Most couples accept turmoil as part of the package; why not eliminate it, instead? Michael Russer shows us how to end drama (assuming you actually want to).
—See the author’s TEDx Talk on Creating Extraordinary Intimacy in a Shut Down World—
We live in a society that is used to “big” things happening all the time. Whether they are events, life changes, or cultural shifts, there is this implication that for something to really mean something, it has to be big or dramatic. Yet drama is the very thing you want avoid when it comes to building long-term, fulfilling relationships. It consists of shifting sands on which no lasting relationship can ever be built.
Don’t Confuse Drama with Being Fully Alive
It is no wonder so many people (men and women) unconsciously crave drama in their lives. Our cultural context is loaded with it via entertainment, news, and social media. And the subtext is you are not really living fully unless you have those kinds of experiences all the time—which is total and utter bullshit. Unfortunately, it is bullshit that is so eagerly gobbled up by the masses.
And the reason for this is really quite simple. Drama is a powerful way to avoid being in the moment, where uncertainty lives. And most people tend to avoid uncertainty, even if it means the certainty of their misery. It is part of our ancient survival wiring that no longer serves us. Yet drama is a highly addictive drug whose siren call beckons us to that netherworld of blissful unconsciousness where we don’t have to take responsibility for how we show up. It is re-action vs. pro-action.
Undramatic Ways to Eliminate Drama
Eliminating drama from your relationship is simple, but not necessarily easy. And the foundation for it is learning to live in the moment.
Essentially, this means that as you go about your day doing things—interacting with people and your significant other—you’re being aware of being aware. One way to think of this is like watching a movie of your life as you live it. You, “The Watcher,” are simply observing and not getting sucked into reacting to circumstances. You are not judging whether things are “good” or “bad,” just simply observing. This will quiet your mind (which is a drama-making machine) and create a space of presence that others will notice immediately. Even the most dramatic of people will be attracted to your quiet port in the storm of life you can create for yourself this way.
Then there are the little acts of selfless giving, especially with your Partner. Being selfless means having *no* agenda other than to serve the other without any thought of what you might gain from it. Now, you need to be careful with this one because it is easy to act selflessly for very selfish reasons. High-functioning sociopaths and narcissists are quite adept at doing this and it never ends well for the people they are “serving,” ultimately, for themselves.
Here are some easy and simple things you can start doing right now with your partner that will go a long way to eliminate the mountains and valleys of drama within your relationship:
- Open doors for her no matter how corny or quaint it seems—most women appreciate it more than you know, even if they don’t say so.
- Tell him how much you appreciate what he does for you—men respond to this like you wouldn’t believe.
- Surprise her with a little gift—it’s not the size or cost that matters, it’s the thought behind it that makes all the difference.
- Give him a back-rub when he needs it most—men really do love being touched in a nurturing way, especially if they didn’t expect it.
- When you make love, focus on giving rather than receiving—this alone will take your intimacy to levels you may not have imagined possible and your DQ (Drama Quotient) to zero.
Practice Makes Perfect Non-Drama
Experiencing drama in one’s life is easy and (occasionally) even fun. It can happen with no practice or effort whatsoever, which is one of the reasons it is so prevalent. Avoiding it takes discipline and an acute sense of awareness of the here and now. And it takes a dedication to practice living in the moment as the observer and doing things selflessly.
When you look at it this way, it’s like choosing between a Disneyland vacation and taking a lone, contemplative walk on the beach. One is definitely more exciting, but the other will serve you and your relationship for a lifetime.
This article was originally published with the Good Men Project; republished with the author’s full (and kindest) permission.