Ask Dr. Z
By Laura Zipris, Psy. D., LMHC
Dear Dr. Z.,
Is it wrong to say that I hate roses? My husband brings me flowers only one time a year on Valentine’s Day. For years I have feigned joy and excitement about the dreaded bouquet but I fear that I may not be able to keep up this act much longer. Not only do I find the purchase a waste of our hard earned money, but I view it as an obligatory gesture and a cop out. The gift actually makes me angry, but I say nothing to him because I do not want to discourage his one attempt at romance.
The Rose Rebel
Dear Rose Rebel,
I am very clear about what it is that you do not want from your husband on Valentine’s Day but you haven’t stated what it is that you DO want. This is an all too familiar scenario between couples. In relationships we often assume that our partner’s “SHOULD” know what we like, dislike, want, or desire yet we fail to mention it all to them. We are then left feeling disappointed when they “fail us”. In your case, not only have you not expressed your feelings, but you have actually been reinforcing the wrong message (which will only ensure that you receive the “dreaded roses”). Here is a news flash: “YOUR PARTNER CANNOT READ YOUR MIND!” It may be your belief that if you tell your husband how he can best demonstrate his love to you then the act itself will become less romantic or hold less meaning. This is just simply not true! It is quite romantic to know that your partner wants to please you! You are doing your relationship a disservice to keep your husband in the dark about your feelings, as you are not honoring his efforts and you are not getting what it is that you ultimately want.
I suggest that you and your husband work on “A Loving Behaviors Checklist.“ Think about which caring behaviors your partner does now, used to do, or has never done that would make you feel loved. Then exchange your lists so that you will both know exactly how to hit your partners “love button.” View this checklist as a blueprint on how to unconditionally “gift” one another with meaningful acts that are sure to hit the mark. May this be the Happiest Valentine’s Day yet!
Laura Zipris holds a doctorate in Psychology and is licensed to practice psychotherapy in New York, as well as in Florida. Laura is certified in Imago Relationship Therapy, a transformational approach that has been used successfully with couples around the world to help them to strengthen their partnerships, deepen their connection and reignite their passion for one another. Laura sees individuals of all ages and sexual orientations, couples, families, and groups in her offices located in Wellington and Delray Beach. In addition to her psychotherapy practice, Dr. Zipris works part time as a licensed school psychologist for the Palm Beach County School District.
For more information about Laura, please visit her website at www.drlaurazipris.com or to set up an appointment, contact Laura directly at (561) 558-7815.
Questions for this column should be sent to Dr. “Z” at Drlaurazip@gmail.com