Why is it that our attempts to care for our partner often go unnoticed or unappreciated?
We may feel frustrated or hopeless about understanding what it takes to connect with our partner or for him/her to feel cared about. This often leads to resignation and giving up which leads to distance and the development of symptoms such as affairs, addictive behaviors or mental illness(depression, anxiety).
The caring connection begins by discovering what our partner needs and the best way to gain that information is to simply ask:
"Do you feel cared about by me? If yes, "what is it i am doing or saying that has created that feeling". If no, "what do you need from me to let you know that i care?".
When the answer comes, especially if it is a negative one, take a deep breath and listen. Even, if you believe that you have been doing what your partner claims is missing, make note that somehow it isn't working. Ask for more details of what it will take to help your message get through in a meaningful way. Take several days to think about what has been shared with you. If you are able to offer what has been requested, do so. Follow up with questions to find out if your shift in words, attitude, or behavior is working.
The process of asking the question, listening, and following through whenever possible is the beginning of creating the caring connection. Almost all partners will feel cared about if she/he knows that you really want to care for him/her.
Next week-gender issues in creating the caring connection