You Can't Read Each Other's Minds: How To Better Communicate In Your Relationship

by Gigi Engle

Before he walked into the bar, I had already decided I was going to be disappointed.

His profile said 5’11" and yeah, he was taller than me. His English accent was the same as it was after a three-hour phone conversation the night before. (He’d read me William Blake’s “Tiger Tiger” and I was convinced he was a keeper.) After so many failed first dates, I was sure this was one I could turn into… something.

Since I decided I was going to be disappointed for no real reason, the only logical solution I could come up with was to get impossibly drunk. After all, he was paying for the wine, so why not have five (or six) glasses?

I felt that if this was going to end up being another failed date (in a long line of disasters), why not just have fun and be a little crazy?

The thing was, after a few glasses of wine, nothing seemed too crazy. He was nice -- really nice. I realized I liked his laugh, even though it sounded like that of a cartoon character. He made me feel like someone special.

When I start to, as some Gen-Yers call it, “brown out,” I tend to go into a kind of state; close friends call it “Robotic Gigi.” The life drains from my eyes and I become sort of impartial to everything around me. I was Robotic Gigi after those five glasses of wine.

Apparently the invitation to his apartment did not register and I subsequently agreed. Suddenly, coming out of whatever haze I was in, I found myself in an apartment I didn’t recognize, kissing someone I didn’t know. I freaked, grabbed my sh*t and ran.

At home, I danced in my underwear until 4 am to Adele and Tegan and Sara until I was so sore I collapsed into bed. Completely wiped, I thought to myself:

“Okay, Gigi, you acted like a nutcase, but it’s okay. You don’t care. It was just another bad date. The best is yet to come.”

Then, like some enigma, he texted. He wanted to see me again. WHAT?! Wasn’t running away a glaring sign that I'm not relationship material? Guess not.

I was impressed. This sweet, British guy (gotta love an accent, right?) wanted to take me on another date, despite my acting completely insane. I had to hand it to him; that is some impressive wooing. I accepted our second date.

Three dates and one amazing blow job later, I was hooked. I didn’t care that he acted like he was smarter than me and reminded me, in the most unflattering way, of my eldest brother. I liked him -- a lot. So much, in fact, that I took two trains to Soho just to drink wine with this kid again.

On our fourth date, waxed and feeling confident, I let him have me -- long, hard and perfect. Amazing sex.

I don’t like to say that because, let’s be honest: Most sex is mediocre at best. Most of the time you have to fake an orgasm, but with this guy, I didn’t. I didn’t have to feel sorry for taking too long and didn’t have to worry that it was or wasn’t good enough for him. He was lucky, wasn’t he? Wasn’t I lucky? Couldn’t this be something?

As I was leaving, everything suddenly changed. I was no longer in control of the situation or of my own emotions. He didn’t offer to walk me to the train this time, even though he knew it made me afraid to walk alone (yes, even in Soho). He didn’t pay for my cab, either.

He let me walk out the door with barely a kiss goodbye. As I made my way down his pathetically narrow staircase, wondering what his two roommates must be thinking, I thought of what he said on our second (third?) date: “I love the chase.”

I felt alone in that moment. Why hadn’t he paid for a cab? Why did he sleep with me and not pay for a cab? He didn’t even offer to walk me to the train, even though it was a mere five-minute walk and I’d come so far just for this time. Why did I feel so angry?

I quickly realized something I probably should have long ago: He can’t read my mind.

I got on the phone with my mother. She’s the only one I can rant to without being second-guessed. She gave me her usual old-world wisdom: “A gentleman will pay for a cab.” She advised me never to see this British love-machine again. I couldn’t help but wonder, Was she right or was she lost in some past time where chivalry was still alive?

So many fights come out of the thought that we can read our partners minds. We tend to just expect them to know what’s wrong when we’re angry and to just be able to fix it. The truth is, they can’t read our minds.

It’s not so much about chivalry because I strongly believe there are still gentlemen out there who want to treat women well; rather, we have to be able to say what’s on our minds because, frankly, no one is capable of knowing when something is wrong without being honestly told.

When you declare, “I’m fine,” when you really aren’t, how is a guy supposed to know you aren’t actually fine?

How was this British guy to know I wanted him to give me cab fare if I just left his apartment and took myself home? I realized I didn’t have any right to be angry with him. Yes, maybe he should have thought to offer, but he wasn’t a mind reader.

It’s a lesson we ladies (and you gents, too) are all going to have to learn. Maybe if we all decide to grow a pair and learn to have realistic expectations, and maybe if we actually accept that the person we’re in a relationship with (or even just dating) is a human being, we can actually find happiness.

You know what else? You can’t read his mind, either. I decided because the guy I was dating didn’t offer to pay for a cab that he wasn’t interested in me. I made this assumption and had absolutely no solid evidence to support my claim.

He asked me out again. He was still interested. I’m no mind reader, either.

No one is perfect. There probably isn’t a guy who’s going to come along and somehow know when you’re upset or when you want something. Honestly, if you were dating a guy who always somehow knew what you were thinking and did everything you wanted, don’t you think you’d end up being bored with that person? The surprise and excitement would completely disappear. That kind of relationship probably wouldn’t lead to happiness, either.

There are ups and downs in every relationship. There are fights and ugly moments that can’t be avoided. The key is communication. If you don’t say what you want, you can bet your life you’re probably not going to get it.

Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Your partner doesn’t know what’s going on inside that head of yours. Being passive aggressive does no good and reaps no benefits. The only thing to do is grow a pair, say what you actually mean and ask for what you want.

Face the reality that you can’t read his mind, and that he, for certain, can’t read yours.

Photo via We Heart It