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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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There is a myth out there, encouraged by Hollywood and romance novels, that if my partner really loved me he or she would know exactly what I want and need to be happy. And of course, the reverse to that is, since I love my partner, I know what he or she wants or needs. We know all of this without asking. Simply by loving, we can somehow acquire this knowledge.

I have bad news for you. It doesn’t work that way. A classic thing that couples do is love the way we want to be loved, rather than how our partner wants to be loved. Just because we are partners, we do not want the same things. Or like the same things. If I love foot massages, I happily attempt to give my partner one every night, because I love him and since I love foot massages, obviously he does as well. Unfortunately, my partner has very ticklish feet and foot massages are a form of torture to him. When he runs from my loving attempt, I feel rejected and unloved and unappreciated.

A more effective strategy would be to ask my partner what I could do that makes him feel loved, listen carefully and then do that. It is also important for me to very clearly and directly, not with hints, tell my partner what makes me feel loved. When we are very clear with our wants and desires, our chances of getting our needs met goes up dramatically.

So, throw out any relationship advice you get from romance novels. Instead, sit down, without your phone or the TV and discuss what you are wanting and needing from your partner. Communicate your needs as well. Then act on that! (You might get a lot more satisfaction!)

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