The power of explicit communication

I had only one girlfriend so far, and we broke up because of a teddy bear.

That is exaggerating of course, there were other issues, but the teddy was a symbol.

The story goes like this: we met, dated, had sex.

I started to withdraw, and she started to become increasingly stressed because of this. For example, she tried to make me jealous (“what do you think of this guy?”), which didn’t work.

She shared with me “I like Sarees” when I mentioned that I was going on a trip to India.

I also like Sarees (on women), but I didn’t think much of that comment. I went to India, and got her a teddy bear, because Valentine’s day was coming up.

It was supposed to be a surprise, but on a video call she guessed what was in the bag. And she was not happy!

“I wanted a Saree and all you got me was this little teddy bear!”. At that point, I was still more unsure about myself and setting boundaries – so I said “of course not”, went out and bought a necklace. We ended up not spending Valentine’s day together – and I gave back the necklace;

If I had known (or understood) that she wanted a Saree, I would have gotten her one. She could have even picked the color! Explicit communication, please!

And if she likes suprises, the teddy could have been on top of the Saree – and we could have had a nice Valentine’s with two surprises.

Possibly there’s cultural differences, and yes, maybe from her point of view I need to show up as a provider with higher materialistic investments.

But I will not turn mind-reader – this is a dangerous path to thread, and there’s lots of women out there who don’t need me to thread it.

The teddy was a symbol of what was going wrong between us – we were not expressing our needs to each other, and were not communicating explicitly. The teddy was a symbol of “I’m thinking about you” from my side.


Later, after we had broken up already, she actually tried to talk one of my best friends into buying her a Saree. He didn’t understand this at all.

Her best chance would have been to communicate directly with me: “Cool, you’re going to India? Can you bring me a blue Saree? Maybe if you send me some pictures while you’re there, I can tell you which ones I like”

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

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