Your Partner Is Not A Mind Reader
Many times I have had couples come to counseling because they are having misunderstandings or unhealthy communication styles. So many times I hear “we have communication problems.” And they are right. Couples usually enter into a cycle of communication in which they tend to get stuck. It’s imperative to remember that your partner is not a mind reader. Yes, communication is key to a strong and healthy relationship. However, sometimes we forget about an aspect of communication that is very important to talk about. Our expectations.
Expectations are so alive and yet unsaid. They are in our thoughts and actions but yet not in our words. So when a partner has an expectation that is unsaid, this is an assumption. And assumptions can harm a relationship. One partner assumes that his or her partner knows exactly what she means when he or she asks for something. For example, the wife asks the husband to put the leftover food in the fridge. The husband then complies. Hours later, the wife realizes that the husband put the whole pot in the fridge, and so now the fridge has containers about to spill over. What the wife assumed was that the husband knew she meant to put the leftovers in a tupperware container. The assumption failed, so the expectation failed. Then, this turns into an argument, that sometimes escalates into yelling. This happens constantly in many relationships. There are so many examples like this one such as; wives expecting things in the house to be done a certain way, husbands expecting that their wives know how they are feeling, and so on. Assumptions, or unsaid expectations, are harmful to the relationship.
Hope is not lost however. There is a way to repair any damages done because of assumptions. The answer is to state your expectations. Yes it is that simple. Is it hard? Yes. Will it take some time? Most likely. Like any change, it takes some time to adjust, but it is possible. Here are some tips on how to state your expectations:
- Don’t assume your partner knows your thoughts and feelings
- Use statements like “I would like” or “I like to…”
- Get off your high horse and explain things to your partner
- Don’t get mad or upset with your partner if they don’t meet your expectations when you have not told them what they are
- Say please and thank you
- Work with your partner to establish healthy boundaries
- Remember that your partner is not a mind reader!
Don’t let your expectations go unsaid. It would be lovely if partners knew exactly what the other wanted, was thinking, was feeling, but this is not the case. Your partner is not a mind reader. We have to be realistic and say to our partners what we expect.