Don't Compare Partners
Have you ever found yourself comparing your current partner to someone from your past, and finding your current partner lacking? Worse yet, have you found yourself telling your current partner he or she is being compared to someone in your past and falls short?
What is it we are really after when comparing current and former partners? Do we want our current partners to be just like our exes? Probably not, or we would still be in those relationships. I think when we are making a comparison, we are really after something else. My hunch is what most of us really want is to have our current partners meet some specific needs and desires in the same, natural way as our past partners did.
Unfortunately, when we make this comparison between partners and then tell our partner about it, he or she will probably not take the feedback well. In fact, your partner will be very likely to feel angry, resentful, and to make sure not to do what you want.
How can you, then, get what you want in a more effective way than causing resentment and anger in your partner? How can you have your needs and desires satisfied? It's simple, really. Just ask. But be sure to ask without making your partner wrong for not already having met your needs.
Let's look at an example. Let's say you are not getting enough romance in your current relationship, but had gotten plenty of it in your past relationship, and liked it that way.
If you were comparing your current partner to your ex, you might say things like, "Why aren't you more like X? He (or she) was so romantic. I would get flowers and cards from him all of the time." Or, you might say, "She was much more interested in romance and intimacy than you are." Then you might finish with, "You are just not like him (or her)," with a negative connotation in your voice.
As I said, after this kind of encounter, it's unlikely you will experience romantic gestures from your current partner, even if he or she originally had a desire to be romantic.
Asking for your needs to be met looks very different than comparing partners and making your current partner wrong.
You may say something like, "You know, I really like and appreciate romantic gestures. Flowers or cards would make me feel loved and appreciated. Physical intimacy would make me feel loved and connected to you. I would like more of these from you. Can you do that for me?"
With an approach like this, you are much more likely to get what you want.
So stop comparing and start asking!
Your Relationship Coach,
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