Do They Really Mean It?
Do They Really Mean It? A new acquaintance, Cathy, 42*, remarked on a recent discovery: her husband actually meant it that he’d never move from London. She’d quietly hoped over 15 long years, that he agree the countryside beckoned.
Is she disappointed? You bet! Even devastated that she faces a big wrangle over this or accepts he’d always been honest and her hopes had always been wrong.
Just how wrong can you be? Very wrong in many cases when surprise, surprise people often mean what they say about having babies, not wanting to move, or they don't believe in marriage.
But some of us stubbornly hang on to what I call an "eternal hope mechanism". With thinking resembling, "Oh, they don't really mean that - he/she wants what I want" as a partner says something counter to our expectations.
These misguided hopes lead to heartache - with one client, Katie, 35, a potential break-up looms because of her eternal hope mechanism. It tells her that boyfriend Jake, 39, does want to move to her flat despite his protestations he doesn’t. “He can’t really dislike the country-house decor in my garden maisonette? It's so much more comfortable than his flat!” she protests.
Here you must challenge the person's thinking. It’s handy to raise what they don't want to do as how their partner really feels too. Katie doesn't want to move into Jake's trendy warehouse conversion flat: pure urban hell to her mind. But by contrasting what she likes about her place - soothing/calming - to what he likes about his - energising/lively, they may see it’s not so simple as their way being the right way.
Often "their way" ignores the whole facts of their partner’s view; Jake's trendy warehouse flat goes with a whole lifestyle. But still she insists it doesn’t mean that much to him.
Go on being eternally hopeful (shall I call that deluded?) and you may have your way...but alone!
* Names and details changed as always.
A similar article was published in The Times