As we become an ever-growing individualistic society, it can be easy for us to fall into habits and thinking patterns that put us before others. This can greatly affect the relationships we have with those around us, particularly with our romantic partners. If we tackle every situation with our partners with the mind-set of ‘how this will benefit me’, then your relationship will falter. Of course, there needs to be an element of ‘how this will affect me’, but this is very different from consistently asking yourself what you are gaining.
As individuals, we all have an internal monologue, a conversation with ourselves. We may understand what we are telling ourselves but unless we express this in an open and clear fashion, how are we to expect anyone else to know what it is going on inside our heads. An element of a successful relationship is the ability to establish your needs and to communicate them in a manner that your partner will understand. This is where the difference comes into play, in respect to thinking in either a way of ‘how will this benefit me’ versus ‘how will this affect me’. You can establish your needs in a relationship and build an understanding of how certain behaviours your partner exhibits will affect you and whether your partner is willing to listen and appreciate how these behaviours impact you and the relationship and vice versa. This is in comparison to someone stating what they want with no thought for their partner and simply trying to gain as much from the relationship without consideration of how their behaviours will affect their partner.
Compromise, another element of a successful relationship, is something that can assure you approach your relationship asking what you would like from a relationship as opposed to ‘I want’ which can come across as dismissive. Of course, a balance has to be made, there needs to be an element of putting forward what you are looking for in your relationship but a tactic in how you do this. Practicing the use of ‘I would like’ puts across a decisive but open to discussion air to communication and will allow you and your partner to build a relationship that is formed from both your perspectives. Further to that, ‘I’ statements, in general, allow you to take ownership of your feelings and your needs and gives you the control to express them in a calm way. When using ‘you’ to start off statements to your partner, it puts blame on them, driving a wedge between the two of you and limiting the likelihood of them listening to you.
So, when you are next approaching your partner with a topic of conversation or something you would like to address in your relationship, try using ‘I would like’ whilst remaining open to hearing your partners perspective. All of which should allow for clear communication and a relationship of equality.