7 Jul 2016

It’s Not a Test

It’s not a test! When you are in relationship with people, it is your responsibility to speak up about what you want and don’t want, like and don’t like. People can’t read your mind, and they shouldn’t have to, or be expected to. It is our job to let people know what our preferences are, even when we have been in a relationship with them for a really long time and have told them something before.  First of all, some people just aren’t very good at noticing that sort of thing about others. Second, even if they may have noticed, they may not be very good at remembering. We carry a whole lot of information around with us at all times, and we live in a stressful world – that information, even when it exists somewhere in the recesses of our minds, may not be readily available. Third, the only constant is change, and our preferences change right along with everything else.

There is an old movie with Barbara Streisand and Jeff Bridges, and towards the end of the movie, he orders her a salad, just the way she likes it – “dressing on the side, hold the this and that…” and she swoons. For her, this is the moment that proves his love. Well, it’s nice, but it certainly isn’t the test of whether someone cares enough to notice and therefore cares about you.

The other day, my husband said, “Everyone should have a convenient companion.” He was looking at me at the time, and for a moment, I was mildly offended. I thought he was talking about me. I experienced a tiny ping in my stomach and noticed I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of being someone’s convenient companion. So, I queried him, “hmmmm, convenient companion?” Turns out, he wasn’t talking about me, but a conversation we’d had earlier about preferences. He’d been talking about how great it would be to have a list of what your partner likes and doesn’t like, and he is right. (As long as you update the list now and again.) This is the approach to take. You are a team. You are in this together. Offer support. If it’s important to you, remind them. Write it down. And, don’t take offense if they don’t remember – that’s a reflection on them, not a reflection on their feelings about you. The goal is being supported in receiving what you want, not passing some sort of test.



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