Is Your Partner Unsupportive?
What do you do if your partner is unsupportive? It may indicate relationship trouble but not always. Here are a few different areas to look at first.
Your Partner Might Not Know How
Learning how to be supportive is a skill that doesn't come naturally. You think that your partner should "know what you need" without having to tell them.
A common theme I hear from women is that they want their husbands to support them like girlfriends - but they're not your girlfriend.
Men are generally more solution focused and want to help. My male clients say they want their wives to be happy, but feel frustrated when they can't fix it. This creates emotional separation because if he feels like a failure, he stops trying.
Gary Chapman who wrote The 5 Love Languages, that talks about different ways people recognize love. This is a great tool if you struggle with recognizing love. When you know your love language it clarifies what you need. If you don't know what you want, how can you ask for it?
Typically people give from their own love language but when your partner's love language is different, you'll likely get frustrated.
You expect them to say I love you but if their love language is acts of service, they'll think maintaining the house should be enough. That's why learning how you recognize love makes such a difference.
The 5 Love Languages
Words of praise
Receiving or giving gifts
Physical touch and affection
Acts of service
You may relate to more than one but there is usually one that's predominant. Find your partner's love language. It can open up a fun discussion and bypass misunderstandings.
If you'd like to more about the differences between men and women read my blog called Men and Women Have Different Dictionaries.
Look at Expectations
How much support are you expecting from a partner? If you gave a percentage indicating how much support you expect from your partner, how much would it be?
For instance, do you rely on friends 20% of the time, but your mate 80%? If so, does that create too much stress on the relationship? Is it too much for your partner?
Draw a pie shaped circle and write out the percentages of support you expect. Are you expecting more from their partner than is possible? On the other hand, do you isolate and not ask for much?
How You Treat Your Partner
If you need more support, looking at yourself first is the best starting point.
- Are you supportive and encouraging?
- Do you treat your partner with loving kindness?
- Do you expect too much because they are your partner?
If you're struggling in your relationships with setting boundaries and putting other first, check out my online masterclass on Healing Codependency: How To Create Loving Relationships Without Sacrificing Yourself.
It only takes one person to shift the dynamics in a relationship. Even if you partner isn't a great communicator, you can still change the energy of the relationship if you are willing to do something different.
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to argue with someone who is pleasant? Sometimes, words like please and thank you get forgotten and they are so important! Everyone appreciates those words so start showing genuine appreciation. Just making this one change can make a positive difference.
What You Can Do
- Be clear about what type of support you need
- Share your love language with each other
- Watch your expectations
- Be the example instead of focusing on them
- Journal writing helps handle resentments
- Check out Al-Anon for additional support
- Make sure you have your own support system
- Don't make your partner responsible for your happiness
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