Is Your Partner Unsupportive?
What do you do when your partner is unsupportive? Sometimes it 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 partner to support them like girlfriends - but they're not your girlfriend.
In general, men are more solution focused and want to give advice. Men want their women to be happy, but feel frustrated when they can't fix it. This creates tension and frustration because if he feels like a failure, he eventually stops trying.
Gary Chapman who wrote The 5 Love Languages, that talks about different ways people recognize love. This is a great tool for recognizing love. Knowing your love language can clarify what you need. Because if you don't know what you want, how can you ask for it?
Typically people give from their own love language. You might assume that you're partner understands and shares your love language but when they don't, you don't feel supported.
For instance, if you expect your partner to say I love you but their love language is acts of service, they'll think maintaining the house or going to work should be adequate. At that point you're speaking two different languages! That's why learning about love languages 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. Finding your partner's love language can open up an eye-opening discussion and bypass misunderstandings.
Look at Your Expectations
It's also helpful to look at what kind of support are you expecting from a partner. If you gave a percentage indicating how much support you expect, 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 minimize your own needs and not ask for much?
How You Treat Your Partner
If you need more support, looking at your own behavior 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?
Do you respect your partner's individual needs?
If you're struggling with setting boundaries and putting others first, check out my online masterclass on Healing Codependency: How To Create Loving Relationships Without Sacrificing Yourself.
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 politeness and 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. Are they realistic?
Be the example instead of focusing on them.
Journal writing to 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.
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.
Let your partner know how you recognize love and support. Make time to talk about both of your needs so the lines of communication stay open. That's the way to build the kind of intimate support that lasts a life-time.
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