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Sometimes we can get into trouble in romantic relationships if we expect our partner to “just know” what we need without us even having to ask. This is a romantic idea—the thought that you and your partner would be so in sync that you would meet each other’s needs without any negotiation. But it’s not realistic.

We’re So Different!

The reality is that we are all different, with different personalities, needs, wants, and preferences. Because of our differences, we might not be in tune with what our partner needs, if those needs are different from our own.

So, what’s the solution? How can we get our needs met in relationships with all our differences?

Talk About It

The answer is simple, but it’s not always easy: You have to talk about it. You have to put your needs, wants, and preferences out on the table, and create space for your partner to do the same. If you make this communication a regular thing, you will be better able to find creative solutions and compromises that best meet both of your needs. It won’t be perfect—because you aren’t the same person. But it is definitely more effective than hoping the other person will “just know” what you need.

How to Do Vacation

Here’s a quick example from our relationship. Jenn and I tend to do family vacations a bit differently. Jenn is a maximizer—she wants to get every last second of time with her family. In the past, she would want to get on the earliest possible flight, and even fly back on the morning she had to start work. I value family also, but some of the ways she wanted to do vacation weren’t very relaxing for me. I would get home and feel like I needed a vacation from my vacation.

Find the Compromise

Talking about our differences didn’t automatically solve our conflict. We still had our differences and preferences. But we were better able to find a compromise that could meet both of our needs as much as possible. And that’s really all you can ask for in a relationship.

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