Ricky became crystal-clear about the need to have a crucial confrontation with Elena when he realized how he and Elena were acting out rather than talking out their problems. His concerns were showing up in a subtle cooling toward Elena. Sensing his withdrawal, she punished him by withdrawing into work. As Ricky considered the clear effect of the absence of conversation on their relationship, he was suddenly certain that he needed to say something. Silence wasn t helping.
As Ricky thinks about it, he determines that what he really wants is a loving, warm, and enduring relationship with Elena. He doesn t want to accuse her and drive a bigger wedge into a struggling relationship. What he should do is discuss what is absolutely true: He is worried about their relationship, both about her loyalty and about his paranoia . This is the topic he chooses to take on. Asking what he really wants helps him clarify the issue and avoid spiraling into defensive emotions.