Can Asking Create Real Romance? - Retirement Net by Judith Sherven, PhD and James Sniechowski, PhD

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Can Asking Create Real Romance?

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Promoting trust and closeness is the payoff that’s worth the price.

Posted February 14, 2011

No matter how much two people have in common, they will always be different in many ways. And that can be challenging.

Do you feel you can speak up about issues that bug you, hurt you, scare you when your partner behaves in ways you don’t like? Or are you afraid that speaking up will threaten your relationship?

If you fear that speaking up will make too big a problem, then you’re voting for your fear and your loyalty to feeling that you lack value. Your fear won’t let you talk about changes you want (and we ALL want some changes in a long term relationship) and you’re insisting you aren’t worthy of having a voice—only your partner’s ways count. And that’s not romantic.

The other day Jim was touching up paint on molding he’d put up in our hallway upstairs—and he was standing on an antique carpet runner we’d purchased at an auction here.

Judith was horrified of a potential paint spill and shocked Jim would take the risk. So she said, “Jim, please don’t leave anything valuable around when you’re painting.” And Jim said, “I’m being careful.” Judith replied, “OK, but most accidents happen when we’re being careful. Please don’t do it.” In response Jim rolled up the rug and vowed he’d never do it again. He wanted her to be comfortable and not worried. And it created the experience of real romance.

If Judith hadn’t spoken she would have stewed over how dumb Jim can be, how his parents were dumb not to teach him to protect things and she would have built a private case against Jim, distrusting him more and more, undermining our relationship and destroying the very real romance that we share. That’s the destructive power of not speaking up!

With real romance as your guide, love is based on continually creating the relationship, and very often that requires asking for things to change. Then both people are loved for who they are and feel safe to speak up.

Don’t cheat your love by hiding your complaints or desires—it needs the fertilizer of your speaking up!

Judith & Jim are the best selling authors of five relationship books and co-founders of—the information hub for living to 120, 130, 150 and beyond. Get your Free Alert, “10 Dangerous Beliefs About Aging and How To Avoid Them” by going to


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