Do you remember what it was like when you first got to know each other? How open minded you were, and how curious you found yourself, wanting to know more about them and their lives?
Where did they grow up?
What places have they travelled to?
What are their parents like?
What is their favourite sort of food?
As time goes on, we lose this natural curiosity in the other person. We start to be able to predict their behaviour. We think we know what they will want to order from the takeaway. We think we know how they will react.
And sometimes we are right. After all, if you’ve been with someone for a while, then there is a good chance you do know them well enough to be able to guess some of these things.
Perhaps you’ve been to a wedding where the bride and groom get asked to guess each other’s answers, the ‘Mr and Mrs Game’. Getting the right answer to each question is seen as mark of compatibility- how wonderful that this couple are able to predict each other so well.
But what about when predicting each other’s behaviour and choices just becomes…well… predictable..?
Predictable might help us to feel safe and secure, but it certainly doesn’t help us to feel excited about our relationship! Finding your partner predictable is not exactly sexy stuff.
And indeed it’s one of the main things couples come to relationship therapy about. Losing the spark. Not having a sense of excitement. Finding things predictable.
This is often noticed in their words:
“She always thinks that….”
“He never does….”
Putting our partner into ‘always/never’ boxes is a clear sign that you’ve started to mind read them and believe that you can predict exactly how they are going to behave.
But newsflash! You can’t mindread your partner! Yes, you might be able to have good guess at what they are thinking or believing, but you don’t actually know unless you ask!
So getting curious with each other again is a great way to stop mindreading, to stop predicting each other, and to start actually reconnecting with your partner with fresh eyes. And it’s a great way of getting the spark and excitement back into the relationship.
I love it when I hear my clients say things like:
“Wow, I never knew that about you!”
“You’ve never told me that you thought that way!”
“I would never have been able to guess that you felt that way”
So why don’t you try to stop predicting what your partner is going to say, and start asking! Here are some questions to get you going: