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Denise Fitzpatrick

Thinking Traps That Are Sabotaging your Relationship

Are you inadvertently sabotaging your relationship with faulty thoughts and beliefs. Thinking traps like these can keep you from having the marriage you truly want.  The good news is you can do something to change this.

Here are 3 common thinking traps that you’ll want to reconsider if you are interested in getting more of what you want in your marriage.

Problem #1. Making Assumptions  

Making assumptions means accepting or believing something to be true without proof.  Your daily interactions with your partner are often unknowingly filled with assumptions.  You base decisions on these assumptions, avoid conversations, and may even hold a grudge towards your partner based on an assumption.  All of this going on without ever actually knowing for certain what your partner is truly thinking.

Maybe it plays out like this…You walk in the house after a long day and your partner is quiet.  You immediately assume they must be mad at you but you can’t imagine what you did. You’re now feeling annoyed that your partner is mad at you. So you become quiet and withdrawn.  Do you see what just happened there?

What if instead you checked in with your partner and asked them “are you ok, you seem quiet, are you upset with me?”  You just may find that their quiet mood has absolutely nothing to do with you.

You have to stop assuming and start asking.  Anytime you find yourself thinking you know how your partner will respond or what they will say, ask yourself, “do I know this to be true or am I assuming?”.  If you discover you’re assuming then ask instead.

Problem #2. Mind Reading

Do you think/believe your partner should just know what you want, know how you feel or know what you expect?  I hear this from almost every couple I work with. And truth be told it’s most often from women. I know I fell into this trap in my own marriage before too. What I discovered is, I don’t  know anyone with the power of mind reading, do you?

Say for instance you’re upset about something your partner did.  You may believe they should know, A. that you are upset and B. why you’re upset.  Or you had a rough day at work at need some TLC and you think your partner should just know you want to be comforted. You may even say to yourself “I shouldn’t have to ask for this, my partner should just know?

The truth is we are grown ups and if we want something we have to ask for it.  As much as we would love our partners to know what we want and need without having to ask, this is just not reality.  No one can read your mind.

I certainly do understand the desire to want this kind of connection, I wanted it as well.  However, expecting it to happen will leave you repeatedly disillusioned and disappointed.

You’ve got to stop expecting your partner to know what you’re thinking and ask for what you want.  Which, by the way, doesn’t necessarily mean you will always get it (to be discussed in a future blog post).

Problem #3. They Should Want To

Ok, so you finally accept that maybe you will have to ask for what you want.  So say for example you ask your partner to greet you with a hug when you come home from work and  your partner agrees. Fantastic! Except now you question “do you WANT to give me a hug or are you doing it just because I asked?”.

The request is no longer a simple request.  There is an added expectation of “I want my partner to want to, not just do it because I want them to”.  See how confusing that gets. We make it way more complicated than it has to be.

The mistake is thinking/believing that it doesn’t count if your partner is doing it because you want them to do it.  Instead believing they should want to . Where did we come up with the belief that it doesn’t count if they’re doing it just because you asked.   

If your partner is willing to do what you ask then why not celebrate. You have a willing partner. Willing to do something they know will make a difference for you.  So rather than discount the effort your partner makes, praise and appreciate their desire to please you.  

These are just a few of the thinking traps that can create problems for your relationship.  Do you recognize yourself in any of these? How would your marriage change if you stopped doing one of these things? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.  

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