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“I don’t know you anymore.” Heal relationships by re-meeting your Partner

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Have you ever been totally shocked at the sudden appearance of an aspect of your Partners personality that you never knew existed? Like when they have a totally unexpected reaction to a situation? It can be so unnerving when this happens because we tend to think we know someone until they surprise us. Thinking we know our Partner makes us feel safe. But sometimes, we get a shock and realise that maybe we don’t know them as well as we might.

Sometimes we have to re-meet people that we already know. Not much is guaranteed in life, but there is some certainty that as we go through life changes, highs, lows, triumphs, losses, illness, ageing and more, we will also inevitably change as people and hopefully, hopefully grow a little wiser.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has put us in the midst of a shared experience on a global scale and many of us are re-meeting the people around us without even realising it. We’re seeing our partner, housemates, friends, kids, anyone and everyone responding in different and unexpected ways to the global health crisis. Covid has us locked down, has changed our lives and has curbed our liberty. The people around you and even yourself, may have reacted in ways that feel totally out of character.

Building self-awareness is key in growing and investing in personal well-being. Other-awareness and re-meeting our important people is helpful too. When a couple decide to start a family, one parent might be shocked at how their partner parents their kids, as if a stranger has emerged from the person they chose to build a family with. We all have totally different experiences of growing up and being parented, so the notion of family will mean different things to different people. But you never really know what sort of parent your partner will be until a child arrives because you’ve never met this person before, you’ve never met your Partner as a Parent. In this sense you are re-meeting them.

Re-meeting is communicating, sharing thoughts and feelings about life changes and listening to each others experiences so you can share what life is looking like to you right now. There will always be parts of ourselves and others that remain largely unknowable, but an attempt to re-meet each other can help reinforce trust and encourage listening which is pretty good for the health of any relationship. In the very least, re-meeting is a move towards understanding, which does not always come easily as our important people grow and change as individuals.

Re-meeting should happen ideally when you both have a bit of time, are open to connection and able to listen. Try and be aware of each others triggers, for example if you or your partner get grouchy when hungry or tired, thats not an ideal time. Triggers are often emotional, and people are more sensitive when they feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. During these times be patient, give them space but be receptive. Re-meeting is listening, even more importantly than talking. You need to hear what your loved one is saying so you can gain some insight into how they’re experiencing the world right now.

Listening bonds us. When you listen to someone they feel heard which can have a massively positive impact on a relationship. You don’t have to agree about everything, you might be having completely different experiences right now, but by the simple action of listening, the other feels understood.

Look into the eyes of your important people. Ask them how they really are. Be prepared to listen without judgement. Tell them its nice to re-meet them.

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