Can we read our partner’s minds?
Irma Fragoso LMFT
When was the last time you were in an argument with your partner and you noticed that you wanted them to assume what you want, how you want it, or when you want it? Be it food, sex, or even gifts.
Henry Winkler said it best “Assumptions are the termites of relationships”.
Read it again, because assumptions are like wanting our partners to read our minds. If assumptions or mind reading are like termites, then why bring those nasty bugs into your relationship? Many of us, wanted our single self to be integrated with our relationship self and we hoped, no, assumed that person will naturally fit into our lifestyle. We know what we want, and if they want us, then they would JUST KNOW what we need.
I’d encourage you to take a minute, deep breath, & remind yourself: My partner does not have that super power, my partner cannot read my mind, & I cannot read their mind.
However, psychologists have created this word to potentially build that ability called empathic accuracy which means (according to Google) “the extent to which partners understand each other’s unspoken thoughts or feelings”. That’s like predicting what they might say or do, which is different from assumptions- it’s an ability to grow and cultivate a successful relationship. So maybe there is slight hope in reading our partners minds… the trick?
“Before you ‘assume’ try this crazy method called ‘asking’” – Unknown.
When we start to communicate, we start to form that empathic accuracy, meaning predicting what our partners may say or do. How do we exercise that part of our minds? We ask them questions instead of bringing termites into the relationship. What do I mean by communicating? The word communicating means “share or exchange information” but what kind of information? When it comes to any kind of relationship, it means informing them of your needs, expectations, desires, and building that congruency of what you want & how you want to be treated- its transparency or vulnerability. If you want your partner to just know what you want, they’ll lose that battle every time. However, when you actively have a conversation of what your standards (i.e., boundaries) are, how you want to grow in that relationship, & encourage transparency- you’ll be one step towards that ability to not read their minds or have them read yours but build intimacy, connection, want, & essentially empathetic accuracy. So, let’s change that question of can we can read our partners minds to: what do I want to communicate to my partner?