We Can’t Read Our Partners’ Minds, And That’s Okay


We Can't Read Our Partner's Minds, and That's Okay

I remember the first date I had with the man who would become my husband. It was many years ago, but I still remember certain things like they happened yesterday. We were a fix-up by one of my friends.

Reflecting on My First Date with My Future Husband

We can't read our partners' minds. Take a look at this first date, for an example of how different our thought processes were.

While on the date, when the two of us were sitting at dinner, I listened to him talk about his children. He was separated and had two young ones, ages 6 and 9. I remember hearing about his wonderful parenting skills and how he loved his children. There was no bragging; in fact he was very humble. Even so, he seemed like a really good, loving person, a man I liked being close to.

I felt something different, and it felt important. But being in the dating world, which I had been for a while, I am sure my face revealed nothing about what I felt. I am sure I was just putting on a good face, doing that impressive thing I used to do to get someone to like me.

We Can Accidentally Send the Wrong Messages Without Realizing It

After dinner we walked around the town and went into a book store. He tried to ask me what I liked to read, but I remember just heading to the places that I usually go when inside a book store. True crime was high on my list, back then.

Every time I went shopping for books, I went alone. I really didn’t know how to shop with another. My actions reflected this. Apparently, I was inadvertently sending him a message I didn’t realize until much later.

We Can Offset Sending the Wrong Messages By Sending the Right Ones

We Can't Read Each Other's Minds, So Ask Your Partner When You're Unsure About Something

After leaving the store I felt something needed to happen. And this is not something I planned, but I instinctively grabbed his hand while we were walking. And then we just continued walking together hand in hand.

We got back to the restaurant and to our cars. We shared a little polite kiss and then the date ended. We have told the story of our first date probably hundreds of times in the 18 years we have been together.

He of course could not have known about the feelings I felt during our dinner conversation. And I didn’t have any idea he was thinking that until I grabbed his hand he thought the date was in his words, “going down in flames.” He thought he was going down in flames and I didn’t even like him. And not until I grabbed his hand did he think another thought of, “Well I guess I am not doing too badly.”

Mindful Communication Helps Bridge Gaps in Understanding

I didn’t know he felt that way. I had no idea. He couldn’t see inside me to feel what I felt either. I use this example to talk about how easy it is to just make assumptions about the people we are with.

I assumed that he felt the same way I did. I felt it; doesn’t he feel the same thing? No, he felt something completely different. I certainly had no idea he thought I didn’t even like him.

We have learned a lot since then. We talk about what we are assuming the other might be thinking or we might think they think about us. We talk about what those thoughts are without believing them first. We know this is the only way to be sure to know what the other person is really thinking: by checking out our ideas.

Even If You Love Someone and Know Them Well, Be Clear About How You Feel, and Ask Questions

When we love another, we imagine they know us from the inside out. Love means we are connected at our core and our person is extremely familiar with our very being. This is true, but you and your partner will never know exactly what is being thought, unless you talk about it.

Do yourself a favor; remember to ask about something if you think it. It could save your relationship, or in another case, it might begin something great, or destroy something before it ever gets started.


Want a Little Help Developing Understanding Between You and Your Spouse?

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Can’t make it on Monday? You can still improve the communication in your relationship, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help reduce miscommunication and unexpected disappointment, leaving you happier together than ever before. Give it a read.

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