How to Communicate Your Needs in a Relationship

How to Communicate Your Needs in a Relationship

We’ve all been there. Wanting out partner to change a particular behavior and finding it difficult to get the point across. Whether we want them to make the bed or clean up after themselves, we can easily become frustrated with feeling that our partners aren’t hearing us. So before you throw in the towel or resort to hounding your partner, consider these steps:

Clearly communicate your needs

Find the best time to sit with your partner and talk with them about your needs and expectations. Let them know what you need from them and why. Talk about how you feel when they don’t do what you need from them. Use “I Statements”. So instead of saying, “You never help me with the dishes”, say “I feel overwhelmed when I’m left to do the dishes by myself”.

Offer solutions & have a clear understanding of next steps

Before meeting with your partner think through objections they may have and brainstorm solutions. So when you meet, you can provide clear solutions that will allow you to get your needs met. Allow them to also share their ideas of how you can get what you need as well. Be open to compromise and end the conversation with a clear understanding of what both of you will do. You can state specifically what you both have agreed to. This will eliminate misunderstandings.

Reward good behavior and ignore the bad

Once the conversation is over, know that it’s just the beginning. In order for change to happen and a new behavior to form, it takes time. So when your partner reverts back to their old behavior, ignore it. And when they show they’ve implemented the agreed upon steps, acknowledge them and reward them. Specifically state that you’re happy or proud of them for making this change and you can kiss them or hug them, or do whatever action you like to show your appreciation.

Have patience

It’s a process for new habits to form. So it’s important that you have patience with yourself and your partner. Be careful of your thoughts. Don’t adopt negative thinking when your partner resorts back to their old behavior. And be open to having the conversation if either one of you find the plan isn’t working.

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