“I love you, but you’re being ridiculous right now.”
“I’m sorry you’re hurt, but what I said was true.”
“I shouldn’t have done that, but you shouldn’t have said what you did.”
All three of these statements are ones you may have said or heard in your own relationship, and as well intended as they may be, they are completely useless. The first part of the statement – the apology or admission of love – is retracted as soon as it is followed up with a contradicting “but.”
The word “but” is: “used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned,” and therefore is the last thing you want to hear following a compliment or an apology. Yet so many of us seem to rely on that double edged tactic.
I hear statements like these a lot in session with couples in distress. As they try to communicate with one another, they struggle to allow themselves to be left defenseless. Years, months, or even weeks of feeling like enemies rather than teammates has left each partner feeling ... Read more »