Your Partner Can’t Read Your Mind

Tell your partner what you want—they can’t read your mind. It’s a common misconception that if your partner really loved you, they would just know that X is hurtful, that Y is what you really want, and that Z is why you are so mad at them. The reality is that even when we speak the same language, we all have very complex meanings that we ascribe to different words, actions, and sequences of behavior. We also have different temperaments, and need different things in a relationship. We often forget that the only way for someone to know something about us is for us to share it, sometimes multiple times. This doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t care.

Have you ever made plans with a friend? Chances are, you talked about the details of what you were going to do together. You probably set a date and a time, and arranged a location to meet. What if your friend told you that if you really cared about the friendship, you would just know when and where to meet? This would probably strike you as unreasonable unless you had already established a consistent routine of meeting up at a regular time and place.

Now, think about your partner. Have you given your partner clear, specific messages about what you want? Many people think that if they have to be this specific, it won’t feel sincere when their partner follows through. But consider that your partner’s effort to meet you where you are at is a good indication of their sincere desire to connect with you. And, the clearer you are about who you are and what you want, the better you will be able to discern if you are with a partner who is responsive to your needs.