How to communicate your needs (without feeling needy)

When it comes to communicating with our partner, we often communicate in a way where we expect them to answer and listen like our girlfriends, but this is not how men are built.

Men and women process things differently and therefore their communication style is different. Women are more feelers and can often be very emotional in their communication, and men have been trained early on to be ‘men’, hide their emotions and LOVE to problem solve.

This polarity can create problems; men don’t necessary understand why we need to talk about ‘it’ so much and give them every tiny weeny detail of how our day went, and they don’t want to deal with the ‘drama,’ and women can’t understand why communicating has to be so hard.

Everybody in this world to some extent feels invisible, not heard, and not understood. And on a deeper level we all crave to be seen, heard and understood.

Feeling understood allows us to connect and to feel deeper love. The more your partner feels a connection with you, the more they are going to want to help you.

How you communicate will determine how he’ll respond to you. And I’ve definitely learned the hard way. Communication is definitely a skill, and a skill that everybody can learn to practice and build over time.

Let’s say that you’re upset with your man because he’s not meeting your needs or he’s not communicating the way you’d like him to. You just want to be able to communicate with him without arguing and to be heard.

The first thing you need to do is be honest with yourself and to your partner with how you’re feeling. This is something many of us are afraid to do because we’re afraid that it will start something if you do express how you truly feel and you just want to keep the peace.

I had this one woman who would get anxiety whenever she wanted to communicate with her boyfriend because he would get defensive and back away and would always lead to fights. And so she would just bottle up her feelings.

If you’re afraid to have that conversation because he doesn’t like to communicate, well he’s not emotionally mature or grown up – simple as that. Being relationship ready is a two way street. No one gets a free pass on this.

The issue with bottling up your feelings is sooner or later you’re not going to stand the silence anymore and your feelings are going to come out not the way you’d hoped.

And then we end up trying to express our feelings but instead what comes out is, we complain, belittle, criticize and create drama. And so our husbands, boyfriends, or lovers are unprepared to deal with our reaction so they shut down.

And if your man is shutting down during discussions, I can tell you he’s becoming overwhelmed with emotion and needs to process it. Men are also emotional creatures and they’ve got an emotional set point where they go into their man cave to process.

The problem isn’t that they can’t handle our feelings, they can. And they want to know what’s going on inside us because the right guy wants you to be happy­ and be able to make you happy – he’s only trying to help the way he knows how.

It all boils down to how you’re articulating your feelings in a way where he can really hear you and you’re not putting him down. 

Having said that, you also need to know if you’re looking for a solution to your problem or you just want to be heard? Most men are solution-oriented whereas most women tend to communicate both problems and frustrations.

So get clear first whether or not you would like a solution to your problem. I would find myself getting frustrated when my man would try to “solve” rather than empathize with me. So if there is something where I don’t need a solution I usually say something like “Baby, I’m not looking for you to fix anything, I would love for you to just listen.” And he gets the picture and tries to just listen (which is difficult for a man).

So, how can you communicate with your partner without feeling needy and be heard in a way that he’ll fulfil your needs?

Here are 3 things to remember when communicating your feelings to your man:

1. Express your feelings

Express yourself in a way where it’s simply sharing how you feel not trying to control his behaviour. You’ll experience a totally different version of how he responds to you when you communicate what you feel, what you want and don’t want, and then allow him to decide what he wants to do about it. For example, “I feel…” or “I am most happy when…” and if it’s something that you need, “I want help around the house”, “I want time alone to recharge,” “I want more affection” or if it’s something you don’t want “I don’t want…” This will get him to listen to you and discover how to please you without feeling like he’s controlled.

2. Don’t point the finger

One of the common mistakes we make when expressing our feelings is we point the finger at our partner and judge, complain, or criticize them for what they did, didn’t do or not doing. We unintentionally attack instead of express how we’re feeling. This makes him feel like he’s not good enough and puts up his defences. Expressing your feelings is different from stating how disappointed you are in him, which basically makes him feel like crap and more than likely not end up meeting your needs.

3. Ask for his opinion

Once you’ve expressed yourself it’s time to ask for his opinion, ask him “What do you think?” or “What do you think we should do?” Now he’s in familiar teritory, thinking and problem-solving is masculine energy. And the fact that you’ve asked him what he thinks will make him feel empowered and inspired to be your hero. He’s feeling receptive and doesn’t have a wall up because you haven’t nagged or critized him and will do his best to meet your needs.

At the end of the day, your partner is a reflection of everything you need to heal and work on and will be the most emotionally driven. In a perfect world when communicating, keep in mind of these 4 words; compromise, grace, empathy and unconditional love.

Having said all of this, what I’ve discovered in my own spiritual studies & personal life, is to not find a person who can meet all or most of your needs, but to experience yourself in a complete whole way.

Meaning, it’s about how we must really get to know and bring out the best of ourselves and, in turn, seek out the best in others.

It’s not really about the other, it’s all about you. It’s getting to know “Who am I?” in this moment of wanting this need met? And in the process of deciding “Who am I” and choose to be, you can decide to become the highest good for you, because becoming the highest good for you becomes the highest good for another.

I would re-read that again.

And please don’t feel guilty for having needs – you’re human and we all have them.

However, what if you looked at your needs with a different perspective? That in the process of wanting to get your needs met, you’re choosing to get to know yourself on a deeper level and then expressing yourself in a much bigger way where in turn, will help another become better.