Using His Emotional Triggers to Build a Better Relationship

Your relationship and his emotional triggers

Have you ever wondered why some men continue to treat their woman like a princess even after they’ve been together for years?

They still remember all those special occasion, and even seem to pay full attention to her when the two of them are together.

Some behavioral scientists believe that it is possible for most women to encourage their man’s behavior to move in that direction. How about your relationship, could it use a little encouragement in this area?

More love and respect in your relationship

The secret to unlocking this same degree of love and affection from your man is probably something you’ve never considered before. It has its basis in behavioral science and once you understand how it works you can literally reprogram the way your man responds to you changing the whole dynamic of your relationship.

We all run a variety of programmed response patterns that automatically trigger certain reactions to familiar situations. These response patterns shortcut the thinking process and create a direct link from trigger to behavior. That’s why we don’t have to think about things like using the key to start the car or answering the phone when we hear that ringing sound.

When emotional triggers backfire

In any relationship it is pretty easy to develop unhealthy responses to our partner. This is especially true if one of us is constantly pushing our partner’s wrong buttons without even realizing it. If we are the one pushing those buttons then we will also be the target of those unwanted behaviors.

Because we all have our own little quirks and idiosyncrasies, there are bound to be things that we do that rub our partner the wrong way. The effect is amplified if our irritating trigger comes at a time when they are tired or stressed out. This can easily give birth to a variety of relationship damaging response pattern.

How this scenario plays out in your relationship

Can you think of something that you sometimes do or say that really gets under your man’s skin? It could be almost anything, but whatever it is, his reaction is usually fairly predictable and yet surprising at the same time. It might go something like this:

Immediately, his whole demeanor changes in a negative way. He might look irritated and snap at you, or he might just stop talking and leave the room. Meanwhile, you figure he is just moody, irritable, or stressed out, because he seems to be overreacting for no reason.  So, the question is…

What really happened?

As strange as this might sound, his brain was hijacked when your words or actions triggered an unhealthy response pattern. Something about your behavior flipped his switch and on a subconscious level he felt threatened. This is the same response that can quickly turn a minor disagreement into an all-out war.

There is a part of our brain called the amygdala that is directly involved in feelings and responses related to anxiety and fear. The amygdala processes incoming information and automatically searches your memory bank to determine if it recognizes the information as friend or foe.

It all happens on autopilot

All of this happens instantly, and if the brain has a negative memory of that word or action, it goes into an automatic fight or flight response over which we have very little control. It’s called neural hijacking and it literally stops love, warmth, and intimacy from being able to enter the relationship.

Once this happens, it is game over and he won’t listen to anything you say. This is when arguing and finger pointing replace reasonable conversation as both partners defend their position by blaming the other. Not a pretty picture!

3 Steps to more love and a deeper emotional connection

Since both partners have these emotional triggers, eliminating them can set the stage for a more loving and connected relationship. But before they can be eliminated, they need to be identified and then dealt with in an effective way. Here’s a simple 3 step process to accomplish that and improve the quality of your relationship.

1. Identify the specific behavior from your perspective. Think of a few specific actions that you know set him off.  Is it the tone of your voice or perhaps it’s a certain phrase you use when discussing a sensitive topic? Try to find the connection between your actions or words, and his negative response.  Take your best shot and write a list of things you think it might be.

2. Now from his perspective. Ask him to help you figure out what you do that sets him off. He may be hesitant to tell you, so assure him that you really want to know so you can do better. Then let him talk and resist the urge to get defensive.  It’s possible that he’s not even aware of a specific link between what you’re doing and his response. If that’s the case, then just go with your list.

3. Start avoiding those words or actions. Simply eliminate them from your life so you no longer trigger that unhealthy response pattern and see what happens. When you take away the trigger, the gun won’t fire. This may involve a little trial and error, but you can rely on his response to guide your efforts.

Create a relationship turning point

A relationship is a two way street and I am well aware that this method puts the initial burden on you, but it has to start somewhere. Once those old destructive patterns have been broken and he has learned to treat you with more love and respect, it will be a lot easier to help him see the value of avoiding certain behaviors that get under your skin.

It’s a shame that nobody really talks about this technique because it’s extremely powerful and works in almost any situation. I learned it from Randy Bennett, a licensed relationship expert who has been using it for 25 years to help women regain the love and respect they deserve.

If you want to learn more about how hitting the wrong relationship triggers can cause a good relationship to go bad, Randy has put together a very informative video called How to Become Irresistible Again. His presentation explains in detail exactly how you can eliminate these triggers from your relationship while developing a deep emotional connection with your man.

Do you wish he would show you more love and respect?
Have you been unintentionally pushing the wrong buttons?
Could your relationship benefit from applying this strategy?
The lines are open!

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  1. Sandra August 13, 2012 Reply

    Jonathan, This article really gives us the specific skills that we need to improve our relationships. Understanding the specific behaviors that set my partner off has gone light years in boosting our relationship. It also gives your partner the opportunity to explore what is triggering about those behaviors, which can really help to heal very deep wounds. Thanks for this well articulated method.

    • Jonathan August 13, 2012 Reply

      Hi Sandra, very few people realize the power that emotional triggers have over behavior. That puts you way ahead of the curve. Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the unintentional activation of these negative triggers. Exploring this subject with our partner gives us the ability to consistently move away from damaging behavior while we move steadily toward a deeper and more meaningful connection.

  2. Glynis August 16, 2012 Reply

    So often people get into a habit of using the same words with the same level of emotion attached to those words. When you open your mind to find different words and keep that show consideration for other people’s feelings, both the words and the emotions that are attached to them will be better received.

    It’s a matter of using common sense and your own intelligence.

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