When you can’t get what you need in a relationship, it can be very frustrating. There are also times when you just know you are not asking for what you need because it is hard to do.
Maybe you don’t want to be ‘too needy,’ or you don’t realize you have old demons lurking in your head that keep you from being able to think about how to communicate in a healthy way.
Without realizing it, you may be self-sabotaging your own happiness and compromising what you want for the sake of others. If you want to know how to start asking for what you need, here are some tips to get started.
Why It’s Hard
Sitting down with a partner, friend, or family member to tell them what you need can be really challenging. Open, honest conversation is not always met with the ability to give what you want. It is hard to be vulnerable, to risk feeling like you might get hurt or hurt someone else with what you say.
When you communicate out of a place of your own desires, it is not wrong. Even with the best intentions, our words can be misunderstood.
Everyone has a different style of communication. Vulnerability is hard and risky, but it is worth it to get what you want in the end.
If that person cannot hear you without judgment, it can leave you feeling ashamed and afraid to ask for what you want next time.
Letting Go of Shame
Sweeping issues under the rug is not going to get the job done. If you don’t communicate well, it is hard to expect things to get better.
Letting concerns get the best of you is also difficult. You may end up resenting your partner, causing disconnection, misunderstanding, and fear.
This can end up breaking apart a relationship. Shame is a toxic emotion that comes out of fear. Learning to ask in a healthy way to have your needs met can be freeing.
How to Need Less
Needing what is healthy in a relationship is not a bad thing. The hard part is how you can feel comfortable communicating your desires without feeling like you are too ‘needy.’
The first thing to do is recognize you are a human being and you have needs. You deserve to feel like you are getting your needs met in a relationship. Personal fulfillment is all about being in a healthy relationship with your partner and feeling like you meet one another needs.
Your partner will want to hear what will make things better for you if they are healthy. If your partner is not in a healthy state of mind themselves, they may not know how to meet your needs and make you feel valued.
Couples counseling is always a good way to grow in your relationship and find hope in the midst of the challenges. If you are in a healthy relationship, you can feel your needs being met. You can need them less to fill your needs if you get your own met.
Express Your Needs
Sitting down with your partner should feel good. It should feel like you are able to meet them and come together to discuss important things without worry. It is important to express each other’s needs in the relationship.
Relationships are a two-way street and you both deserve to feel supported and loved. A healthy relationship should feel safe and those feelings ought to be heard and acknowledged. To remain in a relationship that consistently doesn’t meet your needs lowers your self-worth and value.
Strategies to Ask for Felt Needs
To help a partner make the most of your conversation, you should be a good observer. Watch their behavior and mannerisms.
Notice how they point out behavior to you and see if it is constructive. If it feels destructive or belittling, you are not being heard.
Here are some other helpful tips:
- Discuss difficult issues: don’t use opinions. Come to the table with facts about the difficult behavior they are exhibiting. If you don’t feel good about it, state that. “I felt hurt when you accused me of being overdramatic.”
- Notice the real feelings behind the feelings. Naming is quite important in conversation. If you present feelings honestly, you will be able to naturally explain what you felt, what you need, and allow them to love you enough to help make things right again.
- One request at a time. Don’t come at someone asking for multiple things. State one thing that will help. “If you took out the garbage, it would help me keep the kitchen clean.” Try to be constructive and use positive, reinforcing language so they feel heard and valued as much as you do in the conversation
The key is to have grace and realistic expectations. You cannot expect someone to do things right away.
They may not realize they’re doing anything wrong or incorrect. They may not be willing to change, either.
The key is to think about how you would feel if they said the same things to you. Be honest and upfront, but also don’t push too hard based on your own expectations. You can always find a way to re-engage when they are in a better frame of mind.
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