If given the chance, I’ll give you a copy of “‘Calling in ‘the One’: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life.” I’ve never been single and read this book. It’s not really about finding your dream partner (although apparently it works, http://callingintheone.com), it’s about working through everything you’ve been taught by your parents, friends, and the world that has prevented you from being truly loved. While reading it this morning, I found a quote about the difference between what men and women need from relationships:
What women need, according to Katherine Woodward Thomas:
A woman needs to be heard and tended to in a relationship. Ideally, she needs to be noticed, wanted, and adored. She needs to feel treasured by her man and she needs a partner who demonstrates that he cares about her feelings. She needs someone who will anticipate her wishes and take action to fulfill them, even before she thinks to ask. She needs her partner to keep his word to her. She needs him to be someone she can count on, someone who will do his best to make her feel secure.
Now don’t get me wrong. This list does not fulfill me as a person. I need to feel respected for my work. I need to be intellectually stimulated. I need to be creative, I need to feel in touch with my community (on and on). However, connecting with my partner on these things are added bonuses. What I really, truly need, is to be loved and appreciated the way Thomas describes. Plus, I don’t live on a deserted island and it’s unfair to expect that one partner could fulfill all of a person’s endless needs. Especially when I can just as easily call a friend to watch the Grammy’s or read the New Yorker to get my synapses firing.
But I like this summation because it brings up some of my WORST relationship issues, but in a POSITIVE way. He’s not calling, he’s being distant, he’s drunk, he looks at another girl, his ex-girlfriend came back into the picture– these are some of the things that can trigger negative reactions. Here are a few common challenges and how to deal with them by articulating our true needs and desires instead of harping on meaningless incidents:
1. Crazy Jealous Bitch Syndrome: Instead of getting upset about another girl in his life, we can say, “I so badly want to be noticed and adored by you.” or, the
advanced diversion version, “I want you to know how much I appreciate when you told me I looked good this morning.” This is my personal area of expertise, and I will be talking more about it in a later post.
2. Gift Grievances Syndrome: Instead of being perennially upset by gifts that don’t hit our heart the way we want it to, we can say, (with sincerity) “I loved that time you surprised me with flowers. It meant so much to me!” and “I know it can feel like I’m impossible to buy for, but I promise to be appreciative and loving if you promise to keep surprising me! It makes me feel so good when you think of what I would like.”
3. Insecurity Killed the Cat: When we feel vulnerable, abandoned, neglected, unloved, or unheard (the list goes on), our insecurities can get triggered. Instead of acting out of fear or resorting to Crazy Jealous Bitch Syndrome, we can ask our partner for what we really need by saying, “I know I can always count on you and you make me feel so safe all of the time. It would help me to feel even more safe if you could __________(insert loving suggestion).”
4. The Kicker: The sentence that works for all situations, in all circumstances, for women and for men, “I want to be loved by you.” It taps into our deepest core, which is that we want to be loved unconditionally. Which comes from a deep truth that we so often ignore: We are loved. Unconditionally, no matter what happens, we are loved. Placing this deep need onto our partners brings eventual heartbreak, we need to find this loving feeling from somewhere deep inside of us, independent from everything else. In the meantime, though, saying “I just want your love” can cut through a lot of bullshit.