How To Ask For What You Want From Your Partner

Find the article online here.

How to ask for what you want is often about two separate components: communication and self-confidence.

We have to believe we deserve whatever we are asking for, and feel self-confident in making our requests.  Many of us tend to deny ourselves the opportunity to ask for what we want because we don’t want to impose, be inconsiderate, be selfish etc.  But it is important to encourage ourselves to speak up with confidence in our voices, and feel empowered to treat ourselves to what we deserve.  Respect yourself as much as you respect your partner and make sure to consider yourself and your feelings by asking for what you want.  Your partner always has the ability to say no (and this is the most important detail to remember)!  You cannot remove anyone’s power (nor they yours) without their (or your) allowance.

Another part of asking for what you want is finding comfortable ways to communicate with your partner.  Once you believe you deserve to get what you want, you can start working to find your comfortable language to be assertive.  Often I make a request while sharing how I feel, so I try to avoid you statements while speaking of how I feel or what I would like and why.  I also ask my partner how they would feel if… to find out where they stand about the things I desire.  I make sure to listen to their response, and consider what I am willing to fight for, and what I can let go of.  I make sure to ask my questions or express my thoughts, and then wait for my partner to discuss their reaction to my request in their own time.  


Know you deserve whatever it is you desire and find a comfortable way to ask for it that shares why it is meaningful to you.  Sometimes it can be very hard to speak up for ourselves and feel entitled to what we want, but often our partners are happy to take care of us if they understand how to! 

Lisa Resnick, MA, EdM, LMHC

www.lisaresnicktherapy.com

 

 

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Creating Space for Emotional Openness

An excerpt from this article was recently published on Relationship Advice Cafe and I am happy to share this with all of you in its full, unedited version.  I am proud to have been included in this “expert” collaboration to help people learn about ways to achieve, create and maintain healthy relationships.  Thank you for reading!  

Opening up emotionally is about trust, and trust builds and strengthens in a relationship as the relationship progresses. Some people have an easier time trusting partners quickly, while others need a lot of time to adjust before they can share their emotions. To be emotionally open in a relationship can cause us to feel vulnerable and so trust acts as a safety net for when we start to share who we are. Trust is something that we can build and the following are some stepping stones along that path.

Before you start to hold expectations of others, it is important to get to know them and understand them. You cannot force anyone to change or be who you want them to be, so it is important first to start with what you know. Is this person looking for an emotional relationship? Has this person been involved in an emotional relationship before and how did it go? What has this person’s life been like, and what messages have they been given about emotionality? How we feel about our emotions and the emotions of others contributes to our willingness to participate in an emotionally intimate relationship. If the person you are involved with is not interested in an emotional relationship, there is little you can do to change that, BUT if the individual is open to building an emotional bond than growth is possible!

After you understand who your partner is, what they are looking for and what they are comfortable with, the next step is to grow to accept them for who they are, how they feel and what they want. Acceptance is a crucial component to building trust and emotional connection in a relationship because if we do not feel free to be who we are, it is much harder to build trust, and even harder to express emotions. If we can accept our partners for who they are and where they are (emotionally), we can support them to grow and change without creating pressure or imposing expectations. We should accept others as they are, meet them where they are, and appreciate what they have to offer.

Learn to understand what being “emotional” is for this individual and consider how humans are all different emotionally. Being emotional can be so many different things, and until you know what it means for your partner, than you could miss it being demonstrated. We are all unique, and it is important to understand each other as individuals. Just because your partner appears unemotional to you, does not always mean that they are unemotional. It is unnecessary to be judgmental about how your lover loves, instead learn to see through your partner’s eyes to understand who they are and where they come from.

This kind of empathy requires deep listening and patience. Listening is not just to what your partner is saying, but to the meaning behind whatever words they express. He may say he “isn’t emotional” but what he may mean is that he does not know how to express himself, or that he is out of touch with his emotions or does not know how he feels. Ask him what he means and listen to his response even if it is “I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about it”. For some people who have never been in touch with their emotions, you may be asking them to learn another language overnight. Try not to assume your partner is similar to you emotionally, they may not be! Listen to them and allow them to share with you whatever they chose. Your openness will help them trust you which will in turn foster emotional relationship growth. When we are patient and allow others to be who they are and to achieve change at their own pace, then we also encourage acceptance, understanding, and decrease pressure all allowing trust to grow.

To encourage an emotionally strong relationship to blossom it is important to have realistic expectations of your partner, understand and accept them as they are, and have empathy (through listening and patience). Trust and effort on behalf of everyone included is key to building the relationship you desire!

 

How to Fight Fair in a Relationship!

An excerpt was featured on Relationship Advice Cafe at this link, but below is the entire article I wrote about learning to manage conflict and disagreement productively in a relationship.  Id certainly be curious to hear your thoughts folks!

How to Fight Fair.  Or as I call it, learning to argue.

Fights are not really about conflict or arguing, but often begin because someone has an issue, emotion, or opinion that is not being listened to or understood.  Dealing with conflict starts with listening.  Think about your last argument: If you felt listened to and understood would you need someone to agree with you?  

If we listen before we react defensively, (by trying to prove how right we are or how right our perspective is) then we can try to understand where our partner is coming from.  Because often it isn’t about what is said but the meaning behind it.  If you can listen to your partner and try to understand where they are coming from, than maybe instead of being defensive, both parties can be open to working towards compromise and resolution.  

The end goal of an argument is what?  To be heard?  To be right?  To achieve change?  We need to change how we look at conflict resolution in our relationships and see that the end goal hopefully is to have your point heard and to achieve a compromised upon solution.   Don’t forget that arguments can be about all different types of emotions, but that anger is often rooted in pain and hurt.  These emotions arise in conflict and at times we further trigger them in how we argue.  Each one of us needs to get in touch with what hurts us, and why, to work to manage our anger and improve how we argue.  

A few things we need to remember when trying to fight fair beyond what has been stated above:

-Stop trying to be right.  What does it matter if you are right and the person you love isn’t speaking to you?  Is it that important to be right if it means you hurt your partner or create negativity in your relationship?  What does being right mean anyways?  We get so caught up in trying to prove our point, that we forget that the end goal is improving the relationship.

-Don’t be mean or bring up things from the past.  Being hurtful to your partner in an argument or referring to things that happened long ago is not only unfair, but also very unproductive.  If the goal truly is to have your feelings understood and validated, then attacking your partner with harsh words and grudges will only backfire by creating defensiveness and anger.  Not only that, but if you want someone to understand you, you have to try to understand them.  Relationships are a two way street and it is important to be considerate of your partner if you want them to be considerate of you, even in a fight.

-Accept that arguments are a part of being in a relationship.  If you learn to argue productively, disagreements can function as inspirations for change and opportunities to strengthen your bond as a couple.  Moving through conflict can create greater trust and relationship security.  Many couples find that arguments are a healthy way to address tension and navigate concerns.  

If we can listen, understand and remember our end goal (a loving and harmonious relationship) then we can learn to use disagreements as a tool to improve our connection as opposed to something that tears us apart.  Learn to argue from a place of love and acceptance and what once was a fight will become a productive exploration!  

PS Hurting someone physically or emotionally is never an option if you desire to have a healthy relationship.  Putting your hands on your partner or saying malicious things are not ok behaviors to engage in, even if you are angry.  These behaviors are abusive, can become habitual and often require you to seek help in addressing them.  If you find yourself in a relationship like this, or one that in any other way feels negative or unhealthy, please consider contacting one of the resources below.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

http://www.thehotline.org

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

National Dating Abuse Helpline

http://www.loveisrespect.org

1-866-331-9474

National Youth Crisis Line

1-800-442-HOPE (4673)

National Center for Victims of Crime

1-800-FYI-CALL