Relationship conflict often comes down to a lack of assertiveness. You have needs, and so does your partner, and yet you fear that opening up about them may leave you sounding insensitive, needy, or downright selfish. Let's be clear: In order to maintain a deep and meaningful connection to someone else, you need to communicate your feelings and needs. Without this, you are two disconnected people living in close proximity to each other, and you will end up feeling frustrated and resentful. It is also a great deal fairer to let your partner know what you need to feel joy, and how to avoid the despair that they might trigger in you.
So how can you communicate those feelings and needs? The best way is to use assertive communication. This is not always possible, and in some situations it is not even appropriate. But when it is used effectively, it creates a deeper and longer-lasting bond. Here is another chance to read my article about assertive communication.
Chris Warren-Dickins, Psychotherapist
Ridgewood, New Jersey