When studying for a Masters in counseling psychology with an emphasis on Marriage Family Therapy, we were taught to encourage each partner to ask for their needs and then support each other in giving and receiving.
This wasn’t the first time I had heard this idea. I had always believed that this sort of communication was not only important but mandatory for successful couples.
We’re supposed to express our needs to our partner and they’re supposed to hear us and respond to them. After all, we’re a couple and our goals are supposed to align with each other through good communication.
But then I realized that what I’d learned in school and what I’d gathered on my own just didn’t always work in the real world. For me, this busted a major relationship myth.
In truth, this supposed to is often at the heart of all relationship issues and, in all honestly, no one can actually meet your needs but you.
It’s a conditioned belief that our partner should fill our holes and empty spaces for us in order for us to have a loving and co-creating partnership.
Those shoulds and the belief that someone is supposed to satisfy all your needs kills intimacy and ultimately separates you from your beloved.
When you pressure a partner they usually don’t respond well. They don’t want to give when asked. They want to give only when they feel like it, or are inspired, or desire to based on their own from their innate, organic loving feelings.
I mean, who wants to deliver when someone is demanding to be heard, to be given to, or to be appreciated, and seen?
If the situation were reversed wouldn’t you be like, “Hey, this isn’t my responsibility, do it yourself!” It causes resentment and anger and puts pressure on the relationship. It’s a no win situation. No one wants to be told what to do. They want to only offer when it feels true.
I learned this the hard way because I believed my partner should meet ALL of my needs. And then I changed my whole perspective. It may be radical and it may sound crazy. But it works and I’ll share my secret with you:
Don’t ask for anything. Be generous, be kind, be loving, be supportive, be the person you want the other to be in relationship.
They will appreciate it so much that they will want to make a difference for you. They will treat you like a king or queen. Of their own accord they will seduce you, love you, give to you, and respect you.
And so you might say, “I’m not a wallflower. I deserve better. And how do I get what I want when he/she is totally unaware of my needs? I’m not into placating them and anyway, it doesn’t make a difference.”
But that’s the they should act a certain way belief coming through again.
Let them be selfish. Let them not think of you. Let them be obsessed with their own anxieties, their work, their own needs.
Give them the right to be a human person, like you.
In my own relationship I notice that if I lead by example, if I hold a positive attitude, if I take a back seat and let things pass over, if I focus on what gives me joy and saturate my day-to-day in personal fulfillment and let that spread throughout my life, my beloved wants to be closer to me.
He sees it. He feels it. It makes all the difference. He comes to me for advice. He’s willing to listen to my feedback. He wants more of me.
He comes up behind me at the kitchen sink and thanks for me for all that I do. He respects me enough that when I do have something to say, he’s open to hear it. He’s receptive. He wants to learn. He’s more open and giving when I am detached from needing something from him.
Believe me, I’ve tried for years to fight for my needs to be seen, appreciated and loved.
The only way through is to put the weapons down and surrender, and then GIVE love yourself.
It works. It takes patience and asks you to offer loads of space. It takes kindness and gentleness, even when you might feel slighted by a lack of appreciation or validation. It takes letting go of control and letting the other find their own path, their own awareness.
May all your needs be met within!
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