Identifying what it is that you are looking for in your relationship is a good first step because most people don’t do this. While they don’t clearly define their expectations, on some level, they’re aware that they’re not getting something met in the relationship. This is what I call unspoken expectations. By making a list of what you want in your current relationship those unspoken expectations are brought to the surface.
We must communicate our needs and wants to our partner for them to be aware of what we want. Often in a relationship, we feel that our partner should somehow magically know what we want and what we need. We are different and individual beings, who think differently and see and react to things in a different manner. Thinking that somehow our partners can work out what we want, and need leads to disappointment.
Clear communication is the first step in getting your wants and needs across to your partner. Unfortunately, we tend to communicate our wants and needs by saying things like “I need you to support me better, and you don’t.” We state our need, but then we attack our partner. It is like saying I need ……..and is your fault I don’t have……..
The first reason why you don’t have what you want and need is that you don’t ask and the second reason is that if you do ask, you ask in a way that repels your partner instead of engaging them.
The best approach to a conversation where you are explaining to another person what it is you need is to stick to using ”I” language. When we use this type of language, we are saying I need…… and when I don’t have it I feel……. You own the need, and you own the way you feel when the need is not met. Conclude by asking your partner if you both can talk about how your need can be met in the relationship without dramatically compromising them. Now, remember this works both ways. Your partner can do the same when speaking with you.
Communication in this way at least gets across your wants and needs in the relationship in a way which is least likely to cause a negative reaction. Any movement towards meeting your partner’s needs makes them happier, and that happiness feeds back into your relationship.
© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2018