( … inspired while listening to “I’ll be there” by the Jackson Five - courtesy of Hafidz Nasir Music Library)

It seems that one of the worst mistakes in many relationship is that, without even knowing it … assuming, at times that our other half can read minds. Or, if not assuming they can do so, we very often expect them to.

I was talking to a friend when he started to complain of his girlfriend’s inability to stay organized. He seemed tormented by the issue and, in fact, he had brought this subject to my attention on several previous occasions. Finally, I asked him, “ Does ***** know how much this bugs you?” It turned out that she(his girlfriend) had no idea that it concerned him in the least!

There are several good reasons why it’s important to recognize this problem. First, and most obviously - it creates a great deal of grief and inner turmoil for yourself. You carry around a ton of frustration that has little, if anything, to do with you. You’re mad; bothered, or irritated about something and you’re the only one who knows about it. If that isn’t self-induced stress, what is???

Second, it’s not really fair to your partner. Here you are steaming mad about something and you don’t even give your partner the courtesy of telling her what it is that’s bugging you. You’re probably coming across as mad or irritated but she doesn’t even know what it’s about. In cases like these, you’re demanding that she read your mind! What chance does she have? How can she explain herself … much less do anything about it?

The first thing that bothered many boyfriends about girlfriends is their tendency to keep boyfriends waiting. After a while, we guys will start fuming about it. I told one of my good friends of my personal experiences; I sulked, complained, and wish she would change. Finally, when I couldn’t stand it any longer - I brought it up to her. In a very sincere, non-defensive tone, she said; “I’m really sorry. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I wish you would have told me sooner”. It turned out that while I was obsessively punctual, she was quite comfortable running a few minutes ‘behind schedule’. She simply didn’t think that it was a big deal and had no idea it was bothering me. So, while keeping people waiting may not be a great idea … clearly the responsibility of dealing with the issue was in my hands. I was expecting her to read my mind. And while she has many magical qualities, reading my mind is not one of them(…heheh! I still wish she have that ability to do so).

What we’ve learned is that when something is bothering you, it’s usually best to let your partner know about it. Pick a time when nether of you is in a defensive mood. Then bring up the issue gently and respectfully and see what happens. It seems logical that, in most cases your chances of a favorable outcome are far better than if you rely on your partner reading your mind. If at all possible, avoid the self-destructive thought, “He (or she) should know what I want or need”. You’ll make it easier on yourself and on your relationship if you go ahead and let them know.