What to do when both partners give what they think the other wants, but it’s not

Kez asks:

I feel my boyfriend and I are not getting along well. It’s always about sex and cooking for him, then he goes to drop off. When I need anything he helps me get it, and he introduced me to his sister the last time I visited as the lady he wants to marry in future. But he doesn’t talk to me much. He doesn’t open up to me at all. I don’t really know what goes on in his life. I love him and I want to be part of him, not just his girlfriend, but I want him to open up to me, and I want to feel that I’m part of his life.

Hi Kez –

            So I’m only guessing here, but I’m imagining that I get a letter from your boyfriend, that says, “My girlfriend just doesn’t seem happy in our relationship.  She’ll cook for me, and we have sex, and whenever she wants anything I’ll at least help her get it.  And I’ve told my family, right in front of her, that she’s the woman I want to marry.  But still she seems dissatisfied.  Can you help me?”

            If I’m right, what’s missing in your relationship is communication.  Not just the openness you’re wanting and needing, but simple “Here’s what I need from you” communication.  He wants to please you, clearly, but it looks like he simply doesn’t know how.  And currently there’s no way for him to find out. 

            This is very normal for couples.  And especially, male humans are often not as good communicators as you females, even on what seems pretty simple material.  The biggest reason for this is that little boys are often told not to talk about their feelings, that that’s too “girlish” a thing to do.

            So your job is to help him out by encouraging him.  Tell him you want to know more of what he’s feeling.  That it’s wonderful he wants to marry you, but you also want to know what’s going on inside him – what he likes and doesn’t like about your relationship, what goes on the rest of his day when he’s not with you, and what he thinks about.  Let him know you’re truly interested, that you find him fascinating.

            I know all this can sound kind of silly.  After all, I have a human who feels the same way about me – he’s always wondering what I’m thinking and feeling – and I can’t speak any words at all. 

            But there’s a wonderful direction in all this.  As your boyfriend starts opening up to you, he’s going to value you even more than he did before, because you’ll be the first person he feels comfortable talking with about all these things.  And not only will you feel better about your relationship, but so will he.

            So be kind, and be patient.  But let him know what you’re after.  The possibilities are endless!



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