As you already know, communication is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy relationship. How frequently you each other’s wants and needs can make or break your relationship. And I’m not talking about a one-time conversation when you first start dating. Communicating your desires needs to be open and ongoing discussion for the duration of your time together.
If you’re not already asking for what you want in your relationship, what’s stopping you?
For many people, fear gets in the way. Maybe you’re too embarrassed to ask for what you want if it’s something you’ve never talked about. Maybe you’re afraid that what you truly want will hurt your partner’s feelings. Maybe you think it’s better to hold your feelings in rather than risk starting a fight. These are all valid fears, but they’re also damaging your potential for a fulfilling, exciting, and lasting relationship.
Let’s break it down. Say there’s something you really want to try that you’ve never discussed, but you’re worried that bringing it up will upset your partner. So you decide to keep those thoughts or fantasies inside your head. Meanwhile you start to feel more and more frustrated or maybe even depressed, because your needs are left unfulfilled. That could lead you down the path to resenting your partner or to you destructively seeking the pleasure you’re missing out on elsewhere, like alcohol or other drugs, a porn addiction, or cheating on your partner.
While some of those are extreme examples of what could go wrong from a lack of honest communication, they are all very possible. Instead of focusing on the negatives, it’s better to be vulnerable and ask for what you want. Best case scenario, your partner will be glad you asked. And if not, it opens up the door for compromise.
If this all seems overwhelming, you can start with small requests and build up to the more uncomfortable topics as you feel more confident.
Here are some tips:
- Talk when you both have free time and are relaxed. Be fully present during the conversation.
- Stay positive and calm when talking about something you want instead of attacking or blaming them for not doing whatever it is.
- Breathe deeply and repeat positive affirmation to yourself such as, “I am willing to open my heart and communicate honestly” or “I confidently ask for what I want in my relationship.”
- Reinforce the positive when asking. You might try saying to your partner, “I love it when you _______. What do you think about doing it more often?” Or “I love it when we do ________ together, and I was thinking we could experiment a little more with _________. What do you think?”
- Start with one change at a time. If you give your partner a long list of things that need to change all it once, it can make them feel attacked and unappreciated.
- Encourage your partner to discuss any new ideas as well.
Sure, you may be intimated to ask for what you want both emotionally and physically, but in the long run it will be worth it. Practicing open-minded and open-hearted communication will allow you and your partner to feel loved, respected and valued. You might even learn you share a lot of the same desires but didn’t know how to talk about it. If your partner is right for you, honesty and vulnerability can really bring you closer.
For more on communicating in relationships, read these posts by fellow bloggers:
- Internal Disappointment Processing by Sharp Sweet Bella
- Why We Need Better Relationships Education (Or Any at All) by The Story of A