How to Be a Supportive SO?

Discussion in 'Spouses and Partners' started by vetstudentgirlfriend, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. vetstudentgirlfriend

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    I'm new to this site, but my SO is a pre-veterinary student. He is currently waiting to hear back from his vet school of choice and the stress/strain it is putting on our relationship is crazy sometimes. We have the same major (animal sci) and I have a science/animal background because of it, so I understand the stress of the entire situation. But when he gets frustrated, it seems like there's nothing I can do to help. If I'm positive and try to offer solutions to the problems he's imaging, like suggesting schools he could apply to next year should he not get in this year, he gets angry and lashes out. But I also don't want to be negative and tell him he has no chance or something, and feed into his negativity about himself. I have stuck to avoiding the issue altogether, but he brings it up more and more as we get closer and closer to him getting word about admissions. I want so badly to help, but I'm not sure the right way to go about it? Anyone else have issues with this and their SO's and have any tips?
     
  2. StayingPositive2017

    StayingPositive2017 Michigan State CVM c/o 2022

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    That sounds difficult! I know that it has been and continues to be tough for my wife through this whole crazy experience. I love that you are staying positive, and I think that's great. Perhaps it is the part where you offer solutions that makes him lash out. As a supportive partner I understand the desire to help but often I find that these are not always welcome. I usually try to ask "Are you looking for ideas or just support right now?" and this can help me understand how my support can be best expressed. We both know you are coming from a kind and loving place, but often the need is just an ear to listen and gentle encouragement until our partners ask us for more. This is definitely a stressful situation and unfortunately it doesn't get less stressful once you get in and are working hard towards your dream. Continue to stay positive and perhaps remember that you don't need to help in any specific way. I wish you both the best!
     
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  3. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50, Unlynchable Wolf
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    *chuckle*

    Basically agree with what paws said above - sometimes all people want/need is to vent, and not necessarily solutions. There is not much you can do, or he can do, right now, because it's a waiting game. So my suggestion would be to listen when he needs it, try to cut back on attempts to fix it, and see if you can distract him otherwise. Fun things to keep his mind off it as much as possible.
     
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  4. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

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    SP's idea of asking "Do you need ideas or support right now?" is great, because it puts the onus on them to figure out what they need so you aren't left in a state of confusion and anxiety.

    However, I just have to say it....getting angry and "lashing out" at your SO because of your own stress is not a mature way to handle things. If he is accepted, his stress level is only going to increase and I don't see this boding well unless he learns to not take it out on others and control his own negativity. Addressing proper coping mechanisms for stress should be something y'all discuss in addition to the entire acceptance issue.
     
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  5. StayingPositive2017

    StayingPositive2017 Michigan State CVM c/o 2022

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    That's like, my thing, dude ;)
     
  6. StayingPositive2017

    StayingPositive2017 Michigan State CVM c/o 2022

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    Agreed. The stress as a couple gets worse once in so best to work on these things now if possible
     
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  7. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50, Unlynchable Wolf
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    Seconded. Thirded?
     
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