My partner and I have been together for 2 years. When I am speaking to her or others, I will, sometimes, make reference to something being “Mine” when in fact it is “ours”. For example, I will say, “I can’t wait to get home and get in MY comfy bed.” or I will be talking to someone, while my partner is present, and say, “I don’t mind taking a vacation as long as I can get MY bills paid first.” It upsets my partner, greatly, that I don’t say “Our” bed or “Our” bills. I don’t realize I have spoken in “Single” tense until she gets upset about it. I feel as if I have to try and monitor everything I say. I don’t know how to correct myself in the moment. I am failing and it creates arguments. Is this normal? Is there something I can do to prevent it from happening? Is this my issue or hers? I have tried to find information on this topic but have been unsuccessful. I am fully aware of the “We” aspect of our relationship and truly feel what’s mine is hers, but I have trouble catching my speech blunders, and I don’t want her to feel bad. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
The upset around a pronoun is a way your partner is expressing her worries about you as a couple. I don’t have enough information to know who owns this problem. It could be either of you or both. Are there other things you do that make her feel that you keep yourself separate from her? Has she been so hurt in other relationships that this is a “hot button” for her? Yes, you do need to work on being more inclusive in your language but I don’t think that’s the key issue. You’ve only been together a couple of years so you’re still defining your couple-ness. You and your partner may not be quite in sync about what you each expect at this point. The argument about pronouns is showing you that you have some couple work to do.
I suggest you find a quiet time to talk as honestly as you can about how committed you are to each other and how to help each other feel secure in that commitment. Once that work is done, using “I” vs. “we” will be an annoying habit to work on but it won’t be grounds for questioning your whole relationship.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Speaking in terms of “WE”
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Speaking in terms of “WE”. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/04/12/speaking-in-terms-of-we/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.