By Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT
Thank you for following along on the series of “marriage myths”. In this post we debunk the first myth: “My partner should know what I want/need/feel”
“I shouldn’t have to tell you [fill in the blank]..” is one of the most common phrases that I hear in my office. The belief that feelings, needs, wants, and requests shouldn’t be said creates a lot of disappointment and frustration. While we all want to believe that our partners know our needs so deeply that we don’t need to spell them out, in reality it is not true.
I get it. I often get frustrated with my husband, too. And I think “uh, he should just know!”. But, when I step back from my frustration, I realize that my husband lives in his head and I live in mine. Neither of us are psychics. In the therapy world we consider “mind reading” and using “should” a cognitive distortion (an inaccurate and harmful way of thinking).
The most that your partner can do is practice consideration. The most you can do is be clear and communicative.
Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT is a marriage therapist in Philadelphia, PA. Elizabeth supports individuals and couples to build meaningful and happy relationships.