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October 28, 2021

Halloween Harmony For Couples

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Halloween is just a few days away, and for many, that means dressing up, giving out candy, and perhaps getting together for in-person parties once again. For couples, however, disagreements about social gatherings can be a source of contention, so Jess joined Carolyn and Jeff this morning to talk about Halloween harmony for couples. Check out the video and notes below.

What do you do when you don’t agree about big parties. Maybe your partner wants to hit them all and, you’re still nervous about larger crowds — or vice versa?

I can’t tell you how to resolve the disagreement because neither of you is right or wrong. The most important piece; is that you talk about how you’re feeling and try to understand your partner’s perspective. You don’t have to agree, but can you try to see even part of their perspective? Can you move away from trying to convince them and move toward finding some common ground?

But when you’re so divided and this issue has now been ongoing for 18+ months, how do you even start a conversation that isn’t a heated argument?

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Here are a few prompts for having the conversation:

  1. Reflect on your own about how you’re feeling. Are you feeling scared or nervous? Are you feeling bored and frustrated? Start with the feelings first.
  2. Then think about why you want what you want (e.g. to go to parties or to stay home).
  3. Share these two things with your partner: what you want and how you’re feeling.
  4. Listen to their perspective. Imagine yourself feeling what they’re feeling — visualize it.

The point is to have a meaningful conversation to better understand one another. You don’t have to land on the same page, but you do need to talk about your motivations and feelings rather than just trying to convince them that you’re right.

What about the extra risks associated with parties — yes, you might wear masks, but alcohol can impair judgment. How do you plan for that?

If you know that you tend to let your guard down and take more risks after a few drinks, decide ahead of time what your personal expectations are about safety and remind yourself of them. Maybe even find a way to remind your partner or a buddy. It can be helpful to have a buddy who looks out for you – that may be your partner, and if it is, you have to plan ahead for how you’re going to communicate because when you’ve been drinking, you can also get snappy.

For example, let’s say; you decide you want to wear your mask at a party because it’s a big one, and you’ll be seeing your parents the next day who are at higher risk. Maybe you take your mask off after a couple of beers, and your partner takes notice – pick a code word that they can use to remind you about your mask, so it doesn’t feel like they’re parenting you or trying to start a fight.

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What about parents whose kids want to go to parties that feel too risky. How do you break it to your kid(s)?

Start by asking questions about what they think regarding risks and safer practice right now. Ask them what they’re comfortable with and why? Use examples of safer practices and risk-taking practices.

See if they can come to the conclusion on their own.

If they don’t arrive at the same conclusion as you, can you strike a compromise:

  • Can they go to an outdoor event?
  • Can they wear a mask?
  • Can they go to a smaller gathering?