We often think that our partners should be mind readers. We hope that they will intuit what we need and then give us that thing in the way we would like to get it. That is rarely the case. In truth, you need to teach someone how to love you. I hear our patients say,” why couldn’t she just do this or why couldn’t he have thought to do that.” Intimacy and communication must be built over time. It takes work and a commitment to be open to the needs and desires of whomever you are with. Not only are every person’s needs and desires unique, but what you need or desire may change based on what you are going through and who you are with.
There is the old saying, “opposites attract.” Often they do. However once the original thrill of attraction wears off, frustrated partners may just wish the other person would do things the way they themselves do them. This is a natural tendency. We all come up with systems that work for us and we can’t imagine why they wouldn’t work for someone else. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. In a partnership you need to allow for different systems. I would suggest compassion for your partner’s way of doing things rather than trying to change them.
This can be true with sex too. I see patients who have difficulty with what their partners like sexually. And one’s sexuality can be a vulnerable area. Discussion and openness can be difficult. I always suggest taking these discussions slowly and begin with the positive things that someone does well. Criticism never feels good to anyone, and most of us want to be acknowledged for what we are doing well. This is certainly true in an intimate partnership. So take it slow, start with the positive and begin to share what you like and what you need.