There is this fantasy that many of us have, that we will meet a lover who simply knows what to do and when, as if we are merely two halves of the same brain in separate bodies.
Wordless communication, intuition, consideration… all are rolled up into this package and combine to make the waking dream many of us share.
It’s not a bad dream to have.
After all, by giving ourselves something to really strive for, we are more likely to get closer to what we need than if we had not set standards to begin with. Perfection is an impossible dream, but reality can come close.
Yes, a good fantasy.
It’s when we forget it is a fantasy that we run into trouble. There are those rare couples who have been together for years who seem to have total accord…and in the beginning, we are so wrapped up in each other, that we are smothering in our attentions and affections. As this naturally decreases, sometimes we lose not only the non-essentials (which can disappear without any problems arising), but also sometimes the essentials.
This is not so much a problem. The problem comes in how we often handle this situation.
In the past, I have been tossed down into a maelstrom of thoughts…
“He isn’t reaching for my hand when we walk. Doesn’t he want to hold my hand? Maybe he is withdrawing from me. Gosh, I wish he would tell me what he is thinking. If there is something wrong, I want to know. If there isn’t something wrong, why isn’t he holding my hand…?”
I ashamedly admit I’ve done it… and it is the wrong way to handle the situation. Let’s look at this from other points-of-view, from my partner’s perspective… in three different scenarios:
“Last time i held her hand, she pulled away abruptly and never put her hand back. Perhaps she doesn’t like holding hands as much as I do.” (I had to scratch an itch.)
“Damn, I really sliced my palm today on that box. It’s killing me.”
“Wow, what a rough day! I wonder what’s for dinner?”
As you can see, there are many possibilities and reasons for not holding hands that have nothing to do with a lack of affection or desire, including total distraction.
So, what to do about it?
Well, I have realized that the best way for anyone to know what I am thinking is… to tell him/her!
I KNOW! Controversial approach, eh?
So, when I want/need something, I am often happy to ask for it. Sometimes I am shy, but I usually get it out, and more often than not, I get what I ask for. And when I don’t, I am no worse off than before I asked.
AND, I know some of your minds are going to:
“But what if they say they don’t want to hold my hand, now or ever again?”
Well, then you now know, and choose what to do moving forward.
However, this is actually pretty rare. And will only happen when a relationship is on it’s way out, anyway.
There is an entire culture war between the “ask” folk (like me), and the “guess” folk (who try to intuit from other signals, and almost never ask directly).
I don’t think there needs to be that war. There are times for both. And reasons for both types of behaviors.
However, when it comes to getting what you need and want in a relationship, I think it’s a good thing to hone your “ask” skills, to advocate for yourself, and to save the “guess” and intuition for other things.
What are your thoughts?
Do you ask for what you want or need? Do you just hope that they will pick up on your signals and give it?
And from the other side, have you ever been blindsided by someone guessing wrong, when a simple ask would have made things so much easier?