Sometimes, I just get upset with my boyfriend. Not for the annoying things he does, but for the things that he doesn’t do. Somehow, I’ve got in my head that because we’ve been living together for a while now, he should instinctively know what I want. After all, that’s the best testament to his love for me, right?
Alternatively, I find myself reluctant to express my desires. Truth be told, I have too much pride to ask for what I want, and still feel disappointed when it isn’t just handed to me. I find explicitness to be so unromantic!
Unfortunately, this has caused most of our disagreements. All of a sudden, I am giving my boyfriend the silent treatment, and he is left helpless and confused; uncertain about why I am upset again.
Why do we find it necessary to test our partner’s love? How would this affect our relationship?
A Disaster Waiting to Happen
It is common for partners to test each other. A poll confirmed that 3 out of 5 women test their significant others to see if the relationship will last. However, many partners flunk the test without knowing it was given. The results showed 46 percent of men fail the majority of it.
The desire to test a partner may come from several factors. But to a great extent, it is more about the tester.
According to Louise Curling et al., “constantly needing to test people, particularly when it’s your closest romantic partner, can be seen as an extreme manifestation of the emotion of jealousy.” In some cases, they may have experienced neglect or abandonment as children.
It is an expression of being emotionally insecure, one that is usually founded and built from their history. But most of the time, testers do mean well. All they want is an assurance of love and validation from their partner.
Testing is a roundabout way of asking for what you need without really being in touch with it. In this way, you don’t set yourself up for rejection. Personally, I conduct my tests because it feels better than making myself vulnerable to my boyfriend.
Consequently, setting up tests creates unnecessary conflict and can become destructive for the relationship. You become upset because you didn’t get what you didn’t ask for. Meanwhile, your partner may feel that they cannot do anything right, or that you have such a low opinion of them.
Ultimately, you create what you fear, and set both of you up for disappointment.
Stop Testing, Start Asking
Being healthy requires being uncomfortable.
According to therapist Kelley Kitley, “Relationships need to be built on trust, not ultimatums. We want our partner to read our minds and go to any length for us which is unrealistic and based on a fairytale. Taking an open, honest approach is the best bet.”
Therefore, it is important to recognize your behavior and check your motives. When you assess what you’re really looking for, and directly ask for it, your partner will appreciate the trust and work with you.
It is only through an honest and open discussion about your lingering doubts can both of you come to an agreed conclusion and solution.
After all, it is only normal to have moments of insecurity. You may have to be reassured at times. You may even want to be held, to talk to, or to be left alone.
All of these are fine. Chances are, your partner would much rather prefer to be approached directly than being secretly tested.
Furthermore, keep your relationship healthy by taking responsibility. Your lack of assurance may just be about you, rather than your partner. It is best if you addressed what is going on inside of you instead of projecting it into your relationship. A little self-reflection and awareness go a long way.
How can you truly love your partner when you don’t even know how to love yourself?
Part of the reason it’s so hard to quit testing and start asking is that you may never want to admit how much the answers matter to you. But doing this only keeps your relationship away from the truth.
The only way to come out on the other side feeling more complete for your relationship is to face your feelings and change your actions.
Maybe next time, just ask for what you want.