If you can’t find the words…here they are.
How comfortable are you expressing your needs in a relationship? Whether you’ve been together for a week, a month, or have just gotten married…communication is the very lifeblood of the bond between you and the person you love.
For some, communication is more challenging than others — particularly when it comes to expressing our own personal needs.
We know what we want, but we might not feel worthy of it. Or we may feel too demanding. Or we worry that our partner won’t be willing or able to fulfill our needs, and the relationship will crumble.
Or, maybe, we just simply don’t know what to say.
Below, we’ll go through some ways to phrase your needs to your partner and the reasons why they’re so powerful.
Remember — you deserve happiness too.
If you find yourself consistently expressing your needs to your partner, and they do nothing to meet them time and time again, it doesn’t mean that your needs are invalid…it means that the person you’re with doesn’t deserve your emotional investment.
1: I need us to feel safe opening up to each other.
Fear of judgment has no place in an intimate relationship. The strongest bonds are formed when two people are fully open and honest with each other about their past, present, and future — and can do so knowing their partner will not judge them for it.
If you feel your partner’s judgment towards you as you reveal your intimate thoughts and secrets to them, you owe it to yourself to explore how much they truly accept you for who you are, or if they are harboring negative feelings.
2: I need us to work on overcoming our challenges together, not ignoring them.
You’ll notice that communication issues lie at the heart of many of these points, because I believe that it’s a common challenge for some people or couples to overcome together.
What do people often do with things that make them uncomfortable?
Ignore, ignore, ignore.
But, we all know that you can’t drive down the road with a blindfold on and expect a smooth ride. The bumps in the road exist whether or not you choose to look at them.
Expressing this need is an integral part of forming a healthy and thriving relationship, because if you continue to ignore the little things, they’ll one day turn into big things.
3: It makes me feel special when you take part in my interests.
Think about how different this sounds from: “You never do anything that I like!”
One is accusatory, while the other accentuates a positive result you experience as a result of your partner’s actions. In this case, participation in the things that you enjoy.
4: Sometimes I need time by myself (or enter your need here) to recharge, and it has nothing to do with you.
All of us recharge our batteries in different ways. Some prefer company, others don’t. Some like to read, others to get lost in a TV show.
It’s important that we’re able to express this need, because just like any other battery, it’ll eventually drain if not tended to.
It’s also important for your partner to realize that your process of recharging doesn’t have anything to do with them. If you’ve always needed time alone, that doesn’t mean you’re proactively trying to get away from them, it just means that your process is a solo one.
No matter what your method of recharge is, it must be practiced — or you’ll feel depleted. Nobody wins in that scenario.
5: I feel even more connected to you when we do — XYZ.
In this scenario, XYZ could be an intimate example, or simply something like sitting on the couch together after a long day.
The idea here is to find a way to express what it is that makes you feel even more connected to your partner in a manner that makes them want to do more of it, as they crave that level of connection as well.
Don’t overlook saying “even more” here, even is there for a reason:
If you just say “I feel more connected to you when…” it sends the message that you’re currently not feeling connected, which can cause doubt in their minds.
On the other hand, saying “even more connected”communicates that you already do feel that bond, but doing more of XYZ will strengthen it even more.
6: It makes me feel loved when you do (insert love language).
Point #3 was about feeling special — feeling special and feeling loved are not the same thing.
You’re probably familiar with the 5 love languages, but a quick recap:
- Words of affirmation.
- Physical touch.
- Quality time.
- Gift giving.
- Acts of service.
Most of us have a top two or three that we resonate with the most deeply, and feeling love in those manners is what we really connect with.
If you’re all about words of affirmation and your partner is physical touch…they could be trying to express their love by touching you all the time, and you’ll just be left wondering why they’re not telling you how they feel.
Understanding (and acting upon) each others’ love languages is a strong way to show that we’re willing to put in the effort to give love to our partner in ways that they understand and absorb.
But, if you don’t communicate your love language(s) to them, you also cannot be upset when they don’t act upon them.
7: Sometimes I just need support, not solutions.
This one (mostly) needs to be communicated to the men, because men tend to go into problem solving mode when their partner is communicating a challenge to them, when in reality, she may just be seeking support and someone to listen to her while she figures out the solution herself.
If this is the case for you (regardless of gender), make sure you’re letting your partner know whether you’re looking for support, a solution, or both.
This will help them understand how to best show up for you during these times.
8: We have unlimited potential if we work together.
A statement of hope for creating a beautiful future together — a relationship is a team, and any great team understands the value of working together towards a common goal.
If you’re proactively building a future together, you’ve likely discussed the what/where/who of said future. What you want to achieve, where you want to live, who you want with you on the journey (family, kids, etc).
If you don’t feel like you’re collaborating enough with your partner to move your lives forward, it’s best to call it out before too much time goes by — but in a way that reminds him/her of the magic you’re capable of creating when you come together as one.
9: I need for both of us to take responsibility for our actions.
Personal accountability is huge in relationships. If you’ve ever dated anyone who refused to be wrong, you understand how valuable it is.
By expressing this need in this way, you’re also pledging to take responsibility for your actions while requesting that they do the same.
If they cannot do that for you/the relationship/themselves, then it’s a sure sign of more problems to come down the road.
10: I need for us to choose each other every day.
At the end of the day, what does a relationship’s success really boil down to?
It comes down to two people waking up every single day and choosing to love each other.
Choosing to overcome the bullshit.
Choosing to be intimate.
Choosing to show affection.
Choosing to overcome challenges.
Choosing to be loyal.
This does not mean choosing to tolerate abuse.
It does not mean accepting mistreatment.
It does not mean blindly staying with someone simply because you’ve been with them for so long.
It means cultivating healthy, happy, and secure love that both of you feel safe basking in.
It means looking forward to a bright and hopeful future together.
And it means making the promise to treat each other with love, respect, kindness, and dignity for the rest of your lives.
If that sounds like a big ask — that’s because it is. But, when you’re with the right person, they won’t see it that way.
Their only wish will be that they would’ve had more time to love you, as you’ll wish that in return.
When you find that person, you’ll feel secure expressing your needs to them because they’ll do everything they can to fulfill them.
Your happiness is their happiness, and vice versa.
The rest will work itself out.