PQ 13.5 — Are there specific things I can ask my partners to do for me to help me feel loved and cared for?

a cup of coffee with a heart-shaped winking face drawn in the foam
Image by Sean Ellis / CC BY

PQ 13.5 — Are there specific things I can ask my partners to do for me to help me feel loved and cared for?

*

I’m sitting and having coffee with a friend of mine I haven’t seen in a while. She looks great. Lots of things are going right for her at the moment. Except…

“It feels like the spark is gone,” she says.

“Oh?” I say. “Well, you have been together for a while. New relationships have a distinctly different type of energy than older ones.” I talk about the Greek concept of many kinds of love — particularly focusing on pragma, mature love — what Dr. Robert Sternberg has essentially deemed companionate in his triangular theory of love.

She considers all of this, before saying, “I just wish he’d do the things he used to.” She says he used to go see plays with her, but it’s been ages since he went. And she can’t remember the last time he brought her breakfast in bed, something he did all the time when they were first dating.

“Have you told him this, that you miss that stuff? That you’d love it if he could do it again once in a while?” I ask her.

She shakes her head no.

“Really? Why not?” I say.

“Shouldn’t he already know?” she says.

“How?” I say.

She stares at me for a while. Finally, she says, “I don’t know. Because he loves me.” She looks out the window. “Or he did.”

“He does,” I say. His affection for her is painfully obvious to everyone who knows them.

“And besides,” she adds. “Wouldn’t that be bossing him around? Telling him what to do? You know that’s not really my style.”

“Not at all,” I say. “Think of it this way. If he were in your shoes and really wanted you to do something, would you want him to say nothing and feel bad about it? Or would you want him to tell you?”

“Of course I’d want him to tell me,” she says.

“Then why are you denying him that same opportunity?”

*

This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.

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