Expressing yourself is good for your relationship

No one is a mind reader, including your mate. If you’ve ever expected your partner to know what you are thinking or have found yourself frustrated because your partner has expected you to know what he or she was thinking, read on…

One of the biggest relationship myths appears to be that our partners should know everything about us, including what we are thinking. I’m not sure where this myth originated, but I suspect Hollywood has played a role. We are constantly inundated with unrealistic versions of relationships in which partners know exactly what the other is thinking. With a simple look between the two, each person instantly and correctly knows what the other is thinking, feeling, and maybe even wants for their birthday. We then compare these idealized relationships to our own and wonder why our partner never seems to know what we are thinking or feeling….and why they got us a toaster oven for our last birthday. We conveniently fail to remember that when our partner asked us what we wanted for our birthday, our response was “I don’t care” when what you actually meant was “golf clubs/jewelry/a great dinner out/anything but a toaster oven.”

Despite repeated disappointments, we continue to hold on to the belief that our partners should be able to read our minds. In reality, this is not a skill that most people have in abundance. Research on mind reading (more formally known as empathy accuracy) has shown that even married couples can only accurately guess what their partner is thinking about 35% of the time. In other words, we get it wrong 65% of the time. We are more often wrong than right. The simplest way to avoid these mind reading mistakes is to actually tell our partners what we are thinking. Some may argue that this takes the romance out of a relationship. I would argue that hurt feelings, resentment, and conflict do more damage to the romance in a relationship than honest and forthright communication ever will. Letting go of the mind reading myth and communicating thoughts, desires, and emotions can be difficult work for couples. However, the impact it can have on a relationship can be dramatic. Imagine how your own relationship could change if you actually knew what your partner was thinking…..