To follow on from my previous blog “Communication vs Confrontation”, I wanted to write about the “Pinch Crunch Test”. This comes into play at the start of a relationship, and it can lay the foundations for communication throughout your relationship.
When two people meet for the first time, it’s wonderful! A physical attraction builds as chemical reactions happen in the brain. This attraction grows when you communicate with each other, you realise you have things in common and a connection starts to form. The world is wonderful, the rose-tinted glasses are on and this person could do no wrong in your eyes…
Communication builds in the relationship, you both start to share information about your life, you express your fears, your hopes, your dreams, and commitment starts to form. With commitment comes stability…the honeymoon period is great!
However, the honeymoon period starts to fade, stability does not last long, and the rose-tinted glasses begin to clear. Suddenly, everything they do starts to “pinch” a little… the Pinch Crunch Test has begun.
It is at this stage that you decide how the foundations of communication in your relationship will be laid.
When I talk about a pinch at this stage it can be the smallest of things, like they keep leaving the toilet seat up. I know seems trivial, however, these are the little things that come up at the start of a relationship and they lay the foundation for the way you will deal with the big things in the relationship further down the line. So the seemingly trivial issue continues, leaving the toilet seat up l, the bin not being taken out, it is constant. Every time it happens, you get more and more frustrated.
At this point you have a choice. You can either communicate with your partner how this makes you FEEL. As I said in my last blog Communication vs Confrontation, communicating how you feel from an “I” point of view can stop your partner feeling criticized. It could go something like this; “I feel frustrated when you leave the toilet seat up…”
Or, you can say nothing.
So, let us look at both concepts.
If you communicate with your partner about the pinch, you are acknowledging to yourself your emotions are important enough to say this and you are saying to your partner I really want you to know how I feel so we can recognise what is happening and confront it together. It also gives your partner the opportunity to acknowledge how they feel.
Second concept…you say nothing. You tell yourself it is too trivial to mention. You try mind read instead, you tell yourself they will think I am mad talking about the toilet seat! Ok, say nothing… a week later the toilet seat is up again. Frustration, irritation, starts to build; ‘How could he not know I want the toilet seat down?’, ‘How can he not read my mind?!’. You continue to say nothing. The following week: ‘he did not put the bin out when I asked him, so now he does not put the bin out or the toilet seat down!’ Pinches are starting to build and so is anger.
One day you snap and react to your partner giving out about the toilet seat, the bin, the washing up, etc. All the pinches start to be communicated and your partner has no idea what they have done and why you are talking about the toilet seat. This is a crunch. All is not lost. You can communicate now how you have been feeling about all the pinches and negotiate where to go from here.
Talk about the pinches at the start when they first happen. You can practice negotiations and problem solving on the little things, so you have a foundation laid for how to problem solve on the bigger things later in your relationship.
The article is written by Emma, newly qualified and pre-accredited Counsellor at The DMC Clinic. If you would like to discuss how any of the topics mentioned above are impacting your mental health please contact The DMC Clinic to arrange an appointment.