Outlined by Tex, Edited by Dr. Irene
(Tex’ list is intended for abusive women. I think it’s good stuff for us all. Doc.)
Do You treat the man in your life with the same courtesy, respect, affection, admiration, empathy, and emotional support you extend to Jamie, Anita, Amanda, or any of your other friends?
If you find yourself speaking in a negative way to your man, in a way you know you would not speak to your friends (name calling, insulting, belittling, cursing, gesturing, ignoring, etc., etc.) – STOP! Ask yourself what is really bugging you – because its not him!
Whatever you ask for yourself from this man, return same to him. If your feminist or other principles demand that you live your life as you choose, extend those expectations to him. Demand of yourself that you allow him to live life as he chooses.
If you don’t want him to invade your privacy, don’t invade his.
If you want him to respect your comfort level in things emotional and physical, respect his.
If he feels you have disrespected him treated him poorly, don’t try to argue your case. Simply believe him. Learn from what he has to tell you.
Be fair. This means you not only look at what he is doing in the relationship, but at what you are doing. Ask yourself some hard questions.
Be consistent. For example, if racism and sexism are wrong when committed by men, it is equally wrong when women or White, Black, Brown and Blue people participate in racist or sexist behavior.
Don’t condemn him for behavior that you would excuse in your friends. Better yet, don’t condemn anybody!
See him for who he is. Do not make him into your father or your first husband. Do not pin all the societal sins of “men” on him. He is an individual.
Listen to what he is saying. Listen with with your heart, and not your “law degree”.
Count to 10 or 100 or 1000 before you speak in anger! Sticks and stones will break his bones, but words will kill his spirit. Few things are more destructive to the bond of affinity and affection.
Treat sex as a sacred gift, not an avenging sword.
Learn to be an emotional partner. Not a senior partner, not a junior partner, but an equal partner. Work together for the common goals of the relationship. Work individually to support your partner’s emotional self. The whole is bigger than the sum of its parts.
Compliment and encourage him. Resist judgmental-speak. Again, ask yourself, “Would I say this to my close friend?” If you wouldn’t, don’t say it now.
Be just. This means sometimes you won’t get what you want. Sometimes he won’t get what he wants. Without justice there is no relationship.
Recognize that you have not done all these things out of your intimacy fears and distortions. You blame him for all that does not go your way. You fear his pushing you away first. You disrespect him for not pushing you away when you think he should.
The more you learn to tolerate emotional closeness without pushing-away behavior, the more you will learn to trust and appreciate the sense of peace and security emotional intimacy brings.