Are You Giving The Love You're Expecting
Have you ever found yourself bemoaning the shortcomings in your partner’s loving ways? How often have you complained that they’re not romantic enough, don’t compliment you very often, never tell you they love you, hardly notice the things you do and don’t do anything particularly nice for you?
A few times perhaps?
I’m guessing at least once and the reason I say that is because naturally we want to have the best we can have in life and in love. So, in an attempt to fix what isn’t working we tend to point out what’s going wrong and hope that something changes.
But what are you doing to encourage the change from where you stand?
I hear my clients, colleagues and friends complaining about their partners with barely a single thought about how THEY might contribute to the issue. It’s all the fault of the other person. They’re just not doing what they need them to do to feel loved, supported, respected and cared for and if that person could just change, everything would work out perfectly.
Can you see any flaw in that plan?
The problem with simply identifying where the gaps are and then expecting them to close is that we forget to take into account that there are TWO people involved in a relationship and that no one person has the power to pull the fabric of the relationship back together by themselves. Add to that the complicating fact that the only person we have any power over changing is ourselves. There isn’t a single other person in this world that you have the ability to completely alter to your requirements, except you, so how will you fix your problem?
In my practice where I’m allowed to, and actually get paid to, ask the gritty questions (believe me, friends don’t want to be coached 24/7) I ask my clients, who dishing out a laundry list of their partner’s deficiencies in the giving department, to "Tell me about the sort of things you do to show and express each of the things you want from your partner”.
The answers are usually the same and involve a collection of household tasks, child care, work commitments and various personal sacrifices.
Now I’m not disputing that all of these things go a long way towards pulling your weight in your relationship and the household arrangements but they really don’t do a lot towards strengthening or enriching the love connection between you and your partner. In fact often, they take more away as we get busy and at times overwhelmed by day to day life and forget to give time to each other.
But all is not lost. If we go back to that key point of you only being able to change you, there is an answer there.
If you're seeking more from your partner, in the way of expressions of love, respect and commitment ask yourself what you do each day to give so that you can receive.
Are you giving the love that you expect back?
You want them to be more romantic and do nice things for you - When did you last arrange something romantic for them or do something nice for them just because you wanted to, not because you wanted to earn ‘credit’.
You want to be complimented more - What was the last genuine compliment you paid your partner that made them positively beam with pleasure? Do you regularly let them know the things you appreciate about them?
You want to be told and know you are loved more often - Have you said it lately? How often do you truly stop and deliver an "I love you" with meaning and full heart and soul, not just as a good night or good bye routine?
The fact is, it is so much easier to get the quality of love you want, if you are freely giving it, because like attracts like.
Perhaps you're thinking to yourself that once your partner steps up you’ll be more inclined to reciprocate but once we become adults, ‘do as I say not as I do’ no longer cuts it. You might get away with that line with your kids but in adult relationships we often mirror each other and the amount of effort and attention that is given.
When one of us doesn't bother, then the other will slowly fall into the same mode, even if they're usually a person who would be more giving with their love and affection. It's human nature.
So here’s something to try.
For 30 days I want you to go the extra mile in giving the sort of love that you want back. Say and do all the nice things, be romantic, compliment and caress, open your heart and give lots of love. At times you might feel vulnerable, at times you might feel over the top but I can guarantee that in time (just 30 days) you will be getting more of that good loving you are wanting.
Now, this comes with the caveat. If you give your best loving and nothing at all changes, you still have a partner that gives very little if anything, then it may be time to look deeper into what's going on for them and in your relationship. Likewise, if you're in a relationship that is abusive, then it's unlikely you following this advise is going to change anything and your safety and mental health is much more important to make a priority.
Photo credit: © 2007 Denise Mayumi