Do you believe in the crystal ball school of communication?
If you believe, “if you really loved me, you’d know” then I’m not surprised if you’re disappointed more often than not if you don’t get what you need or want.
Worse, you’re setting up your partner when they don’t meet that unspoken expectation and then you both end up frustrated and feeling unloved when they are at the receiving end of your disappointment.
I get it.
Having to spell things out is uncomfortable but, whether you like it or not, you don’t have a choice, at least if you want to have a happy and fulfilling relationship.
That lack of clarity may lead you to being taken for granted because they’ve given up trying to understand you and that’s when kindness can fly out of the window.
It’s unlikely they do it on purpose.
Here’s a story.
A man goes to the dentist and complains, “Doctor, I have a terrible toothache!”
The dentist replies, “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m going to extract the tooth. Tell me, which one is it?”
The patient replies, “You’re the dentist, you should know.”
So the dentist extracts a tooth, then asks, “Was it this one?”
The patient says, “No, it wasn’t.”
So the dentist extracts another tooth then asks the patient, “Was it that one?”
By now the patient is really suffering but he still replies, “No, it wasn’t. You’re the dentist, you should know!”
Do I need to go on?
I’m not talking about the trivial things you need to spell out but things that are important to you.
There is a way which is both less direct as well less scary.
You could talk about why a previous relationship broke down, not because they were a jerk or a bitch but because they said or did things that hurt you.
Here’s a possible scenario.
“My partner used to promise never to cheat on me but then I found out he did. Faithfulness really matters to me.” Or
“My partner would spend our time together on his mobile checking messages and I felt like I was invisible. I need to know I matter to my partner and that they really want to be with me.” Or
“My partner used to criticise me in public. I told him repeatedly how much it hurt and embarrassed me but he just kept doing it. If we could have discussed it in private and listened to one another, I’d have been OK. Being treated with consideration matters hugely to me”
In return, you need to ask them why their own relationship broke down.
Don’t let them get away with generalities like, “We just grew apart.” What does THAT mean?
It’s harder if you’re already deep into your relationship but it’s not too late!
If you’re not sure how to start, then let’s have a free chat. Click here and let’s talk.
You never know where a conversation may take you.