Ask for What You Need, Don’t Assume Your Partner Knows

couple chatting in coffee shop
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Ask for What You Need, Don’t Assume Your Partner Knows

Isn't it great that life is just like a romantic comedy? I'm sure that, like most people, your relationship began via a mad dash through a crowded airport. And you probably constantly say heartfelt and not at all cheesy lines to each other like, “You complete me." I bet even your fights have a wonderful melody to them, each one spiced with a perfect blend of caring concern and humorous one-liners. Yeah, romantic comedies, they really nail it. Especially the part where you know each other so well that you don't even have to speak.

In case you weren't certain, literally everything I just said is complete B.S. No one could run through a crowded airport in this day in age. TSA would have you locked up faster than you could blink. And cheesy lines should never, ever be uttered, no matter what the circumstance. If someone does say them, that person should be teased mercilessly until they never say them again. And fights never sound like they do in the movies. In fact, most of what you want to say in a fight unspools in your head three hours after it happened. And as for that unspoken bond? Welcome to the fast track of never getting what you want.

It's a completely banal thing to say, but a healthy relationship is built on communication. And not silent, “We're so deeply connected that I already know what you're going to say" communication, but actual, intelligible words coming out of your mouth. You have to tell your partner what you want; otherwise they aren't going to know what it is, no matter how much you think you're profoundly connected. Love is not a psychic connection—it's simply an open and honest line of verbal communication.

But it's not just telling your partner what you want all the time. You're not royalty ordering around a servant. There has to be the give and take of conversation. That's the thing about love that a lot of people miss; it's much more of a verb than a noun. It's not an emotion, it's an action. And a lot of that action comes in the form of talking, and listening, to each other. You can't expect your partner to magically meet all of your needs without you actively communicating what they are. And you certainly won't be able to meet their needs unless they tell you what they are.

That's not to say that you won't eventually sink into a silent rhythm with each other, wordlessly intuiting the likes and dislikes of your partner. It's just that it takes a really long time. And a lot of verbal communication in order to get there. That sort of unspoken bond is not some hopelessly romantic silliness that happens because you're “soul mates," it happens because you've logged some serious years together, both good and bad. It happens because you've done the slow, arduous work of forging an unbreakable partnership. Hopefully one day you'll get there, but until you do, remember to always use your words.


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