Today I want to share an experience that can be super helpful for others out there that struggle with communication.
My husband and I were in a rut (or at least what I thought was a rut). I was depressed. I'm also a recovering people pleaser. Whenever I would try and have the talk with him, when I would notice the slightest little micro-expression of negativity (or what I would perceive as negativity) I would back down. I would play it off like it was hormones/pms or I'm just being emotional. I didn't want to rock the boat because of some deep fear of him leaving me for being to clingy. That fear is actually just anxiety.
Well I brought up a lifestyle change and added that I wanted to start a journal but I needed him to read it as well. This way, I could express my true feelings (some may be over exaggerated) and he could understand the inner workings of my brain/anxiety. He was 100% supportive.
At first, it was a hand written journal and I would leave it on his night stand. It wouldn't move unless I moved it. Then I started to leave it in the bathroom thinking that he would read it while he was sitting in there. It never moved unless I moved it. Well I found a workaround for all of that. You can open up a shared google doc and set it up to have notifications whenever it's been edited. That worked and OH MAN the communication between us is so much better.
I would write in it, he would read it sometime later that day and after he's had time to digest the information, we would have a discussion about it. I've written things in there that I haven't told a soul about and I feel this weight has been lifted. He now rewords certain things or over explains things so that he consciously doesn't send me down the anxiety spiral.
How and Why it Helps:
This is a way that can ease the burden of "disappointing/triggering the other person." Disagreements are going to happen in any relationship, but this way it allows your side to be heard/read and allows them to have their reaction before you both come together to discuss how to move forward. We all react to information differently. Then we react to those reactions. See how this can lead to arguments? Having the time to digest the information separately takes those initial reactions out of the picture.
How many times have you thought, "WTF was he/she thinking?!" Wouldn't it be nice to take a peak into someone else's mind? This is that opportunity. It allows the other person to see how your brain works. If they see how your brain works, then possibly they will rephrase things for their real intentions. Real clarification comes through. Example: My husband would tell me his opinion on something and my brain would translate that into a negative criticism. Once he learned that, he would actually say that it's his opinion or in his experience or his preference.
Maybe you're just shy. Totally understandable. Some things just might be too embarrassing or sexy naughty to be said out loud. Well if you aren't going to say them out loud, then how is your partner supposed to know? If you have certain fantasies that you are too embarrassed to talk about, when would you ever make these a reality? Writing them down in a journal would be the way to go. Besides, it's great foreplay if you write down a fantasy, hand the journal to your partner and say that you want that to happen tonight (or this weekend). The fun times that can be had.
Ground rules for a shared journal:
Don't edit each other's work. That'll break trust between you two and/or make one partner feel inferior.
Use a platform that both of you will actually use. If hardcover journals don't work, use phone apps.
Don't use it to have written arguments. You each have your side of the argument, go ahead and vent but have a verbal discussion later once both sides have been written and read.
Have fun with it. This doesn't have to be all negative stuff. Write some fantasies in there. Write about some of your favorite moments. Write good stuff for positive reinforcement.
Keep it between you two only. I know that this might be an eyeroll type statement but don't be that person who says to their friend, "hey, look at what s/he said...." Don't be that guy, nobody likes that guy.
I will write create a page with Journal prompts for those of you who have no idea where to start and/or just need a fresh idea. In the mean time, head on over to my FB Group where there is already a file of journal prompts. Can't wait to see you there!!