Divorce: When You Don’t Know How To Ask For What You Need
Everyone has particular things they need from their partners—it’s just a fact of life. Whatever those needs are, however, getting them fulfilled is not nearly as critical to one’s happiness as the strategies one has in pursuing them. When a person believes their partner is not attending to their needs, it can lead to dissatisfaction, blaming, accusations, and anger. That can result in divorce if people don’t learn how to effectively communicate their needs.
You Need What You Need
Ok, so you feel unhappy because your spouse doesn’t help around the house enough, or because dinner’s not on the table when you get home from work, or because there’s never any cuddling after sex. Whatever it is that’s bugging you doesn’t make you a bad person; although the way you express those needs may lead your spouse to think you’re nothing more than a nag. So if you really want your marriage to work out, you’re going to find a way to express your needs more effectively. Think about the words and actions you are using, and the behaviors you employ when your needs aren’t met.
Communication is Key
It doesn’t matter how smart, professional, or high-functioning you are in the workplace or in other settings. If you don’t know how to communicate with your spouse about your needs and you expect them to simply intuit your desires, you will likely feel a world of hurt and dissatisfaction. Gauging the love we are being given is often tied to our perception of the amount of effort our partners put into satisfying our needs, so when we feel our needs are being sidelined, it seems like we are not loved.
That often leads us to put even more effort into getting our needs met, often with a demanding edge. Note—that’s not the same thing as listening to or understanding our partner! Nor is it effective communication. As one partner strives to get their needs met, the other begins to feel the same compulsion to get their own needs met. And every time there’s a “failure” it translates to self-talk about a partner’s unwillingness to try harder.
So it’s important to be able to express our needs. The failure to do so results in isolation, scorekeeping, resentment, and relationship failure.
Beliefs and Behaviors
To change up the negative patterns of interaction, it often involves altering one’s beliefs. That means viewing your partner as your teammate, not your enemy. The treatment and tone of conversation you engage in should reflect that fact.
That change can lead to important behavioral changes. When you enter a situation assuming your partner is invested in a positive outcome that serves you and the relationship, it’s easier to look past otherwise unforgivable shortcomings, and to discuss your needs in terms of the health of the relationship. Discussions between teammates are less likely to be demanding, accusatorial, or blame filled. Instead, they’re simply conversations about ways to strengthen the relationship.
When Partners Aren’t Teammates
If your partner is anything but a teammate, divorce may be the best option. The experienced Springfield family attorneys at Courtney & Mills are prepared to help you through it. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.