If you have needs in your relationship that aren’t being met, it might be time to have a talk with your partner.
It’s important that you address your unmet needs as soon as possible. Otherwise, they can become sources of irritation, resentment, or anxiety for you.
Why is communication vital in the relationship?
There could be two scenarios:
One: You are satisfied with your relationship overall
Two: You two often remain in conflict with each other
When it comes to scenario One, you usually tend to brush off minor disagreements under the carpet, which is not ideal. It could lead to bigger problems in the future if proper communication is not established.
Scenario Two is also common where constant arguments happen because there is a communication gap between the partners.
In both cases, the need for communication plays a vital role in keeping the relationship happy and fulfilling.
Some of the important reasons why it is vital in a relationship are as under:
4 Tips to effectively communicate your needs to your partner
How to say what you want in a relationship?
Here are some guidelines on how to communicate your needs in a relationship for a more satisfying relationship.
1. Identify your needs
Ask yourself, “What do I need in a relationship?”
It may seem like an obvious first step to identify your wants and needs in a relationship. But sometimes, people can stay stuck in an unhappy mood without knowing why.
This is why it’s important to identify the unmet needs causing your dissatisfaction. This first step is for you to do on your own to get a clear understanding of exactly what is bothering you.
Have a seat, center yourself, and take a look at your needs. Write them down, if that’s helpful to you. Ask yourself, “What do I need in this relationship that is not being fulfilled?”
To help guide your thought process of how to communicate your needs in a relationship, here is a list of some common needs in relationships:
Connection needs This is the need for connection in the form of communication, trust, support, or appreciation.
Physical needs This is the need for physical affection, physical intimacy, sex or safety.
Independence needs Even in an established relationship, partners may need some independence now and then. This might look like making your own choices as an individual. It might mean pursuing your own interests or your own activities.
2. Find a time, place and method for talking with your partner
Once you’ve identified your needs, find a time and place for you and your partner to figure out how to communicate your needs in a relationship. Make sure you can have a focused conversation without distractions.
If you approach your partner when they are too tired or in the middle of a task, they may not be able to give you their full attention. If your partner can’t give you their full attention, then the conversation will likely be unsuccessful. And your needs will remain unaddressed.
Make sure you’re using the best method of communication for your situation.
Suppose one or both of you are out of town and you’re unable to meet in person to have a conversation about your needs. You may want to ask yourself, “How urgent is this conversation?”
If it’s important for you to talk sooner rather than later, then you should set up a phone call or video chat. If it’s more important that you have the conversation in person, then it may be best to wait until you can be together again.
For the best outcome, find an agreed-upon time and use the ideal method of communication.
Now that you’re ready to ask for what you need or talk to your partner about your needs be sure to use “I” statements when you speak.
What are “I” statements? These are factual statements about you and only you. For example, you might say, “I need more___in this relationship” or “I feel___when this need isn’t met.”
When you use “I” statements, you’re speaking from your own experience, so no one can deny the truth of what you need or feel. When you speak from your own experience, you focus on yourself without making your partner wrong.
After stating the facts about yourself and what you need, you can then open the conversation for possible solutions about how to meet your needs. You may want to make requests for your partner. Or you may ask them for their ideas of how to meet your needs.
4. Beware of complaints, demands or blame
When you state your needs and make requests of your partner, sometimes it can take a negative turn. To communicate better in a relationship, make sure your words don’t turn into complaints, demands, or blame directed at your partner.
If you find yourself complaining about your partner, making demands, or blaming them, stop immediately. Otherwise, you might put your partner on the defensive, leading to an argument.
In the end, this can prevent your partner from responding effectively to your needs.
In the video below, Esther Perel talks about how bickering kills the relationship. Check it out:
Here are some indicators that you might be complaining, demanding, or blaming:
You are using “you” statements instead of “I” statements. Examples are: “You never___” or “You always___” These can come across to your partner as complaints or blame.
You’ve fallen into the “I-need-you-to” trap. On the surface, this may look like you are stating a need—”I need you to wash the dishes”—but you are actually making a demand of your partner.
Anytime you tell your partner that you need them to do or be something, that is a demand. State your need without involving your partner, then work together to come up with a solution.
If you find yourself complaining, demanding, or blaming, remember your needs, use your “I” statements and resume the conversation in order to effectively communicate in a relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Theda Maritzer is a freelance writer for hire delivering articles that educate and inspire. Her areas of expertise are intimate relationships, self-development and child development. Email her at email@example.com.