“You never loved me!” said the person on the other end of the phone. I was floored. There’s no way this person can know all that I’ve pondered and suffered through to do my very best to love them well.
And yet, because I haven’t loved them in a way they’re able to receive, they’ve deduced I never loved them.
My response: “It seems that’s what you’ve chosen to believe, therefore you’re convinced of it. And since I know it’s not true, that may be more your issue than mine.”
I know, that was a bit harsh. I felt the need though to call out what I could realistically assume ownership of in this situation. I went on to explain that everyone receives love differently, “If I am doing the best I know how to do, and yet there’s still a gap; perhaps it will help to share with me what makes you feel loved and cared for. Rather than write me off because I failed at being a mind reader.”
What I realize in my attempts to do relationships well is that our egos are so fragile. We desperately cling to our need to feel in control and safe as opposed to bearing the nakedness of vulnerability. It is indeed risky to say, “I would really appreciate it if you offered to do things with me more.” It exposes you to that of which you have no control over. In this, you have perceivably given the power to someone else to either accept or reject you. Pretty scary stuff!
We end up hiding our true desires in hopes someone will care enough to dig deep, unlock and respond favorably to our most sacred yearnings.
I have certainly been guilty of this. And as a woman, it seems my nature is to expect people to read my mind in order to know what they should or should not be doing. The more aware I become, the more I realize just how unfair this is. Relationships aren’t magic. They require lots of massaging and retuning. You may have to tell someone what you need or would like in order to feel loved by them. This doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It just means they’re another human being who likely receives love in an entirely different way.