***QUESTION FROM A READER:
“What is the best way to get around the ‘assumption barrier’? I am speaking in terms of I assume my husband should know my likes and dislikes and even when I explain them in a way I feel is very plain to him he still doesn’t get it.
“So, then he acts and reacts to me in a way he feels would make him happy but doesn’t make me happy.”
You’ve told him what you want and don’t want, you assume that he understands you but it’s obvious that he’s doing exactly what he wants–and that’s frustrating.
What you probably have (or don’t have) is a “buy-in” issue along with an assumption barrier.
He doesn’t really buy into fulfilling and acting on what you like or don’t like. Even though it may look like it to you that he’s agreeing with you, he isn’t.
That’s the assumption pit that we see people fall into.
They think they have a buy-in from someone else but they really don’t.
Either the other person is not really present when you are talking–he or she has mentally and emotionally checked out on you–or there’s a little passive-aggressive action going on and you think you have a “yes” but you really have a “no.”
In the short term, it’s just easier for the other person to appear to be in agreement with you and then it’s obvious they have other intentions when their actions say otherwise.
Sure they “get in trouble” but they also get what they want.
It’s just simply a round-about way (conscious or unconscious) way to get what they want.
For some reason, they feel it’s not “safe” for them to say what they want too and have a discussion with another person about it. They don’t trust that they’ll be heard so they have to go about getting what they want what looks to be in an under-handed way.
Is this what’s going on with your husband?
We don’t know for sure but somewhere along the line, he’s learned that this is a way he can get his needs met.
Where does that leave you?
Probably, as we said, pretty frustrated.
So how do you get him to buy into what you want and don’t want?
You can’t get him to do something that he doesn’t want to do but you can open up a discussion.
A few weeks ago, after we did a teleclass on “Magic Relationship Words” and we got an email from a man who said that he had used our suggested words–
“Although it may not be your intention…”
He said his communication with his wife was better, but the only problem was that she didn’t agree with him.
Your husband may or may not agree with you but the way it is right now, you don’t know until you see him in action and you feel you’ve been blind-sided.
In order to get rid of the “assumption” barrier between the two of you, there has to be a freer flow of communication.
Here are some ideas to help you…
1. Use our “Magic Relationships Words” to begin a conversation with him.
They can open each of you to be in a “no blame” place so you can actually talk with one another.
You might try something like this…
“Although it may not be your intention or my intention, I feel like we’re not really talking, listening and understanding each other. I would like us to really talk about ______–with each of us listening to each other and then try to find a way that works for both
of us to resolve it.”
2. Both of you listen when the other is talking. Don’t try to do this with distractions going on–television, kids in the background. Go somewhere, where you’ll be alone and can focus on each other.
3. Clarify what you think the two of you have decided to do and ask him if that’s what he understands. Write it down and post it.
4. When he follows through on something you’ve agreed on, let him know you appreciate it. Pretty soon he’ll get the idea that life can be so much better and more peaceful if he learns to be up front about his desires–especially if he thinks you’re listening.
Relationships can be pretty tough if you’re on different “teams” and not communicating with each other.
If you try these ideas, we can’t guarantee that he will make the choice to come along and be a team member but what we do know is that if you do nothing, nothing will change.
We invite you to take a chance toward more love.