Your instinct is not to admit when your partner isn’t meeting your expectations. It’s to make an excuse for them. Your immediate inclination is to give them an out and take on the burden of whatever problem you’re having, as opposed to forcing the blame on someone you love.
So at first you don’t admit when something’s wrong. You second guess your own doubts. You assume it’s your own mood, that you’re spinning a situation negatively. You’re used to assuming every problem is your own fault and taking responsibility when someone else is in the wrong.
Verbalizing the fact that your needs aren’t being met is “whining” and demanding a partner step up their game is “needy.” So you don’t say anything.
Do you avoid voicing your concerns because your partner makes you feel like you can’t, or because you’ve convinced yourself that you can’t?
More often than not, it isn’t that your partner is guilting you into believing that you’re too needy. It’s you who is sure your concerns aren’t worth mentioning. That’s how relationships become broken even when they’re worth fixing. Because if it’s not your significant other who is discouraging you from saying how you feel, then you’re the one refusing to acknowledge when things aren’t going well. You’re not being treated the way you deserve to be treated, and yet you’re guilting yourself into thinking that’s okay.
That takes an incredible amount of strength, but it isn’t fair to you. You’re trying to love selflessly, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your needs go in the process.
You get stuck. Wanting to please the other person, wanting to grow your relationship instead of wearing it down. Wanting so desperately to not be the one who nags that instead you’re biting your tongue when you shouldn’t be.
You should never feel like your needs aren’t worth bringing up. You should never feel like asking to be treated well, to be heard all the way through, to be a respected part of the relationship, is too much.
Your opinions matter. Where you want to live matters. Your goals matter.
Your family, friends, preferences, job and life matter just as much as your partners. Compromise means meeting your partner halfway. It does not mean succumbing to whatever they want. Relationships are not one person at the helm, with the other following along.
You shy from complaints, because pointing out flaws in your relationship makes it vulnerable. But if you keep your mouth shut because you don’t want to make things rocky, are you being fair to yourself? Is that “compromise” or is that a stretch to save you both some discomfort?
Stop second guessing yourself. Not all little problems can be chalked up to a typical couples rut. Your dissatisfaction has more merit than that. The only thing that will satiate your need to discuss your expectations is an open conversation.
You deserve to stop feeling stuck. You’ll feel stuck when you know you want to be with someone and they want to be with you, but your relationship still isn’t quite taking off. But it can’t take off if you never reveal your concerns, and the rationale behind them. The fear that it will push your partnership off common ground and onto uneven footing is a risk worth taking if your relationship is going to move forward.