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Simon says, “Be patient and gentle.”

From the PPS basics, you will recall the importance of not letting people mess with your monkey, taking care of yourself since no one else is going to do it for you, and being assertive with people. These certainly do not sound much like patient and gentle behavior; and they sometimes are not. Does Simon think that your relationship with your significant other is an exception to these PPS principles? Well, not exactly but sort of, in a way, at times.

“Come on Simon,” you say. “Either it is or it isn’t.”

That’s the way to call the question. You are cutting straight to the point. You are not about to let Simon get away with that kind of fence sitting.

Thank you for being so clear about your impression and perspective. It likely seems that Simon is talking out of both sides of his mouth. “Be assertive and hold people accountable,” vs. “Be gentle and patient.”

It would appear that way until you see that Simon is suggesting that you do both, concurrently. The strategy assuredly applies to your significant other but is one you can also use with everyone, every time. Simon’s point is to take extra care to use it consistently within your relationship with your significant other.

Being patient means that you do not push, do not demand, do not rush, do not behave as if your patience is quickly being exhausted. You do not yell, get noticeably upset, or pout and withdraw. When you feel your patience slipping, you make an extra effort to stay calm and positive, to be helpful, and to avoid critical comments and behavior. Here is the key. With your significant other, you simply assume that you are getting “best effort,” given the situation and circumstances. Since you are getting “best effort,” your impatience is not justified and is, in fact, unreasonable.

Now for being gentle. Seeing that your impatience is a product of your being unreasonable, being gentle will come much easier. You certainly want to be assertive, want to have things happen more timely, and want to get responses more consistent with your expectations. The difference now is that the problem is not someone’s fault and most certainly is not your significant other’s fault.

You can firmly discuss how it looks from your perspective and consider what you can do to make it easier and more appealing for your significant other to meet your expectations. Through the discussion, you may also decide to modify your expectations to be more consistent with what your significant other wants and needs. Whatever the outcome, it is a gentle, working things out together kind of thing, free from blame and finger pointing.

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