me," whatever it is rather than saying, "Well, I was upset because you forgot about me or because you didn't because care about me."
Dedeker: Because you didn't give a shit about communicating to me.
Jase: Right, it's trying to keep it focused on how I felt and what it meant to me rather than what you thought, what you did, how you felt.
Emily: Yes, absolutely.
Dedeker: Is this is-
Jase: I just love this quote-
Dedeker: From the Gottman's.
Jase: It's from the Gottman's.
Dedeker: They say, "there is no immaculate perception." Basically what that means is like there's no one who has a monopoly on the truth.
Emily: Like immaculate conception.
Jase: I think I think that's what they're going for. It's a little riff.
Dedeker: But this idea that it's pretty much impossible for one of you to have been the one who has the whole story in the other person's totally wrong. We all bring our different filters and different pasts and different feelings and chemical makeup and all these things to a situation. That's always going to going to influence your perception of an event or of a fight.
Jase: We go on to the next step. I feel like that makes sense. It's stories. It's like what's the story of what happened for me and acknowledging that they're both true. That they're both real for each of you. That's the first step.
Emily: The next one is age in SHOP, which is stands for history. History goes along with things like triggers or just old things that happened in your life that can cause you to feel a certain way about a certain situation or just can be like a button that is pushed in that particular moment. This, I guess, is another of Gottman quote. "Sometimes escalation can come from a trigger or old enduring vulnerabilities that occurred before this relationship began."
Jase: That was their definition of trigger. I think it's-- It works for what they're talking about. I think it's good to clarify.
Dedeker: We have-
Jase: Trigger has other meanings.
Dedeker: We have to give the disclaimer at that in this context talking about a trigger from your past could very literally mean like a PTSD trigger, that you know causes a full-on PTSD response, could mean an anxiety trigger. It could just mean some kind of sticky uncomfortable thing from your past of this situation reminded you of.
Emily: Yes, that pushes about on you and then you have an emotional response to afterwards. In this case, when this happens I try to think about the time in which this may be occurred in the past and we're like, you had a similar set of feelings and then try to tell your partner of the story of what happened so that they can understand your sensitivities and why this might trigger you. I think that's a really good thing too. To be even aware of for yourself and it might cause you to go back into some uncomfortable situations in your past, but that's challenging but again being forthcoming with your partner I think is really important in these moments.
Dedeker: Something my therapist asks me all the time in which I have now adopted and also asked my clients all the time is like if I'm describing a situation where I'm like, "Yes." Then this person said this and I feel-- I just feel really upset about it and I feel upset about it now that he'll ask me, "Okay, that thing that you're feeling right now is there anything old and familiar about that feeling."
Jase: It's a good way to put that.
Dedeker: Pretty much in 99% of the time I'm like, "Yes." And 100% and like this is how my body felt the night that this thing happened 10 years ago or in this relationship or whatever or like maybe to bring it back to the punctuality example, I can be like, "This brings me back to this past relationship where someone ignored me for like a full two days because they were with someone and they dropped off the face of the planet. I felt really abandoned." It brings up all those same feelings.
Emily: Interesting. With this, it might not necessarily be related to trauma or a painful memory but it can be related to maybe like a belief, just a fundamental belief that you have about something. For example, if you show up on time for this punctuality thing that means that you care about me. If you don't show up on time, then you don't care about me.
Jase: It means you don't care.
Emily: Exactly, yes. Okay, on the other side of this, expressing understanding and empathy when your partner describes this incident is incredibly important. Again, as we said in the last one, don't try to tell them that their belief is wrong or try to convince them or get defensive in these moments. Again, that's easier said than done at times, but it's something to really think about in these moments. Don't try to change their mind about it because that might be something that comes in time on their own if you need to.
Jase: Or it might not.
Emily: Exactly, or it might not, and that's also okay. Just really try to understand and empathize, and if you can't believe that that thing is also true, then just be there for that person expressing what you are understanding for them.
Jase: Yes. I would even say if you can't understand it like, "I just can't even get my head there to how you could possibly believe that thing-"
Emily: That's definitely a thing that I've failed in my relationships.
Jase: It's like, "If you can't do that, then you just have to take their word for it."
Emily: Totally, yes.
Jase: Or just be like, "I don't have to understand it necessarily to know that that's true for you.
Emily: I think that, yes, I've had these moments where I'm like, "My partner is being really stubborn right now about this thing." In reality, it's just a fundamental difference in our experience and I might be like, "I don't understand why you're being so rigid about this particular thing," where to them, it's like, "Well, that's my reality of the situation and I really can't change how I feel about it."
Dedeker: Well, at the same time, though, I think it's also important for your partner to acknowledge that you have a different reality as well.
Emily: Totally, yes.
Dedeker: That's part of this whole repair SHOP process is again, not one person being like, "Well, I have this belief, and it's the right belief It's like, "I have this belief."
Jase: Well, that's my excuse to be an asshole.
Dedeker: "I have this belief, and that's why it brought up these feelings from me. I recognize that you have a different belief, and that's why you feel differently about this."
Dedeker: It's kind of like these two things both exist in the same space-time
Jase: Yes. Another example of this thing about beliefs, we're talking about the messiness thing. This example I wrote down here was that for one person, it's like, "Being able to keep my space messy and have my stuff out is how I feel independent because maybe I grew up in a family-
Emily: Really rigid household.
Jase: - that is super military overbearing about how I did things, and so to me, this is how I feel free and independent."
Dedeker: Let's say you and I, Jase, were having this argument. I could definitely fuck this up right now. You share your history of like, "I grew up in this really rigid military family, was punished for things not being put away, and so now that I have my own space, me being able to put my stuff wherever is how I feel free," and I could really fuck it up by being like, "Well, I don't care. You're an adult. Get it together. I can't live like this." You've been vulnerable and opened up to me, and I've completely blasted over it.
Dedeker: Again, even when sharing your history, I don't have to be like, "Okay. Well then, everything's forgiven and that's your excuse," but I can be like, "Okay, I can understand-"
Jase: Let's find a way to-
Dedeker: Yes, understand.
Emily: - where you're coming from, then.
Dedeker: Then I can also share my trigger of like, "I grew up in a house that was all chaos all the time and we were constantly having to move around and there was no stability, and so for me, coming home when things are nice and clean and/organized, then that's my stability." Again, those two things exist in the same space-time and are both true and valid.
Jase: To even make this one a little bit more real-life, this was not a real conversation that Dedeker and I have had, but we have had a variation on this where we both liked to have a pretty clean place. However, there's specific little things.
Emily: Like where to put a certain thing or Dedeker doesn't want clutter in her line-of-sight, or whatever.
Jase: We had this issue specifically--
Dedeker: I just don't want clutter on flat surfaces.
Jase: We had this issue that came up.
Dedeker: I know Sorry.
Jase: We had this issue that came up a lot about where my computer stuff would be kept.
Dedeker: Yes, where electronics go.
Jase: Where electronics would go. We kept having this argument again and again.
Emily: You want a station of your electronics where everything is.
Jase: Well, that's kind of what we got to is that the meaning was different for us. For her, the thing that was the most important was all surfaces being clear.
Emily: All surfaces.
Jase: For me, the thing that was most important was, for me, this is something that-- My computer station is something I come back to constantly throughout the day, and so for me, having it always available and set up is the more important thing. Once we realized that, then it was like, "Okay. Now we can work with this." Now we can figure out like, "Okay, well, let's make a spot for it that it can be put away but is also convenient," or, "This area is just going to be my stuff set up but everywhere else is going to be this, so I won't set something over there or if I do, I'll put it away after I'm done." You can work with it once you understand what the underlying belief or thing is about it.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely. What's next?
Jase: All right. The next is the O, a SHOP for ownership.
Jase: Ownership. You've talked about your stories, you've talked about your histories, if this is tied to anything, what your beliefs are about it. Then this is your chance to take ownership and accept responsibility for your own part in the fight. Not just ownership of my beliefs, but like, "Okay, what can I own up to in the way I handled this that actually led to us having a fight?" Maybe you've been stressed or you weren't a good listener or you immediately made it about yourself rather than listening to what they had talked about. What can you own up to that contributed to the argument?
Again, using Gottman Research here, they have shown in their research that taking responsibility, even if it's just for a tiny part of the problem in communication, will-- It generates a trust, it generates a way to step forward. It allows the other person to admit things as well without feeling like, "Well, if I admit that, then I lose and you win." This is also something that if you were brought up in a situation where you never backed down, that can be a hard thing to shift to.
Dedeker: Maybe, in our hypothetical example with the punctuality thing, on my side, I could be like, "Okay, well, I can take ownership for jumping down your throat as soon as you walked in the door. I know I shouldn't have done that and I should have approached you may be in a more calm way, and so I'm sorry about that." Then maybe my partner can take ownership for, "Well, I'm sorry that I didn't message you. I realized I should have at least communicated that I was running late, and so I'm sorry for not doing that." Notice that no one person has taken responsibility for the entire situation and it hasn't turned into a blame game, but we've both been able to even pick out small parts to take responsibility for and take ownership for.
Emily: That's great.
Dedeker: For me, I don't know. I think that in both my family of origin and in a lot of formative relationships that I've been in, there has been this assumption that taking ownership or apologizing means you're-
Emily: You've lost?
Dedeker: Well, it's not even just that you've lost, but it means that you're admitting to the whole-- You're taking responsibility for the whole thing, that you're saying, "Okay, I was the wrong one. You were the right one," and so you can't apologize.
Emily: Interesting. Yes.
Dedeker: You have to make it so that the other person apologizes or the other person admits wrongdoing because if you do, even in a small part, that means that you've lost. That's something that I've really had to pursue in my own personal growth as it were, but I think this, even just finding what's the small part, is a really good place to start from to help get that-- What do I want to say? That whole ownership train going.
So that both of you feel comfortable to start taking ownership of all the multiple moving parts of this particular fight.
Emily: I love that. All right. Prevention is the final one.
Jase: Final P.
Emily: The final P.
Dedeker: You know what they say-
Jase: Also the only P.
Dedeker: -about an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Dedeker: You've never heard that?
Emily: I like that. No, but that's good.
Jase: I've heard that one before. It's been a while, though.
Emily: That's good. I like that. With prevention, discuss how you can do things differently the next time. I like to do this a lot like, "Hey, what are some actionable things that we can-- an action that we can take in order to prevent this? Can I maybe take a breath for myself before-- when my partner walks in the door and it's been really late? Can I just take a breath and be kinder to them about it?" or ask like, "Hey, I thought that we said you were going to come home 30 minutes ago. Did something happen there or whatever?" Not so that it's like, "How dare you, you dick?" or something.
Emily: Trying to think about one way that each of you can make it better if this type of incident happens again. As I was saying, try to make a plan to minimize hurt feelings and avoid a future incident. Then again, just sometimes understanding underlying beliefs, the things that we've talked about before, the history of it all, can really help and can, again, infuse more empathy into the situation.
Jase: Yes. This is something we talked about on this show a while back. I forgot when it was, but something that and maybe Dedeker, you want to share just about someone saying they'll do something and not doing it to you has a lot more meaning than just them forgetting that thing.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely. You hit the nail on the head. You sum that up pretty good.
Jase: Well, for me that was something that Emily was just saying that just understanding that underlying belief can make a difference. For me, it was once we had that conversation and you told me that the story of that being a frustration for you growing up of your parents-
Emily: Just people forgetting.
Jase: -or whoever not following through on things that they promised to you that to you has a lot more meaning than I realized because for me it was just like, "Yes. I forget stuff sometimes. It sucks but it's not a big deal." Realizing that okay based on your story that is a big deal. That's changed the way that I will react to those things either through prevention of like, "Okay. If I've said I'm going to do something for Dedeker, I'll make extra effort to put a reminder or something like that. Take actual steps, not just be like, "I'll be better about that," but actually make a reminder, write it down, do something like that or if I do forget, because it happens sometimes, to take it seriously. To not be like, "Yes. Whatever," because I know that actually makes it worse. To me, it's like that. It's like, "Okay. That makes it better," by downplaying it but instead realizing doing that makes it worse. I'll be extra apologetic about it and immediately proposed how I'll remedy it.
Emily: I like that. That's great.
Jase: Like, "Okay. You're right. I forgot about that but I'm going to move this thing around so I can go do that right now," or like, "I'll set a reminder right now and I'll do that in two hours after I have this meeting or whatever it is." That right away she knows know this is important and I've made a plan to address it.
Dedeker: Dude, you made me cry. Oh, sweet. Well, I think in my side, it's also been internalizing and realizing that you're not a terrible person for forgetting things.
Emily: How dare you?
Dedeker: We've had a lot of conversations about the different ways that our respective memories work. It's another one of those where that's probably going to be an "unsolvable perpetual problem" in our relationship just because we fundamentally the different ways that we process information. It's not something where one of us has to make this extreme effort of changing the other person. Jase is not making this extreme effort to try to change me to chill the fuck out about remembering things and I'm not trying to harangue Jase to remembering things all the time perfectly.
It's an understanding of the background we're able to do that agree to disagree and live with these differences and it being okay and being able to have ways to repair it each time. It happens. It is pretty great.
Jase: It is great. You're right.
Emily: Right. That's fantastic. Well done, you two.
Jase: Shall we recap?
Dedeker: Let's recap. Taking it to the SHOP. I'm just going to the SHOP, to the SHOP. I'm just going to the SHOP. See I'm retooling some Carly Rae Jepsen.
Jase: I'm just going to the store but to the SHOP.
Emily: Yes. The same thing about it.
Jase: They're more British about it. Let's go down to the SHOP.
Emily: Stories is number one and then history and then ownership and prevention.
Jase: Just real quick. Emily, could you like one sentence sum each of those up?
Emily: Stories is just going to be sharing your own personal experience of what is happening in that particular moment. History is going back into your brain, into your memories of the things that might be triggering to you about that particular thing and why it caused you to have the reaction that you did. Ownership is taking ownership of the reaction that you had and maybe even admitting like, "Hey, I could have done that better." Then prevention is having actionable steps for figuring out how to do better next time.
Dedeker: Bam. Bam to bam bam bam. Well done.
Emily: Yes. I'm going to use this in my own life, fo sho.
Dedeker: We do have a secret bonus fifth step.
Emily: We do?
Dedeker: Yes, we do.
Jase: Don't say. I like that.
Emily: I didn't hear about this.
Dedeker: even Emily.
Jase: Even Emily doesn't know.
Emily: I thought we were at Burbank when we went to the shop.