Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Caring is when one member of a partnership puts self aside and nurtures the other. It’s like being a positive parent when the other is in need. Vital to the caring factor is the perception of need. It must be a real need.
Your Caring Check List
1. Make sure you are meeting a real need. Caring behaviors, when not needed, are intrusive and smothering. Suzanne’s ex-dating partner no doubt would say he was only being romantic, when actually he was smothering and controlling.
2. Make sure you are meeting the right need. Suzanne's friend who was newly separated from her husband was in need of diapers and money for daycare. He ignored her need but dropped off a romantic poem telling her how much he wanted her back. The poem felt like a slap in the face.
3. Caring is given without expectation of immediate reciprocity. Of course there is an expectation that when you do have a need that the other person will be there for you.
“I’m feeling really red-faced because I’m guilty of the smothering thing. I guess I rationalized it by thinking it’s not enough to say I care, I have to show it. After listening to Suzanne I can see where I’ve been guilty of smothering and then feel resentful when they pull away. It’s like a cycle for me. I give and give and then start to notice that I’m getting nothing back. Then I feel resentful and really work that resentment until I blow up. Then I feel guilty and it starts all over again with give and give. I’m dependent on care-taking to feel good about myself.”
You Teach People How to Treat You
This brings up another key point for you to remember. You teach people how to treat you. Amy was the designated giver and taught her partners to be takers. Their needs were initially met, but later they resented Amy’s control over them. Amy rated herself as a ten on the category of caring. When I asked her to rate the caring factor for the usual type of man she has dated in the past she said, “I think most of them would be a four or five, but then I taught them how to be a one or two.”
How did you rate yourself on the caring category?
No matter your score, your best match will be with another who scores in the same range as you. When your caring scores are highly discrepant, someone is always the designated giver and taker; in the long run, never a good situation for either person. Now that you rated yourself on the extent to which you value both companionship and caring we’ll look, on the next post , at Intimacy, the category dealing with communication of feelings.
Link to my new book on Amazon:Win at Love!: 5 Hidden Forces to Make It Happen