How To Communicate Your Needs To Your Lover

When you’re in a relationship, it’s easy to believe that your partner automatically knows what you need and want; that they’re mind readers and should already know what to do for you without being told. But the truth is, they’re not mind readers and even though they’ve known you for a while, they might still not really know what you need or want. You have to verbally tell them or else they won’t know. But there is a good way to communicate your needs to your partner and a bad way. Coming off too harsh and mean will set them off and only make them mad and distant, so here’s a few helpful ways to communicate better:



1. Describe the situation

When starting the conversation with your partner about your needs, start it with a straightforward description of whatever you want to address. Don’t try to spin it or accuse them of anything; just stick to the facts. Make it as objective as you can so that they don’t feel as if you’re attacking them.    

2. Be careful of how you express your feelings

You obviously want to let them know how you feel, but you want to be careful to do it in a calm, non-blaming way. You don’t want to yell as you express your feelings or use any “I” statements, which can make them defensive. Try to identify your true feelings so that you’re not bringing up any general or broad feelings. And you don’t want to explode as you’re communicating with your partner. They’ll only want to yell back and that won’t help getting your needs and wants met.  


3. As for change

Know that you can’t change your partner’s feelings, attitudes, feelings, values or motivations. But you can ask for a change in their behavior. Or you can let them in on how you’d like to be treated or how to meet your needs. If you try to change anything else, your partner will feel as if you’re attacking them and they’ll be less willing to meet your requests and/or needs.      

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4. Pause and Ask for Feedback

Sometimes as a speaker you will go on and on, without pausing. Perhaps you think that you need to stay on your topic so that everything is heard — or you fear that your partner will jump in and take the floor and you won’t ever get a chance to speak again. Slow it down, edit it down, and stop and ask for feedback. Make the communication two-way. If you feel your partner hasn’t really heard what you are saying, then try asking, “Can you rephrase what I said?” Or, if you want your partner to help you think of things differently, you might say, “I wonder if I’m seeing things the right way here.” Or, if you want problem-solving, you might say, “I wonder what I can do to make it work.” Pause, reflect, ask for feedback.  

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