Healed & Healthy Relationships

What Do I Want in My Relationship?

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A relationship with your partner can be a tricky balance and it’s not unusual to come to a place where you ask yourself:

How do I know what I want or need in my relationship/marriage? I know that I’m unhappy, but I don’t know exactly what I want or need.

What you want and what you need may be two very different things. Here’s what I mean.

You may want to be happy, but what you need is to start noticing the positives in your relationship instead of hyper-focusing on the negatives. Your perception affects how you feel.

You may also want your partner to change certain behaviors that you don’t like, but what you need is to see how you may be triggering these unwanted behaviors in the first place. For instance, if you nag, they will withdraw. You may need to start affirming your partner when they do something positive, to encourage more of the same behavior.

As you can see, what you often want doesn’t equate to what you need. Ironically, to really be happy (i.e., have closeness and connection), you must focus on what you need and not necessarily what you want. In other words, focusing on needs is more effective, as it ultimately results in what you want.

Notice in both my examples, the change is in YOU and not your partner? This is the mystery of relationships. We influence one another’s behavior and wellbeing because we are interdependent. That is, we need each other and affect each other, for better or worse.

Here’s another way to know “exactly” what you want or need. Think about the things in your relationship that bothers you the most; what you complain or criticize about. The OPPOSITE is what you want (e.g., you complain that you’re unhappy, thus, you want to be happy).

WHAT happiness looks like to you may be the real question. Does it mean that you get along with your partner, you resolve conflict in a healthier way, you feel emotionally safe, you laugh and play together, you get more affection and attention, or what?

Once you answer WHAT happiness looks like, then you’ll know exactly what you want (e.g., happiness) and need (e.g., better conflict skills). 

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