Couples learning how to speak your mind without manipulating your partner.

Let’s say you’re thinking about asking your partner for something you want, do you shy away or do you speak your mind?

If you do not ask for what you want, do you wait until he thinks of it or do you berate him for not knowing what you want? 

When you speak your mind or share your thoughts, feelings and opinions, you have an opportunity to connect and become closer to your partner. 

In my counseling practice, lots of clients ask what it really means to “speak your mind”? Does it require being brusk, harsh, or rude?  Not at all. When I help clients, I teach them to ask for what they want by finding their voice and then making the request directly with their partner.    

For me, the bottom line always ends with this: your partner won’t know how to make you happy unless you ask for what you need and what you want. Let me show you how it’s done.

Should You Ask Your Partner For What You Want?

My simple answer is yes. If you don’t ask for what you want, resentment and frustrations build up quickly, and you have a larger issue to address. 

I understand that some women have a difficult time verbalizing what’s on their mind or voicing their needs and wants to their partner. Sometimes it is out of fear of rejection, or sometimes it is because they asked before and he didn’t respond or listen to them.

 I think women can learn ways to ask for what they need and want and will be able to have those needs met. However, some women will ask for those needs to be met and the partner can’t, doesn’t want to or doesn’t know how to respond to the needs.

How Should You Approach Your Partner To Get What You Want?

Hoping for mind reading and making assumptions will never get you what you want, so I’d be watchful for those behaviors. I find that some women don’t know how to approach or ask  directly. They will ask me, “Can I manipulate him into buying me…?” or “Should I hint at what I want?” I am not a proponent of hinting, forcing, coercing, or manipulating anyone into anything. I instead like the direct, straightforward approach to relationships and asking for what you want. 

Speak Your Mind

Let me begin by saying that your needs and wants are valid and should be met. 

At the same time, you might reflect on the request you are making to determine if it is reasonable or not. For example, if a couple is dating for a year and lives in the same city, it is very reasonable to see each other once a week (if not more). Whereas if you just met someone last week, it would probably be unreasonable to see them everyday. 

When you are stating your needs, here are 6 ways not to ask:

  • Berate or belittle-“If you weren’t so stupid, you would know what I need”. 
  • Criticisms or negative language-I told you 10 times to put away your dishes and now, I’m telling you again. 
  • Pout, sulk or anger-You walk around the house for hours looking like something is bothering you, you slam drawers and cabinets, and/or you step loudly (stomping your feet) and when your partner asks what’s wrong you say, “I’m fine..” or “Nothing.” (when that’s not true).
  • Mind reading-Your partner thinks something is wrong and when they ask you respond with, “You never listen to me. I told you yesterday.” Or “If you loved me, then you would know.”
  • Silent Treatment-You intentionally don’t speak to your partner for an hour, day, week or more, unless you are providing logistical information, such as “Can you take out the trash?”, “Can you pick our son now from daycare?”
  • You Statements-When you are talking to your partner you use the word you, such as, “You always forget to call me at night”. “You never tell me you love me.” Not only are you using the word “YOU” in a negative and accusatory manner,  but the words “never” and “always” are used in the sentence. Those words will create a defensive response from your partner. No one likes to be told that they never or always do something and your partner will find a loophole (the one time they did it) in your statement. 

How Do You Communicate Your Needs To Your Partner

You might wonder what the straight approach looks like and ask yourself “how do I communicate my needs in that way?” Instead of a You statement, try making an I statement, “I would like X” (state want or need as a fact) or “I feel X” (feeling word). For example, I would like you to take out the trash on Thursday night because trash pick up is on Friday morning. 

Here’s a few examples of how you can speak your mind: 

  • I’d like to go out to dinner or a movie with you next week. Are you available? 
  • I’m going to get home late tonight. Can you cook dinner please?
  • I’m feeling disappointed that we haven’t seen each other in a week. 

There are many different formulas on how to make a request, keeping your statement simple and short is recommended. You can even practice saying it and ask yourself,  “How would I react if I was spoken to this way? 

Take your time to think about how you want to ask your questions or voice your thoughts to increase the likelihood of being heard and understood. 

You need to find the way that works in your relationship to state your feelings, thoughts and ideas that bring you closer while at the same time getting you what you want or need. When partners encourage each other to voice their opinions and thoughts, they will feel like they are on the same team, caring for each other. 

You as a couple either both win or both lose. Choose to win.

Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in the state of Maryland. She works with  couples to help them reduce stress and conflict in their relationships. If you need support to get things back on track, reach out to Lisa for a 30 minute Free private consultation today.

Speak Your Mind

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104 Church Lane, Suite 131,
Baltimore, MD 21208

rabinowitzcounseling@gmail.com
(410) 736-8118

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