Get what you deserve in relationships

It may sound obvious, but to get what you deserve in relationships, you have to know what it is you hope to receive. Use these steps to identify and ask for the treatment you deserve.

Couple talking at home

Determine what you need and deserve

Lots of women have a vague idea of what they want in their relationship — they want to feel loved and supported, they want help around the house, they want humor and romance — but, the reality of these longings will look very different in actuality. One woman may not feel loved if she doesn’t receive flowers every week, while another woman may not feel loved if her husband doesn’t clean up after dinner. You can’t expect your significant other to give you what you deserve if you haven’t taken the time to identify exactly what it is you need.

Christine Baumgartner, online dating and relationship coach at The Perfect Catch, suggests that every woman prepare a list of her needs she can give to her man. Whether you want jewelry, back rubs, a weekend away or help getting the kids ready for school in the morning, it needs to go on the list. Not only will this help you clarify and prioritize your own needs, it will prevent potential miscommunications between yourself and your partner, making success more attainable.

Ask assertively, not aggressively

After you’ve determined what it is you need from your partner, ask for it in a way that won’t put him on the defense. Daniela Roher, Ph.D. and psychotherapist, suggests you state your needs in a clear and concise manner, without providing lengthy explanations. For instance, you could say, “I would really feel loved if you would pick up a bouquet of flowers for me this week.”

She also points out that there’s a difference between asking assertively and aggressively. Remember to use “I” statements that keep the focus on what you want and need, rather than saying things like, “You never get me flowers” or “You never do things to make me feel loved.”

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Time the conversation right

While it’s important to address issues in your relationship in a timely fashion, you should consider your partner’s state of mind before bringing up serious subjects. If he’s in the middle of a big work project or he just got home and hasn’t had the chance to eat dinner yet, you may want to wait until he’s had some time to decompress and relax. He’ll be in a better state of mind to listen and respond if he’s not distracted by other things.

Be willing to set boundaries and limits

Getting what you deserve isn’t just about having your partner do nice things for you — sometimes it’s about stopping a hurtful or offensive behavior. Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, relationship coach and author of The Pathway of Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationship Through Self-Discovery, says “You should let them know what is unacceptable to you, and follow through accordingly. For example, ‘It is not okay for you to use foul language with me. If you continue to call me names, I will need to reconsider if this relationship will work.'” She goes on to emphasize that you should only set a boundary and limit if you’re prepared to follow through — this is not a time for empty threats.

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Give positive reinforcement

When your loved one meets one of your needs, say thank you and show some sincere, heartfelt appreciation! There’s nothing quite like a pat on the back to encourage similar behavior, so make sure your partner knows you’re noticing his efforts and they’re making a positive difference.

Do unto others

The good ol’ Golden Rule still applies! To get what you deserve in a relationship, you have to be willing to give your partner what he deserves too. It’s really easy to forget that a relationship should go both ways, especially when you’re feeling unappreciated, but take a minute to look at your own behavior. Have you been dishing out the love and affection the way your partner wants and deserves? If not, be sure to address the log in your own eye before digging out the splinter in your partner’s.

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