Communicating Needs with Your Partner
Relationships and sex... These topics come up a lot in counseling sessions. Often times, these important aspects of life can make us feel uncertain and vulnerable when off-kilter; and, on the flip side, they can help us feel like a million bucks when nicely matched.
I felt compelled to write this post when I heard "Do I Wanna Know?" by Arctic Monkeys again recently and reflected on how much the feeling of this song has been expressed in sessions.
In relationships, and particularly around bids for affection or sex, there can sometimes be a mismatch in the expression or perception of interest or desire, even if the feeling is mutual. We're not mind-readers, and we often give what we seek -- not necessarily what our partner seeks. When our efforts are not accepted or reciprocated, it can make us feel uncertain and affect our view of ourselves and the relationship.
Cut out the mystery. Have a direct conversation and get on the same page. Having open and honest communication about your likes and dislikes about how your partner expresses affection and/or makes bids for emotional, physical, or sexual connection can be key in a relationship. It's okay to ask for what you want or need. It's okay to ask your partner what they want or need.
Yes, you wanna know if the feeling flows both ways... and how to keep it that way. Be direct: say how you feel and what you need and want. Listen to what your partner needs and wants. Formulate a strategy to meet in the middle so both of your needs can be reasonably met... And repeat so you can keep it flowing both ways.