Smart Communication Tools


Dating-Speak” ™ ©2014: Our Lives of Style authority–Laura Pugliese shares must-know dating “Do’s and Don’ts” that will help you find success in your relationships:
Lives of Style:  A man who I have a major crush on hasn’t contacted me in months. We went out about five times and the last time we saw each other was about six months ago. He is Jewish, can I email him something for the Jewish New Year? If so, what can I say?

Laura: You can certainly email him to wish him a Happy Jewish New Year to see if it sparks something from him, as long as you do it with the acceptance that it may be just a warm holiday exchange. Be open, but not attached to the outcome. You can write, “Hi ( insert his name) you crossed my mind, and I want to wish you and your family (insert specific holiday greeting). I hope all is well with you! Warm Regards, (insert your name).”

One way or the other you will receive information that hopefully brings clarity so you can move forward.

Lives of Style: I went out on a double date with some friends. My date has a very riotous sense of humor. When we were on the date he was kidding about me “having a few extra pounds.”  I am assuming that he is joking, I am slim so I know I am not over weight but it didn’t feel great to hear him joke about my body.  What can I say to him and do I address it now or do I wait until something happens in the future?

Laura: What one person thinks is funny and says in jest is certainly not always received the way they intended it by others, however it’s important to keep it in mind that there was not ill intention on his part to be hurtful. At the same time, it is important to know what your personal sensitivities are and share those feelings with your partner. I suggest you talk with him as soon as possible once you are alone and can speak privately. It’s a good to form the habit of keeping personal matters and sensitive issues discussed just between the two of you and not in front of friends or family in order to build trustworthiness and enhance intimacy between you.

You can say, “I want to talk with you about something you said jokingly at dinner with (insert friends names)  that felt sensitive to me. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “yes.” Then you can say, “I want you to know that I don’t think you would intentionally say something that would feel bad to me, and I do love that you have a great sense of humor. This feeling is about me. I personally don’t receive comments about my appearance or weight as humorous no matter who says them or how they are intending them because it triggers negative thoughts and makes me feel bad inside. I want to share that with you in order for you to better understand me. What are your thoughts about what I am sharing with you, and do you think you could consider my sensitivities in the future.”

Lives of Style: I was really tired last Saturday night when I was out to dinner with my boyfriend and when he was looking at the menu and mentioning what he wanted to eat I started saying short snippy things about why he was ordering this or that.  I apologized that night and said that I was rude and don’t want to be that way. Is there anything else I can say? What can I do in the future if I get that inkling to be bratty because I am exhausted. 

Laura: It sounds like you realized what you did and took responsibility by owning it and apologizing. I don’t think it’s necessary to readdress that incident. The work to do now lies within you. The first part of the battle is being able to recognize how you get when you’re tired and own it, which you have accomplished. The next step is to do your best when you are in the moment to be present and realize that you are feeling tired, irritable, and it’s probably best that you choose to keep your mouth shut when you are in that space. Finally, communicate with your partner. You can say, “Honey, I am feeling exhausted, and I know when I feel that way I can tend to say snippy things. I don’t want to do that, so I want to let you know how I am feeling.  I also want you to let me know right away if I get snippy or say anything rude. Will you do that please?”

Lives of Style: My fiance and I try to have dinner together a few nights a week and the other night I came home 30 minutes late and he got irate at me because the meal that he cooked was ready a half an hour before I arrived. He castigated me about my time management and how I am always late — which isn’t true — and how I don’t respect his time.  I didn’t know what to say.  He has never behaved in this manner in the three years we have been together and I know there is a lot of stress because we are planning a wedding so that might ignite some of his anger, but it was scary. What can I say to him because I’m questioning how he deals with his anger?

Laura: You clearly stated that he has never behaved that way in the three years you have been together which shows a long term and trustworthy record in that area. The stress level of planning a wedding and the anticipation of such an immense life change can definitely bring out tensions in the relationship, so it’s very important to be patient and communicate with each other.  Since I don’t know what the energy, boundaries and communication has been like in the three years that you have been together it’s hard for me to assess whether this is strictly an isolated incident with an isolated reaction or if perhaps his response was the aggressive side of passive aggressiveness due to him going passive on past issues bothering him which he didn’t communicate to you at the time. I want you to be honest with yourself and ask yourself if it’s possible that you have unintentionally been disrespectful to him in the past. He did mention that he thought you didn’t respect his time. A man thinking he is respected by his partner in a relationship is like oxygen in the same way having her feelings considered and cherished is for a woman. Without that oxygen the relationship doesn’t breathe well.

With all of that in mind you can say, “Honey I want to talk with you about some things that may be sensitive for both of us. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “yes,”  or tell you when it will be a good time for that talk. Then you can say, “You had every right to be angry when I was late for dinner, however the way you expressed yourself didn’t feel good to me. I want you to know that I feel badly for being late. Although it was not my intention to be disrespectful to you–I can understand how it could come across that way to you. I am sure if the shoe was on the other foot it wouldn’t feel good to me if you were late, and I was thinking it would make sense if we both make an agreement to do our best to be on time and also to communicate with each other right away when either of us is running late. It is also important to me to respect you, and it would feel best to me if we can have an agreement that when there is ever anything that I am doing or saying that you think is disrespectful–you let me know right away, and I will do the same if there is anything you say or do that doesn’t feel good to me. I am not perfect, but i love you and am committed to our relationship and want to do my best to do my part. What are your thoughts about what I am sharing with you, and is there anything you can think of that I can do to help us do better in the future?”

Lives of Style:  I’m a newlywed and my husband and I didn’t talk about financial things before we got married. I don’t know how to ask him if I need to speak with him before I buy myself some clothes or shoes etc. He just bought a new surf board and didn’t talk to me about it so how do I bring up my desire to have a talk about our finances?

Laura: It’s very important that you discuss the finances and boundaries for your spending. If you are both working and contributing equal or close to equal percentages of your paycheck to the relationship then it stands to reason that you each have every right to allocate a certain agreed upon percentage of earnings for personal spending. However, if your husband is the primary provider of the household then that should come with respecting and accepting that he has more say and control over the money. Still there should be an agreed upon amount that is dispersed to you for your own personal use and discretion so you can be comfortable and feel like an adult. Either way the marriage is a commitment to a partnership, so the distribution of finances is a matter that should be discussed and an agreement should be made.

To open up this discussion you can say, “I want to talk with you about our finances. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “yes.” Then you can say, “I was looking at a dress and thinking about buying it, and I then realized that we haven’t discussed our finances and spending, so I didn’t feel comfortable just buying it without first talking with you about our finances. What are your thoughts and suggestions about us sitting down and going over all of our finances, making an agreement about which things are controlled by one of us, which things are discussed and decided together, and how to allocate a certain amount of funds for each of us to have for personal use at our own discretion?”

While Laura may not be able to email each of you individually, she will answer select questions.

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