Skip to content

You go first! NO, YOU GO FIRST!!!!

January 22, 2020

In very conflicted relationships each person blames and shames the other for past untoward behavior.

Like a cat chasing it’s tail, the arguments go round and round. It escalates until someone reaches some point of no return and there is things said, violent behavior or the cold war. More things to add to the lists of hurts.

Neither person gets what they want and both give as good as they get.

In terms of change, both want the other to go first. Neither trusts that if one changes first, the other will follow.

Hopefully at least one can be brave.

That one can try something different, something that if tried may make the difference towards bringing about change.

Whether or not it works for this relationship, it is a strategy that may be helpful for a future relationship.

That person can seek to put their anger on hold, acknowledge the upset of the other and ask that person what they would like you do do differently.

The challenge is to listen non-defensively.

If it feels like an attack, still don’t attack back. Just say, “oh”, in a tone of voice that only says, I hear you. No sarcasm.

You don’t have to agree with what you heard.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

Just hear it all the way through and say “oh”.

If your partner asks if you will do what they suggest, say “I am having some feelings about it so let me think about what you said”.

That would be a good time to then say, “I am going to walk away now. I am not leaving. I just need time and space to think.” It is important to say that you are not leaving.

Again, you don’t have to do anything that is suggested to you by your partner.

There is no guarantee this strategy will change anything. The only thing about it is that it will provide a different set of behaviors for you both.

Up to you if you want to try it.

Up to you if you want to go first.


Follow me on Facebook!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support – to build your successful practice


Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: