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I Feel Seen and Understood by my Partner When..?

What does your partner do that makes you feel seen and understood? On the other hand, is there something you do that would make them complain they feel unseen and misunderstood?

Also this week, we talk of how I was super-excited after getting engaged over the Valentine's Day weekend, but now I'm already feeling overwhelmed with post-engagement blues. I thought we'd enjoy marital bliss for longer that a week? Is this normal? 

On this episode of the Interracial Couple, we dive into one of the toughest sections of The Lover's Journal. This week we explore the dark sides of ourselves that need working through -following these prompts:

  1. I Feel SEEN and UNDERSTOOD by my Partner When..?
  2. I Feel MisUNDERSTOOD and UNSEEN by my Partner When..?
  3. How can I share the first with Gratitude and the second one with non-accusatory compassion?


Matthew: So here we are, the last few days have been a little bit challenging. We live out in the country. And the internet here is kind of like going back in time quite a bit. There are no real good internet options out here. So we ran into some internet challenges this week. And there was also painting work we needed to do. So this morning, I was just feeling like, you know, there's just a lot going on, I could feel myself starting to get a bit frustrated with things not moving smoothly, and just kind of wanted to just bring myself back to be like, you know what, that's okay. You know, it's okay, that even setting up this morning to record our podcast took way longer than it normally does. And just feeling like you know what? That's okay. Do you feel the same?

Cera: Yeah, it's been a couple of challenging days. And I keep telling myself, we just got engaged a week ago. Wasn’t I extremely happy? Yet a few days after the engagement... why am I feeling so down? It's kind of funny.

Maybe it has to do with how I can't work because of the internet issues. I haven't had internet for almost a week. And so I was so restless. I feel like there are all these things that I need to do for my business that I can't really do. And we're in the middle of the pandemic so it's not like I can just go to a coffee shop and sit there. That's not an option that I have.

So yeah, I’ve been under a lot of pressure from what I shouldn't be doing, but I'm not in a position to do. And at the same time, blaming myself for not fixing the issue before.

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Matthew Temple: I just wanted to bring that up because those things come up. And sometimes I feel like, oh, it shouldn't be that way. Or like you said, like, wait - we just got engaged! This life is great. Why am I now feeling down?

I just feel like it's a really good reminder to myself, just to speak it out loud. Cool. You know what, that's just the way it's gonna go. 

And even when we started journaling the day right, we came down to the new office, we each brought our own pen, but your pen didn't work. So you’re like do I have to go back up to the house just to get a pen? There are always these little annoyances, but that's just part of the way things flow in life at times. And I just feel overwhelmed with a lot of things to do but still, I'm okay with that. 

I'm going to get as much done as I can. I’ll show up, I may have a blip in my attitude and have a little cranky moment. But then I’ll just get back up again and say, that's fine. I'm going to just keep going.

Cera: Yeah, it's so easy to make yourself feel wrong for feeling down. And especially for me as I was feeling so happy a couple of days ago. And now it's like, I'm stressed out again. And I've been making this joke. It's like, Oh, I just got engaged. I'm just supposed to be in this happy mode, and I am. But there’s also a funk that's going on at the same time.

Matthew Temple: Anyway, do you want to read the quote for this week, as we are on week six of  The Lover’s Journal for anyone who is following along. If you are doing The Lover’s Journal and you want to listen to any of our previous weeks’ entries to hear where you are, what we went through during the first five weeks, just you can go back and check those beginning here.

We’re on week 6 of The Lover’s Journal. And for those of you who are just joining us now on this journey, you certainly don't have to go back and get caught up. And you don't miss anything by jumping in or jumping out. Because these journal prompts just gives us a grist for the mill, some fuel for the fire in our conversation, what are the things through our relationship and because we are in a relationship, that means the state of our relationship impacts the rest of our lives, the rest of our lives impacts the state of our relationship, and bringing awareness to that and actually digging in on that is part of our process that we are sharing. And so by all means, you know, this is we're just gonna pick right up because there's gonna be some really fun nuggets.

And I'll just say even before we do, this nugget that came through this prompt is something that is, I think, vital to bring up and discuss and go through what I wrote anyways, yeah, whether or not we were doing the lovers journal, this would be a conversation topic for a podcast that really focuses on relationship and how the relationship impacts our lives and how our lives impact our relationship. So just want to give that a little bit of backstory there.

Cera: And do you feel that Week 6 has been a build up from the last four weeks? I feel the last four weeks have been with the positive outlook on a relationship. Today, I feel it's going deeper into the challenges.

Matthew Temple: Yeah.

Cera: Which is amazing. Because it's where we're at. This week, it almost feels like Ah, this is exactly what we should be doing. 

Matthew Temple: Why don't you kick us off with the quote for the week.

Cera: So the quote for the week. Love involves a peculiar unfathomable combination of understanding and misunderstanding.

Matthew Temple: Understanding and misunderstanding, and that, I think, leads us into what the prompts were for this week. If you don't mind, I would like to share each of the prompts and then we can go into them.

So prompt number one is: I feel understood and seen by my partner when..?

Prompt number two is: I feel misunderstood and unseen by my partner when..?

And the third prompt is, how can I share the first one with gratitude, and the second one with non accusatory compassion with you, my partner?

Cera: I’m your partner?

Matthew Temple: For better or for worse.

Cera: Haha! Okay. Do you want to start? So when do you feel not understood? And not seen by me?

Matthew Temple: No, that's not the first one.

Cera: I feel. Oh, I changed that.

Matthew Temple: I think you’re just so ready to go into not feeling understood, heard or seen? Yes. Okay.

Cera: I feel... okay. So when do you feel understood and seen by me?

Matthew Temple: When you share insight, that's a hard truth, but do it without accusatory judgment, or stank.

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And my example here was the other day when I was recording a video to be on a game show. And I finished and you're like, that wasn't very good. But you didn't say it in a way that was like that. sucked, or you can't do that or anything it was, you just shared it in a way that it was vulnerable in some ways, because I'm recording myself, I'm about to put myself out there. And that's not good enough. And it wasn't.

Your feedback wasn't judgmental. But it brought judgment. And the judgment was okay, the critique was really important. And you did it in such a way that I was like, Okay, I ran something by you. And I tried it again.

And that's the kind of thing that would have been really easy to say, I'm going to go in the other room and do. But I felt comfortable enough in general with you there. I didn't have to go in the other room. I'm just going to do this right here with you. And if it's not, you know, you would share again with me that it wasn't good enough.

Anyway, a day or two later, I got a phone call from the game show saying they wanted to have an interview with me. So clearly, you understood and saw me and basically pushed me to be a little bit better. Yeah. Without judgment, cause there are so many opportunities, you know? Anyway, that is it for me.

Cera: Yeah, I was sitting right there while doing my work and I heard your record. And I was like, I know you. You have more exciting stories than that. So I waited for you to finish. And then I was like, babe I think should actually tell that other story that's more exciting. Now I'm glad you got a call.

Why Openness is Important in a Relationship

Matthew Temple: When do you feel understood and seen by me?

Cera: So what I wrote was-

Matthew Temple: “Can we please jump to Problem number two, where I can say where I don't feel seen or Understood?”

Cera: Actually, I did. Like when you validate my experiences, they are sometimes my truth doesn't have to be your truth, you know? But you still listen to my truth without trying to like, make me see to your way. You just say, ‘Okay, I hear you, I get what you mean, I may not fully understand, or I may not fully know the experience, but... 

Matthew Temple: Is there an example that you have?

Cera: Well, there is nothing that I've done in the past that you judge me for, you know? You don't judge my past mistakes -and I have them. So I know that I can share any memory as it comes up. and you're just gonna laugh at it, or… you know? 

Matthew Temple: So then do you want to jump straight into moments you feel misunderstood or unseen by me?

Cera: Yes, I actually just felt misunderstood and unseen by you a couple minutes ago. And I was really annoyed with you. And it was a small issue about a pen. 

So my pen wasn’t working, and I had to go get another pen. And this writing part was kind of broken.

Matthew Temple: It didn't come out as far as you expected it to?

Cera: Correct. And I was like, I've seen enough pens in my life to know that something is wrong with this pen. And I looked at you and said, Babe, I think this pen’s broken. And what was your answer to that?

Matthew Temple: I said, it's not broken. It just doesn't come out all the way.

Cera: No, you said. You said that's the way pens are. I insisted like, actually, I feel there's something wrong with this pen. And then you had an explanation...

Matthew Temple: You're like, this pen is broken. I was like, well, it's not actually broken. The tip of the writing part comes out a millimeter less than normal, but it's noticeable. I actually made it work properly. But I even felt a little bit like why is she complaining about the pin that I fixed. I was a real adult in that situation.

Cera: While I knew that something was wrong with the pen - all I needed It was like, yeah, there was something wrong with the pen. Another was broken a week ago, and I fixed it, but you made it seem like so I was crazy for thinking that there was something wrong. What I'm saying to you, is that when you do small sh*t like that, it makes me feel like I don't know what I'm talking about.

This was about a pen, but in life, there are things like that are bigger.

Cera from Interracial Couple Podcast

Matthew Temple: So, if you're confused, and I don't acknowledge your confusion, or I don't corroborate your experience, it's the opposite of what you said before. Which is why you couldn't think of any example of when you feel heard and seen, because you're like, I would have felt if you had seen this thing with the pen the way I do.

How to be a Supportive Partner While Not Seeing Eye to Eye

Cera: But that's one of like, the small things. I think I wrote something else. Which is sometimes when I come to you, and I'm like, completely overwhelmed, and I don't know what to do with my business, or with a specific situation. Like I don't know which direction to take in marketing. And, like, I'm already overwhelmed. And sometimes I just need you to listen, but then you offer me like another 10 other marketing things to do. And I'm just like, I'm already overwhelmed. Why would you add another list of 10 things that I need to do? At those times I do not feel like I am seen and understood by you.

Because in that moment, I'm not coming to you for solutions - they are there on YouTube, you know. Today, there's a lot of information overload. So I already know these things, I just need you to listen and not give me advice on things that I need to do.

Matthew Temple: So like, you come for insight on that particular point, the overload problem is like a nail in your head… Oh, we are going to put a YouTube link in the show notes. For the wonderful and insightful video about the woman with a nail in her forehead. Anyone who has not seen it yet, it's got to make it to the top of your to watch list on YouTube.

Cera: Yes, so sometimes when I share my overwhelmness-

Matthew Temple: You are not asking me about whether you should take the nail out of your forehead.

Cera: I'm just telling you look, it’s here. 

Matthew Temple: Okay, so let’s move the next prompt then: how can you share the first one with gratitude and the second one with non accusatory compassion with your partner.

Cera: I feel like we just did?

Matthew Temple: I wrote the exact same thing, just by putting it down on paper and then sharing it.

Now I also see how that could easily be triggering for a lot of people, you know, particularly if that's an area where there's still conflict. 

And you know, even like, it's going back with the pen - I love this as it's such a small thing, but then again the small things also impact our relationship in ways that just kind of creep in. Like, I was feeling kind of happy about the way that I cleverly figured out how to save this pen from the garbage can.’Oh, I am being an environmentalist, by fixing this pen instead of throwing it away’.

And then your kind of critique of it was like, Well, if I tell you that, like are you going to criticize my work or whatever. So it just became this whole ridiculous story in my head. And that doesn't necessarily even come from nowhere. There are times where I'll fix something or I'll do something and I'll be like, Oh, I feel very good about that. And you'll be like, That's stupid. Right? And now I'm being what I was happy about. You're now criticizing. And so this was not enough. I feel like so few things in our relationship or any relationship are in a vacuum. They're connected. And so I'm thrilled that this pen story came up because I actually want to actually look and see where these other small things can then ultimately play into our lives in ways that create some like underlying discontentment.

Cera: So I am nervous to hear when you don't feel understood to share it.

Matthew Temple: Oh I didn't share it? I was ready to move on.

Cera: Haha! I was ready too.

Matthew Temple: And this was basically the opposite of what I said before, which is that when you do share, but you do it with self righteousness?

Cera: Yeah I can be like that sometimes.

Matthew Temple: You can. And when there's a criticism or trying to make me wrong.

So recently, I had an issue and I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was an issue with one of the kids or something. And I wanted to talk through something with you. Already you’re like, that's a bad idea. I was like, Well, I don't think it's a bad idea. I need to kind of work through this. And you kind of kept being like, that's a bad idea. And at the end of that whole thing, I actually needed to go and have that conversation anyway. But I didn't get the sort of the benefit of really being able to workshop you with it. But then you were already criticizing me for doing it. Right?

A man standing in a wild flower bush

Cera: Yeah, right. I hear that. I think what happened was that that specific situation was very triggering for me. And so it was like a yes, or complete non situation. There was no gray area where I was like compassionate about the situation. So for me, it's definitely a no, you know, because in that situation, I came with it with my own hurt and my own trauma. You know, so I wasn't even speaking from like, what was best for you. I was speaking from my own pain. I know now as an adult when I'm speaking from my own pain, rather than like being open to seeing what you are going through without me bringing my own shit into it. So yeah, I hope I don't bring my own shit to your situation.

Matthew Temple: But sometimes you do. And you will. And I will too.

I think that in just being able to share this, you know, I feel fortunate that we also have created this space, within the podcast, where we're sharing this. That is actually a challenge. Like a lot of times, the days that we record are challenging. And you said this before, one of the best things we are doing for our relationship is the podcast, because we promised ourselves that for at least 100 episodes, we are showing up and doing this every single week. And this is actually hard because we're not just getting in here and saying, Hey, we're going to tell you about our business. It's not a podcast about how to market your drop shipment thing or whatever. 

Cera: We share personal stuff with people as we're processing it.

Matthew Temple: And that is not easy. But setting aside this time, where we say we do this or that, it has been really good. And I think that's one of the things that's actually also helped with our creation of The Lover’s Journal, and I know is going to benefit our relationship even more moving forward.

Cera: Yeah,at first I was like, Wait, are we going to have enough topics to share? But then, life keeps happening.

Matthew Temple: Yeah, it turns out the human condition is something that people will talk about and write about for millennia.

Cera: Yeah, like last week, we shared about engagement and how happy we were. But a week later here we are, sharing about being overwhelmed.

Matthew Temple:" And how we support each other and hear each other and how we don't. Yeah, so if you are following along and doing The Lover’s Journal, or if you have any questions, thoughts, insight, comments, concerns, share below or always reach out We'll be really excited to hear from you.

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