Why It’s So Hard to Ask for What You Want

Why It's Hard to Ask for What You Want in Your Relationship

It’s sometimes hard to ask for what we want. It may be something small, but a lot of us find ourselves at a loss to speak our needs. Some of us might be afraid of rejection. Others may be expecting their partners to just know they want, without being told. Whatever the reason you have trouble asking for what you want, consider the following.

Past Disappointment Makes It Harder to Ask for What You Want

Most of us in relationships get disappointed. Some of us get disappointed a lot. I believe that if we feel let down by someone it’s because they didn’t know what we wanted. But when we are involved with another person it’s easy to just believe that since they know us so well, they will always know what we want.

We usually only notice that things aren’t right when we didn’t get what we wanted. Then we know how to react, we get mad. “How could you have done that?” “Why didn’t you think of me?” These questions are important. They tell the partner they blew it. But sometimes in relationships the partner is left wondering how this situation even happened.

Sometimes We Don’t Ask for What We Want, Because We Don’t Realize We Need to Ask

Sometimes We Need to Remind Ourselves to Ask for What We Want

All of us like to feel as though our partners think about us. We think of them. So when they let us down and we get disappointed IT IS A REALLY BIG THING! So how do we change this system? One way is to learn to ask for what we want.
That is different than telling someone what you don’t want. Saying to your partner that you don’t like something implies that the partner did something to you. It sounds like a blame and then not only do you feel bad; your mate feels bad too. I know this to be true, and I also know that we always notice what isn’t working. When something goes wrong we aren’t trained as humans to think about what we don’t like and figure out what we will want and ask for it. This sounds so backwards but guess what, it works.

And even though we weren’t trained this way if we can learn to ask for what will make us happy our mate will jump out of their skin to get it for us. Unfortunately, most of us just tell the partner when we are unhappy. “I don’t like the way you did the laundry!” “You should wash the dishes this way, not that way.” When I even write these sentences they feel so harsh. I know when we hear them it sounds like criticism and blame, and no one likes hearing that.

We Can Train Ourselves to Ask For What We Want

Here’s the good news though, we can train ourselves to ask for what we want. It starts with looking at our current thoughts and noticing how we talk about our disappointment. That’s the first step. Then we have to figure out what we want and find the words to ask for it. I never said it was easy, but it is possible.

Many of us grow up taking care of others. We learned how to be great caregivers. We might have even learned this at an early age. If we grew up this way, we were not taught to place our own needs first. We learned to worry and do for others before ourselves. But it’s never too late to understand our own needs and to begin.

Try Asking for What You Want Outside the Context of Your Relationship

Practice Asking for What You Want Elsewhere In Life

Yesterday I was shopping and found the perfect picture frame, only it had a chip in the wood. There was one more of the same frame, but it had an even bigger chip. I decided to buy the first one anyway, hoping that I could get a discount at the register. This store has done that before. So when I was paying for my goods I showed the clerk the damage. It was slight, but damage on something new is still damage. The manager was standing nearby. The clerk asked if there were anymore frames. After a computer search I was told no. Just the two.

I wanted this frame. I wanted a discount too because it was damaged. I felt myself not say anything and then out of my mouth I said, “Maybe I could get a dollar off.” Then the manager told the clerk, “Give her 10% off.”

It Feels Good Asking for What We Want and Then Getting It

I felt like I won the lottery. Not because I saved $1.80, but because I asked for something I wanted. If I didn’t speak up I knew I would be able to hide the flaw and use the frame as intended, but I also knew that I would carry around a pit in my stomach because it just didn’t feel right to not say anything. I didn’t want this feeling inside me and that is why I spoke.

Speak your truth. Speak what you want. Let your wants be heard. They are important, they are yours, they matter.

Need a Helping Hand with Asking for What You Want??

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Can’t make it on Monday? Learn about how to better communicate your needs in a relationship, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you express yourself and get your needs met in your relationship. Give it a read.

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Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.

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