Not being seen is a chronic complaint couples bring to my office (or nowadays over zoom). “My husband bought me a deep fryer for my birthday,” cried one wife feeling very hurt and upset by her husband’s gesture. “He knows I don’t eat any fried foods, so clearly it’s not a gift for me.” “Clearly he bought this gift for himself,” she sighed. “My wife gave me tickets to the Opera, for a Wednesday evening,” complained one husband with exasperation. “She knows I play basketball every Wednesday night with my friends. How could she be so thoughtless?” The list of hurts over not being seen, heard and respected by spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends goes on and on. This year has been a real opportunity to pay closer attention to our partners, as well as cause unintentional pain. We’ve spent an unbelievable amount of time together as we never have before. For some, this time has been an opportunity to try and push forward an agenda of trying to be seen, without taking the time to see our partner. For others it’s been an opportunity to take turns to make sure each of your needs have been noted and met. Really showing your partner that they are important to you can be a challenge. At times it goes directly against your better wishes. Sometimes your partner wants to do something nice for you, but as in the examples above, instead of thinking about what you would like they make the mistake of imagining what they would like. In my family, the best gift anyone could give me is a deep tissue massage. My husband on the other hand dislikes being touched by strangers. One birthday, early on in our marriage, I made the HUGE mistake of throwing him a surprise party (I’ve always wanted one myself.) This went down like an overloaded cargo ship. It took him days to recover. I managed to make three mistakes with one party. A) He hates parties, B) He hates being the center of attention and C) He hates surprises. Needless to say, I was clearly thinking about what makes me happy when I planed the birthday and never imagined he could have been so hurt and upset. Not being seen, as many of you know, is super painful. Not being seen by the person whom you love most in the world is ten times worse. If you are struggling with being seen by your partner, feel free to send me a message. I’d love to help you out. When you can drop your fear of losing yourself at the expense of seeing your partner, they will double down on their efforts to make sure you are seen. It takes a wide leap of faith, but be rest assured this can happen. Wishing you a joyous and Happy Purim!
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