: 10 May 2013

Communication Sabotage: A Common Mistake Couples Make

My guy got upset with me the other night. It was just a little rift, but we haven’t had one in awhile so it really got my attention.
He said to me, “You think you know what’s going on in my head, and you don’t.”

He was right.

I do think I can read his mind. And I absolutely can’t. In fact, if I’m being real, there’s no other mind in the world that can confuse me more–which is part of why I like him so much. 🙂

Empathy and insight are two of my natural strengths (in work and in play), but these qualities are not the same as mind-reading. I forget this sometimes.

Once he brought this to my attention, I could see how I did the very thing I warn others against. I let my ego take control; I choose to see fear over love.

Here’s how it went down:

For whatever reason, hours before our presumed phone conversation I got stuck on the fearful thought, “He doesn’t want to talk to me tonight.”

Mistake #1: I *knew* he didn’t want to talk to me way before our conversation even existed! I convinced myself this was true, despite any evidence (a good indication that this reality was only happening in my head). Had I been paying closer attention, perhaps I would have noticed this red flag. I didn’t.

The fearful thought remained in my mind as my phone rang. And what did I do? I approached our conversation as if he was disinterested, of course.

Before we even got going, I was distant and short. Within a few seconds I ended the call abruptly (yes, I said seconds), failing to even ask how his day was. This, of course, was not very kind and didn’t feel so good to my guy.

Mistake #2: Fear trumped love. I care so much about my man–of course I want to know how he’s doing at the end of the day! Fear made me skip over this loving step, jumping right into see ya later! Not so cool.

It continues…

The next day I said to him, “You know, you don’t have to call me if you don’t want to talk.”

He responded, “What are you talking about? I know that.”

“Well, like last night, you didn’t have to call.”

“Shelly, it wasn’t me who didn’t want to talk last night…it was you.”

Oh. Shoot. He’s right. I did the very thing I was convinced he was doing. (Our partner’s really do reflect us back to ourselves! Projection is powerful.)

We have to be careful when it comes to our ego’s. They are sly and they are cunning. They will make us think we have this whole thing figured out, and really we’re just duped.

I thought I knew what was going on the other night. In fact, I thought I was doing him a favor. But in truth I just ended up being short and rude. That’s definitely not how I want to show up in my relationship; that’s not how I roll.

I’m grateful he called me out on it because now I can keep a closer watch on my mind-reading tendency. I’m committed to gaining consciousness, one step at a time.

The moral of the story is: beware of those irrational thoughts that veer you away from love. It’s these thoughts that cause us to push good things away. They convince us that something is wrong–when all that’s actually wrong is that we’ve attached to a fearful thought.

I apologized to my man, which of course he accepted, and I committed to work on my tendency to think I know what’s going on in his head. I’m grateful to have him by side–to make mistakes with, to be human with, to be confused about what’s happening in his mind, and to continue to learn the lessons of love.

If you have experience with “mind-reading” or attaching to ego thoughts, please share them below. I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Erin on May 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Oh all the time Shelly, but I’m starting to recognize my ego & catch it a bit earlier on now. I always attach a fearful thought of being hurt or rejected somehow by my partner as my ego loves control. When I cannot control something he is a part of my ego decides to create a story around what is going to ‘happening’ and its the worst case scenario every time. I’m slowly working on changing this thought pattern though, and starting to live from a place of love instead of fear.

  2. Leah on May 13, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks for the post. Yeah I have created a lot of anxiety in my life from thinking I could read minds. It wasn’t until I began speaking to someone about all of my anxiety that I realised how much unnecessary fear I projected on my experiences as a result. Meditation helped me overcome this tendency, although it still crops up from time to time, meditation reminds me to come back home in love and in the moment no matter what, first and foremost. From there all else falls into place. Speaking of which, It was you who inspired me Shelly to begin meditating! You put up a picture post about it and the message really hit home. I thought I might as well try, and then my councillor introduced it also, and it was a done deal. Now I meditate at least once a day, and experience less and less anxiety as a result. Thanks for sharing your gifts, you’re a real Star! 😀 XOXO

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Hi, I’m Shelly!

I’m a relationship coach, licensed marriage & family therapist, wife, girl mom, world traveler and… a damn good manifesting teacher.

On any random Saturday, you could find me hiking in the Redwoods with my family during the day AND relaxing to all songs on 🎶the foggy jazz🎶 station on Spotify in the evening with my man…

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