2. If I were my partner, would I be able to listen right now?
This one is more common than you’d think. Your partner is deeply invested in something, maybe they are focusing on writing that book, or dealing with an email from their boss, who’s blaming them for a huge screw-up that happened at work. That’s pure distress. They are completely in the zone, focusing all their energy on that task.
Then you come in, maybe back from a fun evening with friends, eager to tell your partner about the fun you had, or a funny situation you found yourself in. You start talking, while your partner is giving the occasional “mmhmm,” not really listening to your story.
Now it’s not too difficult to figure out who you’d put the blame on, right? Stop yourself right there and analyze the situation. I know it’s hard, we all love talking way more than listening. But just try to understand that your partner may be pre-occupied. They aren’t doing this to offend you.
Switch places. Look at your partner. Would you be able to listen in their place? And don’t lie to yourself. I’m sure you too are in a “flow” state when you focus on an important task.
So don’t feel offended by your partner not dropping everything they do immediately just to give you the attention. There is a time and place for everything. Sometimes we have to show patience. Unfortunately, life is not always about us.