You’re getting ready to go to an event and your partner is taking their time thinking it starts at 7 pm. Only to hear you shouting from the room to see if they’re ready because the event actually starts at 6 pm.
They ask, “6?! I thought you said 7?! This always happens!”
You start getting frustrated. You begin rushing your partner because now you’re going to be late…as usual. Then, you both start arguing about how they didn’t know it started at 6 pm and thought it was at 7 pm. This wasn’t even an event that they wanted to go to and the argument continues.
We’ve all been through it before, one way or another.
You both show up irritated but put on that fake smile while acting like you’re happy to be there.
Looking back it’s pretty dumb and funny, right?
How did one small detail get miscommunicated and confuse the crap out of both of you? How did it lead you both to point fingers at one another? Blaming each other about an event that both of you were probably dreading going to anyways.
This is just one of the many miscommunications you go through with a partner. They’re inevitable but you can take some quick steps to remind yourself before an argument happens or communicating with them.
These are three of the many ways you miscommunicate with your partner without even realizing it. And no, you don’t need to be a genius to help you solve it, just these three small reminders.
Your partner is not a mind reader and neither are you.
First things first. Your partner is not a mind reader, so don’t get upset when they don’t do something that you “wish” they would have done or they “should” have done.
Your “wishes” and “shoulds” were all in your head because it’s something you would have done in that situation. Not necessarily your partner.
You get angry and frustrated with them, but they don’t know what they did wrong.
Now you’re sad because they made you feel a certain way, so you bottle it up. (Keep reading, I’ll get to expectations next.)
Yes, it’s frustrating because you love them and you think they should know you by now. That’s what love does to ya sometimes.
But that doesn’t matter because they still can’t get into your beautiful brain and truly understand what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling.
Take a breather and pause in that moment. Remind yourself your partner is not a mind reader and neither are you.
Take a few minutes or when you feel like your thoughts are finally together.
Then, have a calm chat with them. Have you told them how you’re feeling? Have you told your partner how they made you feel when they did or didn’t do x, y, or z? Most of the time they don’t even realize how they made you feel.
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When you finally have that calm conversation with them, it can be so relieving. Like that weight has been lifted and your chest doesn’t feel so heavy anymore.
They may open up and let you know what they understood from what you were saying and even acknowledge where they misunderstood you.
You’re not changing them, but you’re communicating how you both can do better next time in voicing your thoughts to one another.
You’re setting unknown expectations.
This goes along with the fact that your partner is not a mind reader. They don’t know the expectations you may have set for them.
Maybe you expect them to be more romantic when you’ve known from the beginning that’s not really who they are. Maybe you expect them to be a more adventurous and spur-of-the-moment person when they would rather be at home and prefer planned trips. It could also be that you expect them to clean up the bathroom every two weeks.
Here’s a big one… you expect them to just voice everything to you like how they’re feeling, why they’re upset, why they have that look on their face, etc.
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I know that one all too well because that’s what I expected my partner to do when it wasn’t something he was used to doing. We both worked through it together and it didn’t happen overnight.
I voiced why I expected it and wanted him to express himself to me a little more, and he explained to me why it was difficult for him. So we both had an understanding that like me going to him he can also come to me, it’s a safe space between us because we’re partners and we tackle challenges together. We help each other grow and solve problems together.
The thing is the majority of you know your partner the best, that’s why you’re together and you love each other for who you are. Kind of why you got together in the first place, right?
Expectations do happen because you know your worth and how you want to be treated, but are they reasonable expectations from your partner? You don’t have to lower your expectations, but you can talk to one another. Again, your partner isn’t a mind reader and neither are you.
Take a moment with each other, a nice dinner, a nice date somewhere, or even on the couch in your pajamas.
Make the expectations clear with one another on what you both would like to see more of. It’s a mix of your love languages, which I’ll get to in a bit.
Find that middle ground through your conversations.
Perhaps it’s a random date every month where they plan a dinner or a movie. Maybe you plan a trip that you both have been wanting to do and it’s a few weeks away (gives them some time to prepare themselves) or you ask if they are up for unplanned trips 1x, 2x, or x times a month or year.
There are many ways to make those unknown expectations known to one another. It just takes a bit of sitting down with one another and discussing these expectations.
You haven’t told them how you want to be loved.
The question is, how do you want to be loved, and how does your partner want to be loved?
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According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, there are five different love languages that he has identified over his many years of being a marriage counselor.
The five love languages are:
- Acts of Service — where your partner takes action on something which means more to you. (Examples: doing the dishes, vacuuming, cleaning, helping you with things, etc.)
- Quality Time — where your partner gives you their full attention and spends time with you.
- Words of Affirmation — where your partner tells you why they love you or tells you the amazing things they feel about you, etc. They compliment you.
- Physical Touch — where you like being hugged, kissed, touched, etc. by your partner in consensual and appropriate ways of course.
- Receiving Gifts — where receiving gifts makes you feel loved by your partner.
Which one resonates with you more? We all have a little bit of each but there is a more dominant one out of the five.
Knowing a little more about yourself and how you want to be loved can help you better communicate with your partner.
It could be that you both aren’t fully aware of how the other person wants to be loved or you may know it but it wasn’t clear. You may only know how to love them the way you think you “should”.
Taking a moment to think about it and talking to one another about how you want to be loved shows that you both love one another, you’re paying attention, and you respect one another.
For instance, my dominant one is words of affirmation and my partner’s is receiving gifts. So now and then when I see something that makes me think of him or I see something I know he’ll love, I’ll get it for him. Then, I’ll tell him, “Guess what?! I got you something!” Sometimes I get a little too excited haha. It could be the smallest thing like his favorite candy. Not only does it make him feel loved, but it makes me feel good too. Seeing how it lights him up like a kid opening a gift on their birthday.
You both can understand each other a little more when you know your love languages.
If you want to know your love language and your partner’s, you can both take this love language quiz. Now you have a date activity to do together. Have fun!
Communication in relationships can be hard sometimes, coming from years of experience, trial and error, and watching/observing relationships. Sometimes we make it harder than it is. Then, we just get upset and storm off.
Take a moment and reflect.
Have you or your partner miscommunicated in these three ways?
- Your partner is not a mind reader and neither are you
- You’re setting unknown expectations
- You haven’t told them how you want to be loved
We all miscommunicate now and again, but it’s nice to reflect and see where we can improve for one another. It’s a reminder that it takes practice and we’re not perfect. It takes work and I know you’ve got this!
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash