When I work with couples I often hear from one of the partners what the other isn’t doing. They’re not initiating date night, conversation or having sex. When this happens, the partner who is the one doing all of the initiating ends up feeling resentful. And they’re definitely not feeling accepted, supported, loved and encouraged. So what’s a partner to do?
One thing I have found that doesn’t work is to try to control your partner into giving you what you want. Some partners will blame, criticize, argue, shame and even punish their significant other hoping to get them to change. My experience is that this rarely works and if your partner gives in to what you’re wanting it’s usually short-lived, not authentic and often leads to him/her feeling angry at being coerced into having to give themselves up in the relationship. It doesn’t feel safe anymore.
We truly only have control over one person: ourself. When we take personal responsibility for taking care of ourself in the face of our partner not being there for us in the ways we want them to be, we open up the possibility of having what we desire. When our partner doesn’t feel our controlling energy it gives them the space and freedom to make their own choices. They feel safer in the relationship.
If you’re wanting to feel accepted, supported, loved and encouraged, check in with yourself and notice if you are accepting, supporting, loving and encouraging your partner. Be the person you want them to be and let go of having any attachment to the outcome.
Does this guarantee your partner will reciprocate your caring attitude and behavior? No. We don’t have control over their thoughts, feelings, actions. They are also responsible for their own choices.
How they respond to you taking loving care of yourself in your relationship is information. Your responsibility is to show up for yourself and pay close attention to the information and then decide in the face of your partner’s response, what is best for you.