It’s easy to practice the Pleasure Principle in the early days of a relationship.
Those early days are all about pleasure.
Giving pleasure. Sharing pleasure. Overdosing on gorgeous pleasure.
When uncomfortable things come up, you can just ignore or gloss over them. Easy!
Nothing can spoil this incredible connection.
Then it happens.
You get serious.
You get into a relationship.
Ordinary life intrudes.
The uncomfortable things have to be dealt with.
And all that pleasure starts to drain away.
Now life with him is about the daily routine, the stresses of work, organizing schedules, venting.
No more dates. No more entire days in bed. Just the usual. Dinner and television.
The little things bother you more.
The annoying things he does. The thoughtless ways he behaves. The rude things he says.
You bring up your concerns. You try to talk to him about it.
And he reacts badly every time.
What are you supposed to do?
Live with someone who won’t budge? Who can’t see the benefit of changing something small about himself to make his partner happier?
Maybe you can use the Pleasure Principle.
What Is the Pleasure Principle?
As I explain in my book, the Pleasure Principle has two parts:
First of all, pay attention to what generates pleasure in your body—that warmth, relaxation, and safety—and move towards that.
Second, notice when you’re being motivated by discomfort. When you’re trying to avoid a painful outcome, you drive up your stress.
Reframe your goal so that you’re moving towards what you want, rather than away from what you don’t want.
The Urgent Need to Stop What’s Hurting
When relationship problems arise, we immediately hone in on the discomfort.
We focus on the ways this problem is causing us pain. The pain seems unfair and unjust. He’s doing the wrong thing.
When we talk to him, we focus on the pain he’s causing and what he needs to do to relieve it.
What does he hear?
He hears you saying that he’s hurting you, and he reacts badly.
He feels that he’s being made into the bad guy. He gets defensive.
Can the Pleasure Principle help?
Celebrate What You Love
What if, instead of focusing on how bad you feel when he does the wrong things, you focused on how good you feel when he does the right things?
Describe to him how amazing it is when he does that thing you really like (which might be the opposite of what he’s doing now).
How does it help you? How does it make you feel? How does it affect how you feel about your relationship?
You might also share your vision of what your relationship looks like at its best. What kind of couple do you see yourselves being? A couple that can talk to each other freely about anything that comes up? A couple that respects and adores one another?
Now it’s no longer about this one thing he’s doing that bothering you…
It’s about how you can create more harmony and flow in your relationship. How you can be happier and live out the promise of those early days together.
What If It Doesn’t Work?
Sometimes, all these conversations do is plant a seed.
It doesn’t change his behavior immediately. He’s still doing that annoying thing.
But he knows how great you feel when he does something different. He knows how respected and appreciated you feel when he picks up his mess/helps you with the dishes/listens to you with his full attention.
Good men really do want to please their partners. But the force of habit can be hard to overcome.
Men are better motivated by pleasure than pain.
If they keep disappointing their partners over and over again, they’ll grow a hard shell over their hearts and stop caring.
But they love it when their partners are overjoyed at that thing they did. It makes them feel ten feet tall. It makes them feel like more of a man.
Make it easy for him to make you happy. Don’t keep telling him what not to do. Tell him what makes you feel great.
And let his own desire to please you motivate him.