You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore And You Don’t Respect My Need For Space
by Jacquie Wise
A common source of hurt in relationships is feeling unloved. It could be simply because you’re just not speaking the right language. Intimate relationships go through classic phases.
First, there’s the auditioning phase, when we’re on our best behaviour because we want to impress. We’re paying close attention to our loved one as we get to know them. It may take as long as a full year or more, depending on how often we see each other, to decide ‘this is the one for me’.
Then there’s the honeymoon phase, when the warm fuzzies are flying backwards and forwards in buckets. After a while, the relationship settles into a more comfortable friendship: the stuff solid relationships are made of. But this can be when doubts arise—does he/she still love me?
We tend to express love in the way we like to receive it, which may not be the right way for your partner.
There are some tendencies typical of male and female approaches, depending on conditioning. Men of a certain age have traditionally been brought up to be the problem-solvers, the decision-makers and activators—think of the John Wayne stereotype. (Thankfully, males these days are taught to have more Emotional Intelligence.)
As a consequence of their upbringing, many men tend to show their love in practical ways: ‘Of course I love you, I fixed your kitchen cupboards for you, didn’t I?’ (‘Yeah, but you don’t bring me flowers…’)
Again depending on their conditioning, women have been taught to be nurturers, so stereotypically, they tend to demonstrate love by comforting, creating harmony, or cooking a favourite meal. (‘Yeah, but you don’t respect my need for space’.)
The language of love
For some of us, words are important: ‘Do you love me?’ ‘Oh, for heaven’s sake, do I have to keep telling you?’ (Duh— ye-es!) Remember September 11—all those mobile calls from people who thought they might not make it out of the towers alive? The first thing they did was call their partners to tell them they loved them. This set off a world-wide awareness that we don’t tell our loved ones often enough that we love them. We take it for granted that they just know.
If you find it difficult to express your feelings directly, find a card or words of a song that say it for you—put the message in a briefcase or pocket where it will be found by surprise.
Loving words include compliments. There is nothing more validating than being noticed for a job well done. A simple ‘thank you’ is one way to show your appreciation of someone: but don’t think it’s the only way.
Do you express your love through gifts? ‘My partner is never happy, I buy her expensive jewellery every birthday, but it never seems to be right.’ (Maybe all she wants is to be listened to.)
Sometimes, the best way to show you care is to listen to someone: to give them your full, undivided attention. Those of us who are natural problem-solvers may become impatient with a loved one who just needs a witness to their feelings.They don’t need you to solve the problem for them, they just need to be heard and understood. They need to know you care enough to be interested in how they’re feeling, and why.
While we’re on the subject, this is the best way to build your children’s self-esteem. You need to show them you enjoy being with them, that nothing is more important to you than they are. Take care how many times you say: ‘Go and watch TV, mummy’s busy’, or ‘Leave daddy alone, dear, he’s tired.’ Of course there are times when it’s necessary, but if you dismiss them too often, it gives them a strong impression that you’d rather do anything than spend quality time with them. Great way to make a kid, or anyone, feel loved and lovable…
Some prefer a physical gesture of affection: the silent squeeze of a hand or a spontaneous hug in passing, or a cuddle on the couch while watching TV (not only when you want sex!) Others feel smothered if their partner is too ‘touchy-feely’. A caring relationship finds the middle ground.
Then there are those of us who like surprises: a spontaneous night out; a gift for no reason; an effort made to please.
The romantic ones would love a candlelit dinner at home, or a poem lovingly written out—not necessarily authored by you. You don’t have to go quite as far as serenading under the bedroom window or writing a message in the sky (although your romantic partner would probably love that!)
The better you know your partner, the more you will know how to choose the right language to express your love.
Would you like to learn some new ways to share your feelings with those you love? If so, contact me directly to arrange a convenient appointment time.
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