There are two ways to get our needs met:

First and most importantly, we have to ask.

We have to make requests for our needs to be met. We stop ourselves from asking because we don’t want to have to ask. We want them to *know*, read our minds and then just do it. We believe if we have to ask for what we want it diminishes what we receive. “They didn’t really want to do it. I had to tell them.” We need to let go of this idea…

I suggest to my clients to start a new practice in their relationship. Teach your partner and be open to your partner teaching you. Relationships require us to share of ourselves. This is a skill many of us don’t have. It can actually become a wonderful and beautiful thing for a couple to do.

If you don’t, you are in effect withholding from your partner. By sharing, making requests, showing appreciation when needs are met, the relationship develops and grows. We can win. What a lot of people say is “I cannot win with my partner”, “I try and it’s not good enough”, “She’s impossible to please”, “He’s so critical”. If this carries on, we will stop trying. And if there’s hurt in the relationship it becomes even more disconnecting.

How we make a request is important. In a request there is never a *criticism*. That is a trap! Criticism exacerbates ill-feeling. We need to be more relational in our stance – that means prioritising the relationship and considering our partner. This is a relational skill that is well worth our time developing.

Respect, generosity of spirt, “Would you mind…?”, “Could you do…?”, “I would love…”. Suddenly it becomes possible to ‘win’.

If we wholeheartedly try to do this for several months, and the relationship is still struggling terribly, that is information for us – we can think about what is on offer for us.

We need to be aware of our attitude – do we have a bad attitude? Am I irritable, dissatisfied, projecting negatively? Or am I open, willing to try, friendly and trying to be relational? It’s a shift in mind-set and a shift in attitude. Because those two
things really matter.

We also need to be realistic about what we can expect from others. We expect so much from our partners. Sometimes too much. We can’t be loved, supported and admired in exactly the way we want, whenever we want.

Instead we need to spread our net wider – to family, friends, mentors, work and colleagues to meet our needs.

Feeling Like Your Partner Is Not Prioritising Your Needs

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In today’s Agony Aunt session I address the issue of feeling your partner is not prioritising your needs and how you might get them met.

We have to make requests for our needs to be met. We stop ourselves from asking because we don’t want to have to ask. We want them to *know*, read our minds and then just do it.

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We need to be more relational in our stance – that means prioritising the relationship and considering our partner. This is a relational skill that is well worth our time developing. 

Secondly, we have to start meeting more of our own needs.

There are a lot of things these days that we are demanding from our relationship that are simply not our relationships job to do. We must be careful our relationships don’t become overburdened and weighted down by so many demands, because it could collapse. Our lives should consist of many other people and supporters. So rather than our relationship being the thing that supports us in every aspect of life, it instead becomes something that we must *look after*. It is precious. We can’t just take-take-take or give relentlessly and resentfully. Instead we must protect the goodwill and the positivity within our relationship.

In modern life what has happened is our relationships have become the focal point of our lives, looming large over everything else. When in actual fact our relationships are only one part of a much-varied and diverse life to which there are numerous other aspects – family, work, creativity, purpose, spirituality, health, nutrition, exercise, passions and hobbies, travel, community service…

When we say, 'My partner is not meeting my needs' – we need to consider how realistic and fair it is for all of those ‘needs’ to land on your relationship and land on your partner.

Instead we can think what we need to be doing to develop these other aspects. So we can arrive into the relationship with our cup full, because our relationships require a lot from us – patience, giving them the benefit of the doubt, kindness and love.

We can build and develop all of this. So it becomes not about what our partner and relationship is doing for us, but what we are doing for our relationship. Are we investing in positivity and care, or anger and negativity?

If two people can focus on all of the above, they will make a great team.

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