Ridiculous Dating Expectations

There’s this song, you may have heard it. It has this line in it that I would totally have loved when I was 19 and stupid. Here’s the offending chorus:

Who doesn’t long for someone to hold

Who knows how to love you without being told

Somebody tell me why I’m on my own

If there’s a soulmate for everyone

You want to know why you’re on your own? This line, this line is why you’re on your own:

Who knows how to love you without being told

You’re on your own because you’re a poor communicator. You’re on your own because you’re lazy and you aren’t willing to do the work. Because you want the guy (or girl) you’re dating to do all the heavy lifting for you. You want them to read your mind and do everything you want without ever being told. And you know what? That’s idiotic. And unfair. Think about it. Would you like it if someone expected you to cater to their wishes but never told you what those wishes were?

You can’t expect anyone else to read your mind. You can expect them to listen when you tell them what you want. It may sound trite, but communication really is the key. If you tell the people you date, “Hey, I really like it when you sneak up behind me and kiss my neck,” guess what? They’ll start sneaking up behind you and kissing your neck. Or, if you tell them, “When I’m upset, I need you to hold me,” they’ll try to do that. You may have to remind them a few times (after nearly four years together, J finally does this last one without me asking. The neck kissing was easy).

And here’s the secret – if you do tell your partner what you like, eventually, down the line, you will have a partner who can read your mind. Because they really know you. J is really good, most of the time, at reading me. And he knows what to do to make me feel loved, because I told him and he paid attention. And when he does it, I respond. I let him know it’s working. So he’ll keep doing it.

You can have a partner who knows how to love you, but you have to do the work.

/end rant

4 Responses

  1. That line is pretty awful to get confronted with. I want to be told what my partner needs, and I want to work at getting better at giving it, but there is no way I can do what they want every time without feedback, and I know that if I want certain things from my partner, I need to ask for them. Relationships are all about work and communication and focusing on making that part function is critical. It seems like if you can just get those things working, the bumps along the road are solvable.

  2. Who sings that song?

    Any way, my husband often thanks me for not requiring him to be a mind-reader. We’re in our 15th year of marriage. We have tons of inside jokes, lots of little things we do for each other without saying a word, but we still, daily have to say what we think. We often have the “I’m stressed because of X, and I’m sorry if I’m taking it out on you” conversation. And less frequently, the “It really irritates me when you do Y.” conversation.

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