Tell The Truth and Ease Misunderstanding: Clearing Withholds Exercise for Couples
If you’re currently in a relationship where speaking your truth is not the standard, but the exception, here’s a baby-step technique that will begin to break down the walls to intimacy that get built up brick by brick, every time your feelings stay unspoken.
There’s a freedom, an acceptance, an intimacy that comes from sharing your truth with your lover, what ever it may be.
Honesty makes relationships more juicy. It binds the “real yous” together as a couple. It feels more natural and more nurturing to admit your foibles, your real desires, your humanity.
This technique is called, “Clearing Withholds.”
Mary: Randy, I have a withhold. Are you willing to hear it?
Mary: When we made love the other night and you couldn’t maintain your erection, I felt a little cheated by the experience and wished you’d taken Viagra. Then I felt guilty for expecting you to be hard every time we make love. Then I thought about how little private time we actually have together and wished you’d honor that time a little more by taking Viagra when we have a date.
Randy: Thank you.
Start with this process because the structure has been refined over the years by many personal growth workshop leaders. The format below will help you and your partner feel safe sharing and hearing your internal feelings.
- Withholds can be positive (appreciations), neutral (information) or negative (hurt or upset feelings).
- Withholds are simple statements that include your observations and feelings about a specific situation, moment or incident.
- Withholds include anything you haven’t shared with your partner (or anyone) that you would like to.
If you are holding back an unspoken feeling, withholds help you clear it up, especially if you do it with the intention of feeling closer by sharing what happened.
Sharer: I have a withhold. Are you willing to hear it?
Sharer: (Share your withhold like this.)
“When I perceived ____________________,
“I appreciate _______________________.”
Receiver: Thank You.
Note: If the Receiver is not prepared, for what ever reason, to hear the withhold and says, “No.” Then the Sharer says, “When would you be willing to hear it?”
The best part about the withhold structure is that after your receiver says, “Thank You,” you are both done. It’s “against the rules,” to talk further about this or respond in the moment.
If your partner later wants to discuss your withhold more deeply, you’ve had space to both ponder the points before reacting in the moment.
Because you are offering this level of vulnerability, the response to your withholds can be very positive.
Quoting from Dr. Patti’s Seduction Trilogy program
“Withholds do something quite amazing. When you can connect what you’re thinking to what you’re feeling, you have aligned your body and mind. You are no longer at war internally, and you will emit more powerful vibrations.
This is a physiological fact.
When your heart is aligned with your body and mind, you are at your most powerful. So even if you simply do one positive withhold with your partner, you’ll be aligning them to their own body, heart and mind too. This is what charisma is all about, and she will find you fascinating, even after giving her a few simple withholds.” — Dr. Patti Taylor
The most important part of the withhold process reveals itself as you do it with with each other. You’ll find out not only why you were afraid to speak up in the moment, but what you are afraid might happen if you do. Often, what you are afraid of is just your “reactive mind” (as Brad calls it in Radical Honesty) creating negative scenarios that are simply stories, not reality.
As you get better at noticing when you feel triggered and begin to speak your mind by using the withhold clearing process, you’ll begin to understand the outcomes you truly desire. You’ll discover what you’d like to have happen, instead of what you perceived happened. Then you can ask your partner to support your desired outcomes and ways of relating, which in turn, accelerates your intimacy and feelings of security and love for each other.
Using the withhold process to express appreciations as often as you express frustrations makes this a positive and exciting experience for you both.