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“Many couples ended up dissatisfied after not disclosing their wants and needs- sometimes in an attempt to prevent a fight” (from: Psychology Today July/August 2012)

Whether we’re a part of a couple or not, we’re each involved in a number of relationships. For a wide variety of reasons (i.e. we’ve learned we don’t get an opinion, we are conflict-avoidant, or we don’t feel safe), we may choose to stuff down our wants or needs in hopes that our relationships will stay positive and conflict-free. While it “works” in the moment, it really doesn’t help us meet our ultimate goals in life.

When we stuff our needs or wants to keep the peace, we don’t express the things that bother us, and that begins to build up. Over time, this creates more and more pressure until we have the “big blow up”. Sometimes this is an actual fight, while other times  we feel so frustrated that we choose to walk away. So, while we may have saved a potential disagreement from happening, we’ve created a much larger problem.

We need to be expressing our needs and our wants in relationship in respectful ways (this is owning up to our own “stuff” in life). We do this understanding that the person in relationship may not be able to meet that need or want, but we’ve been heard and respected, and that goes a long way. The article that I quoted above was about advance warning in divorces; there’s often patterns of behavior that have existed since the start of the relationship that lead someone to the point of dissolving the relationship.

The good news is that, whether it’s a friendship or a dating relationship or a marriage, you can change the course to a healthier and happier ending. Create a new pattern of being open and honest in relationships, in a kind and loving way.

 

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