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  • One of the most obvious but in practice very hardest things to ask a partner, even one

  • we name in our will and whose life is entirely entwined with ours, is: 'Do you still love

  • me?' There would be so many reasons why they might not do so anymore: we might have

  • driven them to the limit with our admittedly at points really rather challenging behavior.

  • We're not getting any younger. There are a lot of other peopleespecially at work

  • and in the invisible parts of their lifewho would have great things to offer them. It's

  • hard to trust anyone, given what can happen. Furthermore, the signs aren't necessarily

  • very good at the moment. They spend a lot of time on their phones. They're a bit distracted.

  • Their thoughts seem elsewhere. We powerfully long for reassurance and at the same time

  • what we would need to get this reassurance presents terrors of all its own. It would

  • mean revealing the extent of our vulnerability and of the scale of their power to hurt us.

  • It would mean having to admit how much of our life is in their hands and how deeply

  • we depend on their good opinion of us for our psychological survival. Sometimes the

  • cost can feel just too highespecially if we grew up in families where we got little

  • reassurance that another person would understand our needs. It seems better not to ask too

  • directly. At the same time, their disengaged manner is unbearable as well. In the circumstances,

  • we may find ourselves carrying out one of the strangest manoeuvres witnessed in relationships.

  • We may seek to get their attention accompanied by their anger as opposed to their attention

  • accompanied by their love. We choose to pay the lower price of seeking signs that they

  • remember we exist as an alternative to the far more arduous, rejection-risky task of

  • securing proof that they still love us. ©Flickr/Ashley Webb

  • So we wait until they are tired and fed up and launch a volley of accusations: you never

  • do much around the house, your job doesn't pay enough, you've become very dull. Or,

  • at dinner with friends, we loudly tell a story about something that happened during their

  • parent's messy divorce. What we are really trying to say is: I love you so much. I rely

  • on you to give sense to my life. But instead we have managed to work them up into a rage

  • and ensured they will say brutal things to us. Of course, their mind is fully trained

  • on us. Butwith a horrible ironyit's far from the kind of attention we were seeking.

  • We who crave their kindness, their enthusiasm, their warmth, their compassion, their tenderness

  • and their constructive intelligence to engage with our needs are on the receiving end of

  • their (very understandable) frustration, disappointment, wounded pride and self-protective anger. We

  • should have the courage of our longings. We should build relationships where it is natural,

  • and therefore not too frightening, to seek and receive on a regular basis basic reassurance

  • that we are wanted. We should make friends with our own extreme dependence and not see

  • it as a sign of either shame or evil. Furthermore, when we next find ourselves on the receiving

  • end of some utterly unfair accusations or aggression from our partner, we should bear

  • in mind that they have probably not turned monstrous: they are simply trying to secure

  • a reminder that we care for them in the only way they know how, by driving us mad.

  • Our Relationships Reboot Cards inspire conversations that can help to rekindle

  • love between you and your partner.

One of the most obvious but in practice very hardest things to ask a partner, even one

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 UK reassurance attention seeking accompanied partner love

How to Get Attention Without Attention-seeking

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    王詩雯 posted on 2019/06/12
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