I’ve been in a relationship for a little while, about 8 months and I keep arguing with my partner about money and his incessant working.
I want to spend time with him but he’s got other ideas. He is so focused on how much money he has, it seems more important than me.
Thank you for your email. Well I think we can probably all relate to this one, maybe with different topics but this is a typical example of a values conflict.
Relationships are one of the key areas that those affected by someone’s addiction or mental health problem will certainly relate to. We haven’t learnt to build great relationships and often the ones we have experienced haven’t always been healthy. We don’t learn about boundaries, respect, values, communication etc.
Just in case you aren’t aware I will explain a little more about values conflicts. When we have a values conflict, that can be with our own core values (what we hold very dear to us) which influence our decisions, behaviours and emotions. It can be our values with someone else’s or their values with ours.
First and foremost, you must understand your own values. You aren’t alone in this if you don’t know what your values are, it isn’t something we consciously make time for in the main. However, you can do this now so that’s a great start.
There is a fantastic Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique which helps you understand your values and their priorities. You can have different values for each context, e.g. work, friends and family, life, love. It’s important to know that they evolve and change over time, whilst they may be relevant today they may not in 2 years’ time.
You may want to watch my webinar created by Becky Craig from BluLake. She explains very eloquently how you can find out about your core values.
Once you are clear on your own values and what’s important for you in relationships, you can have a clearer view of things. Is what’s happening for you conflicting with your core values and if it is then what things can you change? Understanding other people’s values can also be helpful, whilst you have no influence over them you can certainly ask questions of your partner to find out.
Communication here is key, if the other person isn’t willing to talk then it’s quite hard if not impossible to progress from this point. Once communication is open you can talk about your values and deep down there will potentially be a common value between you. Having that level of understanding will help you see things from a different perspective. You may have the same core values but you are both working to achieve them in different ways.
Sometimes we may not know our own values and then wonder why we aren’t feeling fulfilled or that we aren’t having the life we want. You don’t want to get resentful to yourself or others for not having your needs met so understanding what is important to you is a great place to start.
I hope that helps.