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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience:  Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
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For Dr. Levang - How have you figured out my husband so well?!

Resolved Question:

For Dr. Levang -
How have you figured out my husband so well?! We had plans to go out to dinner Sat. night and had a new babysitter. The mom (whom I am friends with) was going to drop her daughter off to babysit and say hello. Then, as it got closer, she asked if her daughter could bring a friend along and also, her husband was going to come with and could they bring a bottle of wine and have a drink before we went our separate ways. Of course, I had no problem with it. I have to say, my husband did NOT like the change of plans (and I told him we did not have to go along with it if he was uncomfortable), but he did and I think actually had a decent time. All I could think of was columns not adding up!!!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. L replied 2 years ago.

Dr Levang :

Hi,

Dr Levang :

Well...is it a case of the old dog learning some new tricks? or that he is willing to push himself a tad out of his comfort zone.

Dr Levang :

I'm glad the end result was that he was able to be flexible and accomodate not one - but a series of changes. This had to have been a big step away from rigid columns of numbers to *gasp* things not adding up as neatly as he prefers.

Dr Levang :

Wow. Really.

Dr Levang :

I imagine you complimented him on his "going with the flow"! Did he give you any feedback as to what allowed him to do this? Do you have any thoughts on that?

Dr Levang :

I'm wondering if your having given him permission to not go along with the changes your friend kept suggesting was actually the key here. That perhaps he saw you as understanding his needs for routine and respecting those needs.

Dr Levang :

I see you are offline. I will be online off and on until early evening. Hopefully we can connnect so we can chat a bit.

Dr Levang :

Looks to me as if progress is being made!

Customer:

Hi. I am trying to see things from his perspective, so when I got the information that there was a "change of plans", I knew he wasn't going to like it. I think my normal reaction would be to tell him to lighten up and go with the flow, but you've changed me! I immediately knew I had to go to his side, let him know I knew it made him uncomfortable and that it was within his rights to tell me to tell them no. He did end up having a good time, but the next day he did say, "Wasn't that strange?" a few times. I guess I never really knew how much (what I consider small) changes in the itinerary really bothered him. Or I did, and saw only his inflexibility.

Dr Levang :

LOL to his "Wasn't that strange?" I think that in this case, "strange" was code for his own realization that being flexible/spontaneous/surprised can be an okay thing. And to think that this wasn't about you being a "hand-full" but about life unfolding..my my.

Dr Levang :

So there you go...you've picked up some new clues and you are implementing your new learning. Great! You did a wonderful job of supporting his world view and showing him you respected that view. Really terrific. Now...in time...he has to do the same. As you are getting to know him better and then reacting in a supportive/respectful way to those idiosyncratic ways of his..he is likely to soften.

Dr Levang :

The other interesting aspect of this is his seeing how flexible other people are. First there was the babysitter, then it was the babysitter and friend, then it was husband coming with wine. Lots of spontaneous stuff here for him to compare his blueprint with!

Dr Levang :

And..you didn't have anything to do with those changing plans

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience: Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
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