Our Relationship Has Hit a Wall; How Do I Get My Needs Met?
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Dear Sad and Dissatisfied,
It sounds like you are in a very frustrating, even painful, place in your relationship right now. While all relationships go through ebbs and flows with one partner’s needs taking up more space than the other’s at certain points, it sounds like your girlfriend’s role as caretaker to aging parents has been a significant factor throughout most, or even all, of your relationship.
I find myself feeling curious about if/how you and your girlfriend are communicating about the relationship—where it is currently, where it is going, what you each want from it, and how to not lose sight of the relationship despite other very real and stressful factors. Does your girlfriend know how you are feeling or are you keeping it to yourself and trying to be supportive of her needs? A happy, healthy relationship requires not only being supportive of your partner’s needs but also being able to state your own needs.
A happy, healthy relationship requires not only being supportive of your partner’s needs but also being able to state your own needs.
If you have had conversations with your partner about your needs and wants in the relationship and still don’t feel like they are being addressed, it might be time to think about seeking some couples therapy. Sometimes couples find themselves having the same conversations over and over again and never moving any closer to resolution. When this is the case, it can be tremendously helpful to have the support of a therapist to help move the conversation forward.
If you have not expressed your feelings about the relationship and your unmet needs, it sounds like it is time to do so. Sharing yourself in this way might really deepen the intimacy in your relationship. It might lead to other conversations that will draw you closer together. If raising your needs does lead to some degree of conflict, the process of working through it could ultimately foster a deeper connection.
I hope you will give yourself permission to state your needs in the relationship. Whether it is for the first time or whether it means saying, “Look, we haven’t been able to resolve this on our own, so let’s have a therapist partner with us to figure this out,” you deserve to be heard and valued in the relationship, too.
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RandeeJune 5th, 2015 at 2:01 PM
there will be times in every relationship where you have to put your own needs to the side and focus on your partner. It can be hard because we all need to be taken care for and feel loved, but you have to be able to reciprocate this too. This is a time when she really needs you and may be giving everything that she has to put one foot in front of the other every day.
andrewJune 6th, 2015 at 9:05 AM
Everyone will have ups and downs in their lives. I don’t think that this is at all uncommon or something that is unique to just you.
HollisJune 8th, 2015 at 3:21 PM
So maybe this is the time to cut your losses and go. It sounds like this is what you are looking for the justification to do, and I don’t think that there is any reader who will tell you that you have to stay in something that is making you unhappy. Now whether or not that is being selfish, that is up to you to determine. But it is never going to make you happy to be in a relationship where you feel that you always have to do all of the giving and the other partner is doing all of the taking. There has to be some way to balance it out, and that may not be able to happen all of the time but there has to be an effort to achieve that.
John DJune 11th, 2015 at 2:38 PM
So why continue to live in the cycle that there has to be someone else to help you meet your needs?
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