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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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Healthy Relationships

April 2010

“If you really loved me, you would know what I was thinking.” Have you ever had your partner say that? Have you ever said that? Women tend to be guilty of this more than men. We really feel that if you loved me, you would pay attention to me so closely that you would know what I want, what I think, what I feel. Women, because we are socialized to tune into other’s wants and needs, often can make a semi-educated guess about what is going on with our partners. However, men are socialized to be problem solvers. Give them a problem, and they will strive towards resolving it. Both skills are important. Both skills add to the health of the relationship. Where there tends to be problems is when we assume that our partners have the same skill set as us, the same relationship goals and strengths. They don’t. That is makes relationships a struggle and a joy.

Your husband does not know what you are thinking. That is not a statement of how little he loves you. It is a statement of fact. However, if you tell him what kind of problem you are having, he will be happy to help you solve it! Your definition of love may include having a partner that can look at you and immediately determine what your needs are. If that is true, then you need to work on creating a new definition or you will be continuously disappointed.

What makes a relationship work is good, healthy communication. If there is something that you want your partner to know, tell him. Do not make him prove his love for you by guessing. He will guess wrong, disappoint you and make him feel like a failure. That is not healthy thing to do to your relationship.

So, to re-do the opening sentence of this column, if you really love your partner, tell him what you are thinking.

Enjoy the journey.

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