Food for thought. The Call or Nor To Call Waltz

by : Amore

When something in your relationship is repetitive and your reaction to that repetition has not served to change it, then you need to change your reaction. It doesn’t take a psychic to see; if it hasn’t worked in the past, it certainly won’t work in the future


A) Mary and Joe have been in a relationship for a long time and care for each other deeply.

B) They have an eight o’clock date to go for a walk along the beach.

C) Mary is a person who will call to explain if she is going to be late, because she sees it as the courteous thing to do.

D) Joe is a person who would arrive late and then explain why. He reasons it would make him even later if he stops to call.

E) Over the years they have not been able to see eye to eye on this issue and neither is going to change their point of view.

F) It is 8:30 and Joe has not arrived yet.

Every time Joe is late Mary’s first reaction is to worry. Then when he finally does show up her worry turns to anger because Joe “knows" she worries when he doesn’t call. Her reaction does not succeed in compelling Joe to change his actions; it simply leads to yet another confrontation. They both know eventually the confrontation will end and they will get on with their relationship. After all, they do love each other. This is called “learned behavior"


Mary can’t make Joe change his actions; only he can do that. But she can change her reaction. If instead of waiting and worrying she were to change her reaction and leave at 8:15 to go on the walk without him or find something else to do - it would be much more productive.

1.) It would avoid another nonproductive confrontation

2.) It would break the repetitive cycle

3.) More importantly, Mary takes control of her own life.

Here is where Mary's reaction becomes productive..... The next day she and Joe meet for lunch. Instead of being angry with him for not calling, she simply greets him with affection as she normally would. Of course Joe tells her what detained him the night before, but instead of saying he should have called, again Mary changes her reaction. She tells him she is sorry what ever caused him to be late happened and how she would have enjoyed her walk more had he been with her. Then she changes the subject immediately.

Chances are the next time Joe is going to be late he will call. Not because he doesn’t want Mary to worry or be angry; not because he wants to avoid a confrontation, but because he has experienced her unemotional reaction to his not calling. She didn't worry, she didn't get angry, she simply carried on with her life. The learned behavior pattern has been broken. The past no long holds true. All that's left now is the future.

Remember Joe cares deeply for Mary and wants to spend time with her. He now knows if he wants Mary to be there when he is going to be late, it is very possible she won't be unless he puts his dialing finger to good use. The best part is Joe would be changing because he “wants to" not because Mary wishes he would.