You don’t have to feel guilty for acknowledging what you’re not getting, even in your closest relationships.
It’s not selfish to acknowledge what you miss and what you want.
It’s just observing where you are.
We can kind of get up in our heads when talking about what we AREN’T getting in intimate relationships.
We can feel guilty and ungrateful for putting words to what we’re feeling.
Who am I, we think, to think that I’m “entitled” to more than I’m getting?
Often we become aware that many people don’t even have intimate relationships— so maybe we shouldn’t be so choosy about what we want in the intimate relationships we’re lucky to have at ALL.
Lots and lots of people feel conflicted about what they are or aren’t getting in their relationships, what they “should” and “shouldn’t” be unhappy about in their relationships, what they’re “allowed” or “not allowed” to want in their relationships.
Especially if we’ve grown up lonely, we can feel even MORE conflicted about being unhappy or dissatisfied in aspects of our adult relationships.
Speaking for myself, I know that, growing up, I swore that if I was ever lucky enough to have intimate relationships I’d keep my mouth shut and deal with ANY imperfections in my relationships— as long as I HAD them.
Many people grow up believing they’re not “worth” having needs or preferences in relationships.
Many people grow up feeling that the fact they have relationships at all is a miracle— and they don’t want to endanger them by being TOO specific about what they like or want.
We can get very anxious that to be too clear about our needs and wants in relationships is to endanger them.
The thing is, though, if we ignore or deny our needs and preferences in intimate relationships indefinitely, our self-esteem pays the price.
It’s not a matter of feeling “entitled” to anything.
It’s a matter of being realistic about what functions relationships serve in our lives.
When you’re in an intimate partnership with somebody (or even an important friendship), that relationship serves a specific purpose in your world.
We don’t get into relationships just to be in them. Different relationships serve different purposes.
When you’re not getting your needs met in a relationship, it begins consuming more energy and resources than it produces in your life— it wears you down more than it lifts you up.
You don’t want to feel that way about anyone you’re in an intimate relationship with.
You want to feel good about your intimate relationships— to feel the they’re playing the role you need them to play in your life.
If you go on, day after day, year after year, in a relationship that’s not meeting your needs and preferences (and, yes, preferences do matter in close relationships), you’ll begin to resent it.
And with resentment comes guilt and internal conflict— which is a cycle nobody wants in their life.
It’s okay to want and need what you want and need out of your intimate relationships.
It’s okay to be clear about it and put words to it.
It’s okay to acknowledge if a relationship with someone you very much like or love isn’t what you want or need it to be at the moment.
You don’t need to deny or disown it. You don’t need to apologize for feeling the way you do. We don’t ask for feelings; we just feel them.
If you really want to DO something about any of it, you kind of HAVE to be clear about what you want and need.
Scary, I know. Especially when we’ve had a complicated attachment history.
But worth it.
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