It’s all about their true feelings…and yours.
“True feeling justifies whatever it may cost”
Everyone wants to know if their partner really loves them. Which one among us hasn’t occasionally wondered how loved they are.
Most theories that address relationships focus on how romantic partners feel about each other, but according to John Gottman and his behavioral approach, you need to focus first on the outward signs to understand if they really love you. This approach derives from the supposition that discernable actions provide, in many cases, stronger evidence about what’s going on inside a person than any possible suppositions on the potential meaning of what they say.
I’ve taken this opportunity (and frankly, the liberty) of translating some of Gottman’s theory—along with information from other related psychological research—into important thoughts for you to use in an effort to gain a better understanding regarding the depth of you and your intimate partner’s feelings. So here goes….
Spends time with you.
Wanting to invest their personal time into your relationship is a key marker for a successful long-term intimate relationship. According to one recent theory, even though both of you might be tied up with work, family, and/or other obligations, someone who really cares about you and your relationship will make it a point to spend some alone time together—with you.
Wants to know about your day.
It is pretty simple, but important all the same. Think about it; during the time you spend together, does your partner show interest in—and ask about—your day? Do they enquire about the high and low points of your work? Couples actually develop their love for each other on the practical day-to-day events that provide topics to discuss, thereby keeping communication routes open.
Partners who truly care about each other will almost always give the benefit of the doubt. It has been called “the assumption of positive intent.” Research indicates that in successful long-term relationships, partners want to have a sense of knowing where their mates are at any given time. That being said, they don’t often want to know because it causes them to worry that their partners might be up to something nefarious. However, it demonstrates a continuing interest in their partner. They don’t question where you are if you come home late, and they don’t snoop through your cellphone bills. This lack of concern demonstrates again the kind of trust that displays true caring.
Helps when the chips are down.
As busy as we all get, adding extra chores or duties to your day may be the last thing you feel like doing; actually, I am pretty sure it isn’t. However, if your partner is a technophobe, and you’re techno-savvy, you’ll happily help them out when something goes wrong with their home Wi-Fi network. In the same vein, when you really need something from the drug store and are too sick to go get it yourself, a partner who cares about you will happily run and get you what you need. They will take pleasure in taking care of you.
Respect one another’s views.
If recent research on complementarity in relationships is correct, it’s possible for you and your partner to be on completely opposite poles of the political spectrum and still enjoy years of happiness together. The key feature is not what your beliefs are, but how open you are to be accepting of your partner’s perspectives as valid. Let’s say you’re an ardent feminist and your partner maintains pre-1970s views about women in the workplace. If he truly cares about you, he’ll at least listen to you when you express concern about women’s rights and their relevance in the 21st century workplace.
Making decisions together.
Couples decide on everything from ordinary chores, to life changing issues concerning where—and how—to invest their income. It is probably sensible for each person to specialize in
Couples don’t have to engage in frequent wild sex, or frankly, even any sex at all, to be emotionally intimate. That being said, showing some sign of physical closeness, even if it’s resting a hand on your shoulder, suggests that your partner feels that fundamental connection to you.
Gazes at you.
The nonverbal cues that intimate partners share with each other reveals their deeper feelings. If your partner looks at you while you’re talking, or if you catch him or her darting a glance your way, this can suggest that he or she is taking pleasure in being with you. You don’t need to spend hours gazing into each other’s eyes for this to work; even a quick glance can be enough to send positive, love-confirming, vibes. Try it.
Enjoys talking about the past.
Couples who spend time recalling their enjoyable experiences from the past in a positive and supportive way strengthens their ties to the present and into the future. If your partner uses phrases like:
“Remember the time we…?”
…and then proceeds to tell a great story from your past suggests that you and your shared times together play an important role in their mind.
Goes to bat for you and your relationship.
Does your partner defend you when someone else criticizes you, or does he or she join in the critique? We have all found situations in classical literature where people who truly care about each other risk their own well-being/fortune for the other’s welfare. Partners in more ordinary relationships can still show their love for each other by coming together against any and all outside attacks.
In a study of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals in close relationships, San Francisco State sexuality researcher David Frost found that many subjects who felt stigmatized because of their relationships drew strength from each other and felt that they bonded more closely in the face of adversity.
You feel good about yourself.
A partner who truly cares about you—through their actions and love—boosts your self-esteem and the sense of who you are. If nothing else, being with someone who makes you feel valued gives you some of the strongest positive reinforcement there is. We all want to be with people who make us feel good. This doesn’t mean that you’ll always have fabulous days and nights where you never argue or grow annoyed with each other. However, for the most part, if you feel that your partner helps boost your self-confidence, you’ll not only be more likely to want to spend time together, but you’ll also regard yourself more positively in the times that you’re apart.
I didn’t number the thoughts above because there’s no set number of those that indicate completely whether a specific partner hits above or below the threshold for being truly loving. However, if you can use them as signs, as a guide, you can gain some important insights into your relationship’s strengths and weaknesses. From there, if you are so inclined, you can address the areas of weakness and grow your relationship to the best it can be. By the same token, if you want your partner to feel truly loved, ask yourself honestly how you would rate on the indicators I listed above.
Perhaps it’s time for you not only to count the ways that you’re loved, but the ways that you show your love. Remember, love is a verb, not a noun.
So, what do you think? Do they love you? You might need to talk about what matters to you…your true feelings?
If you are, give me a call so we can talk about it… schedule a time for a free call and tell me about it.
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