I’m a talker.
I’m in tune with my emotions, my self awareness is pretty good, if I do say so myself, and I really love a good conversation. My partner on the other hand is more of a thinker, he uses his words sparsely, but they always have a purpose.
One of the challenges in our relationship has been meeting each other’s needs in regards to conversation; my partner’s need for time to himself and my need for connection through (suprise!) conversation. Over the last few months we started implementing 30 minutes or so at the end of our night, just before sleeping, where we were both physically and emotionally present with each other; no phones, no laptops, no distractions. Recently (as in the last three days) we’ve progressed from talking about our days to discussing some of the more existential questions of life like “what would you do if you won Lotto (New Zealand’s current 42 million)?” and last night’s question, “If you fell into a container of chemical waste and gained one superhero power which could help you change the world for the better, what would it be and why?” Okay, so maybe we’re not quite at existential yet, but the point is, they’re a start.
These conversations have become one of the highlights of my day; it not only gives us a chance to switch off from technology prior to going to sleep (something that seems to be an increasing need with our constant drive to be glued to our phones and in ‘connection’ with other people), but we make the opportunity to be completely present with one other. In the rush and busyness of life; work, social media, family, friends, general obligations and desires, taking time to actually be present with each other can be incredibly rare. The reality is, we needed to make the time, none of our responsibilities were going to magically disappear all at once. It means that after work, I give him space for his thought processes whilst he is winding down (I’m not barraging him every five seconds with whatever has come into my head at that exact moment) so he’s not getting annoyed at me, and then it allows me to focus on myself or other work I need to do without being distracted by him because I know that I’ll get my emotional cap later in the evening; something that for me, fuels some of my needs in a relationship
I can only encourage open conversations with your partner if this is something affecting you or you have other needs that are not being met. Of course, evaluate whether those needs are reasonable and how much they would actually require from your partner.
It’s taken us a while to start having more in-depth conversations, but the lead up and the wait has been worth it, I’m always looking forward to the next one. Having a better understanding of how my partner works has been an added bonus to just having the opportunity to be present with him after a long day.