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Two to Tango: When couples expect partners to read their mind

When resentments start building up, it's best for couples to talk about it and say it out loud to the partner before the anger spills over.

Written by Amrita Sharma | New Delhi |
June 28, 2016 4:14:08 pm
relationships, relationship advice, fights in relationships, why do couples fight, how to resolve issues in relationships, couples therapy, relationship counselling, relationship counselling, communicating in relationships, relationship communication, two to tango, Many a times conflicts crop up because we assume partners know what we need and how we feel. The truth is — they don’t. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Many relationships start out smoothly, especially since the couples never really faced problems that crop up while staying together. But there are times when even the smoothest rides hit a roadblock. This often happens when a person realises that the partner fails to catch the signals or is deemed unable to read the other’s mind and thoughts.

This is what led to a major crack in the relationship between Maya and Jay. Since both were working, house chores had become somewhat of an issue between them. Since Maya came home earlier than Jay, she found herself doing most of the work.


“He would come home and behave as if some fairy has come and taken care of the mess the house was in. And then he would casually just hang around the house. Could he not see that I could use some help?” she said. Jay on the other hand started feeling really upset at having Maya upset all the time. “She would always be sulking when I came home. I can understand she must be tired but I couldn’t dream about what she wanted me to do. I can’t read her mind can I?” he says.

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Experts say that this is one of the most common complaints that partners have with each other. There is an expectation that one partner would know what the other needs and wants. Many a times conflicts crop up because we assume partners know what we need and how we feel. The truth is — they don’t.

Time and again counsellors have suggested that when resentments start building up, it’s best for couples to talk about it and often say it out loud to the partner before the anger spills over.

Take the case of Manan and Arti. When they got married, Manan had been living by himself for almost eight years. He was used to his own space and when he got married it became a bit of a problem for him. “When I came back home I needed some time to me — about 15 minutes — to smoke in peace and stay with my thoughts. It was a habit of many years and I just couldn’t let go of that suddenly. But every time I went out to the balcony for that ‘me-time’ Arti would follow and keep talking to me. I felt really annoyed that she couldn’t see I had come out all the way to be by myself!” he said.

But, counsellors say that it is wrong for us to assume that our partner would know what we want without being told about it. According to them, partners should come out the ‘why should there be a need for me to tell him/her?…can’t they see it themselves?’ phase. Partners need to realise that just as they don’t know their partner’s needs, they can’t expect the same from their partner.


This is why counsellors say if couples are serious about saving their marriages, they need to reach out to their partners and share what they need from them. Assuming that they would be able to read your mind is an unrealistic expectation that will only harm your relationship instead of strengthening it.

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First published on: 28-06-2016 at 04:14:08 pm
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