By Jonathan Glover
If your partner tells you that they are not feeling well today, are they just telling you that they are unwell, or is that a coded message that they would really like you to do the job of picking up the kids for their soccer practice?
Understanding and decoding the subtle, not-so subtle, and underlying hints that are designed to tell you what your partner really wants, not what they are saying, is a skill that could make a big difference to your relationship.
Failure to successfully decode exactly what your partner is really saying could ultimately mean that you get acquainted with a site like divorceguru.com, so here is a look at how to pick up on those subtle hints and coded messages.
Short on mind-reading skills
Men and women both have different ways of saying things to their partner and there can sometimes be a communication breakdown as a result of these different ways of expressing ourselves, hence the popular expression about men being from Mars and women from Venus.
Women are generally considered to be pretty adept at manipulating men to get them to do what they want them to do, but more often than not, the expectation is that a man will be able to read their mind and understand what their partner wants, but the reality is that mind-reading skills are often in short supply in the majority of men.
Whether you agree with the observation that women tend to be passive-aggressive in order to get what they want or not, the most obvious point to make is that men don’t always get the message that is being conveyed.
Interpreting the meaning behind the message
A classic example of how a woman can say one thing and mean another, would be with the stock reply to a question, which would go something along the lines of “no need to worry, I am fine”.
What this can actually mean is that they are not fine at all and this reply is really an invitation to get their man to ask what is wrong and then provide undivided attention while they proceed to say what is troubling them.
Another loaded question as far as men are concerned, is the one that is along the lines of “do I look fat in this?”, or “do you think I have put some weight on”?
Men at least tend to understand that this line of questioning is often calling for a sympathetic response, and is really a coded request for some reassurance that they still look attractive and that you still only have eyes for them.
Answering that sort of question in any other sort of negative way, is likely to have repercussions in the short-term.
It always pays to ask
No one ever said that relationships were easy and it is certainly easy to get confused with what your partner is really trying to say, which is why it is a better strategy to simply ask what it is they are attempting to convey, albeit indirectly.
It can often be the case that the best approach is to just ask when you are not sure what your partner’s subtle clues really mean. That is definitely a better approach as opposed to guessing or misinterpreting their true meaning, delivered in a coded message.
Jonathan Glover is a marriage and family therapist who writes for dating, relationship and marriage advice blogs around the web.