Imagine how useful it would be if you could experience yourself as your partner experiences you. You would then know what it was like to be on the receiving end of your own behavior, both the positive and the definitely not positive.
Assuming you loved your partner and cared about your partner’s well being, you could then modify some of your behavior—cutting back on the negative and adding to the positive—so that your partner enjoyed living with you more and, incidentally, was more inclined to act similarly toward you. Imagine how much possessing that skill could benefit your relationship!
Unfortunately, you will never experience yourself from the outside and, therefore, never really know what it is like to share a life with you.
However, you can come close. How? One way is to observe your partner closely. If your partner’s manner softens in response to something you have just done, if your partner seems, figuratively speaking, to move closer to you, then you know that the impact of your behavior has been positive. On the other hand, if you do something and your partner draws away from you, say, or speaks harshly toward you, you know that your impact has been negative.
You then may or may not choose to change—that’s up to you—but at least increasing your awareness of your partner’s reaction has given you new information.
You can also go the “would I like that done to me?” route. To use this strategy, you need to sharpen your ability to step outside yourself. This approach may help: Imagine that there is a second you. (You could call this second you “Me2.”) Imagine that Me2 exists outside of you and experiences everything you do to your partner.
Whenever you want to check what it might be like to be on the receiving end of you, jump in your imagination to Me2. From that perspective, ask yourself, ‘What if that were done to me; would I like it?” Chances are that if you wouldn’t like it, your partner probably won’t either.