Dear Christine, Asking in Ann Arbor

Dear Christine,

I’ve met someone that I really like a lot. Attraction is very important to me and we have chemistry like I’ve never felt.  I know a long term relationship needs more though. So far, the only issue I see is that my new love isn’t much of a talker.

I try to get conversations going and she comes back with answers short and sweet but offers little more than she has to.

Besides the physical, I also love deep conversations on all kinds of topics.

Is there a way to help someone be better at communication? I do really like her. She’s kind and beautiful, successful and she loves my kitty cats.

Am I asking for too much?


Asking in Ann Arbor

Dear Asking,

You start your question stating that you know a long term relationship needs more than chemistry and attraction.  My question to you is, what else do you need?  Is this relationship enough for you the way you both are for her?  For you?

Your relationship history has taught you that a long term relationship needs and conversations and exchanging deep thoughts as well as physical attraction.  The Japanese call falling in love  “love psychosis”!  It is an amazing and wonderful state of being that doesn’t last more than 6 months to 3 years, so finding more than chemistry and physical attraction is helpful.

Remember that “love psychosis” can draw us into a mismatched relationship in our needs for  touch and sex drive, to politics, religion, lifestyle  (eating, entertainment, socializing or not) and other values, including conversations.  Some people are shy and but open up when they feel emotionally safe.  Others don’t process out loud but may have many deep thoughts.  Some people talk all the time to fill a void of silence they find uncomfortable.  Some people like philosophical conversations  while others like to debate. S  ome like to just listen.

Look at your relationship history, including your family of origin.  What sort of people are you comfortable with?  Talkers?  Quiet people?  What sort of friendships have been lasting to you?  What others have you dated or had a relationship with and how well were you two matched?  What ended that relationship?  Was it satisfying to both of you?

Also, look at your partner.  What sort of relationships has she had?  Does she feel over-talked and prefer quiet company of togetherness?  What has ended her prior relationships?  What sort of family is she from?  A large family that talks competitively where she never could get a word in edgewise so she gave up trying?  A quiet family where no one talked much, but they were comfortable being with each other in silence?

If she won’t talk with you about these issues, try writing letters to her and invite her to share some of her thoughts and experiences in relationships with her.  What are her needs in a long term relationship?  Do her expectations and needs match up with yours?

Keep asking questions.  Whatever you decide, you will have learned valuable lessons about you and your needs.

Keep in touch,

Christine C Cantrell, PhD.
Licensed Psychologist

Christine C. Cantrell, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Prism of Possibilities Psychotherapy
1026 W. Eleven Mile Road, Suite C
Royal Oak, Michigan 48067
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