I’m fed up! Everything always has to be her way! When I’m driving she has to tell me which lane to be in or which parking stall I should park in. When we’re home, she’s telling me what shelf in the fridge I should have put the orange juice on (seriously). I can’t load the dishwasher right, I never clean well enough and I should “just know” what I’m doing wrong so that she doesn’t have to keep telling me what to do all the time. I used to try figuring out how she’d like me to do things but I feel like I’m going crazy trying to live inside her head. A little help?
Well, that certainly seems difficult! Seriously, it stinks to feel like you can never win and are always making your partner unhappy. It sounds like she has some serious issues with needing to be in control. Don’t worry about constantly trying to please her. Of course, you want to do what you can to make the relationship work best, but you have to be yourself and do things your way. Perhaps, you should have some conversations (or seek couples counseling) so that you can help her understand that this dynamic is very damaging to your psyche and to the relationship. She should not want you to feel that you are walking around on egg shells trying to please her. There needs to be an understanding that no one is perfect. Being in a healthy relationship means accepting that there are things about your partner that you dislike which are beyond your control. If your partner could understand that, things would be much better for you both!
How long have you two been together? I ask because this is really common behavior for women in new relationships. I’ve written about this before. When men and women are dating, men do all they can to guess what the woman wants to do on a date. If he guesses wrong, she stops returning his calls. If he guesses right, then he gets a second date, then a third, then a fourth, etc. until they get married. And this kind of behavior in dating sets up relationships (like yours) for failure – because the wife expects the husband to ‘just know’ how she expects things to be. Afterall, that’s what you did when you were dating. It also creates a misbalance in the relationship because it creates a dynamic where one partner sets the expectations and it’s the other partner’s job to adhere to them usually by guessing or trying to mindread.
Anyway, regardless of how long you’ve been together you need to talk explicitly about the mindreading. This will drive you absolutely nuts if you keep doing it. And it will drive her absolutely nuts if you keep screwing it up. It’s a lose/lose for both of you. Talk about it and let her know that you want to have some input on what shelf the orange juice goes on, how to drive to your destination, etc. Most of the time your partner will see that it’s pretty silly to expect you to read their mind. And hopefully she’ll see that it’s pretty controlling, too. Sometimes, though, they’ll get upset that you “just don’t get it” and insist that you’re the one being crazy. If that happens I’m afraid you’ll have some tough decisions ahead of you.
About Rachel: Rachel Russo is a Dating, Relationship, & Image Coach who works with marriage-minded singles and couples in NYC and throughout the US. Checkout her website at RachelRusso.com
About Aaron: Aaron Anderson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado and writer for various websites on marriage and relationships