I have long heard people say something to the effect of, "just talk to me, I can't read your mind". They generally say this out of frustration to their partner who is similarly frustrated with them for being out of touch. Are they? Or, is it true that we cannot read our partners mind and thus they have no right to be frustrated with us?
This is one of those questions that has a 'yes' followed by a 'but'.
Fact: We cannot read our partners mind.
Fact: If our partner is expecting us to read their mind, their expectations are unrealistic.
Fact: Despite the two aforementioned facts, there is an important phenomena in successful relationships called awareness.
John and Janine are at the store and she has picked up the same sweater three times because she really likes it. If you look closer, she's looked at the price tag before shaking her head and putting it back on the rack. Three weeks later, it's her birthday and as she begins unwrapping a gift from John, he says "if you don't like it, I kept the receipt. I just didn't know what to get you." Janine is frustrated. John, at that moment in time in the store, was not very aware.
Mark has been acting out of the ordinary for three weeks now. He is less talkative and a lot less active than normal. What's more, he has been spending a noticeable amount of time looking at job sites. But noticeable to who? Erin gets home work later than Mark and she goes right from the door to her home office to respond to e-mails before taking her nightly soak in the tub. One night, Mark is triggered by something Erin says and they fight. Erin wants to know what has changed all of a sudden. Mark is asking himself, "where have you been?"
Awareness is key. We do not want our partners to read our mind, we want them to read our heart. To wake up to how we feel. To know when our mood has changed. To be mindful about what we like and what annoys us. This is what relationship are supposed to be about. I often talk to clients about the intimacy PIE (Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional) and the importance of having healthy doses of all three. While the physical is often the most exposed and discussed aspect of relationships, it is the emotional connection that makes or breaks them.
Find your emotional connection with your partner. If you are convinced you have one, look deeper. Search their heart and search their soul. If you have a strong relationship, you can do this while you are on the phone with them or even when texting with them. Allison Kraus sang the indelible song lyrics 'you say it best when you say nothing at all'. This is so true. What can you tell about your partner when they are not talking and yet still emoting. People emote all of the time. Even you.