Asking for what you want in relationships is the only way to get what you need!
Do you have trouble asking for what you want in relationships? Lots of women do. Part of what makes asking for what you want in relationships so hard is that well-meaning friends, Hollywood gossip columns, blogs by other disillusioned daters, etc. tell us not to speak up for ourselves and to wait for men to make all the moves.
Are you being needy if you ask a man about the future of your relationship?
Maybe you’ve read that asking for what you want in relationships will make a man think you’re pushy or needy. I’ve coached many women who wasted months or even years in the wrong relationships because they took this advice to heart. They really believed that asking a man to discuss the future of their relationship would push him away. It saddens me to think that we’ve made such amazing progress as women in so many ways, but that we’re still allowing ourselves to be cast in a passive role when it comes to pursuing relationships with men.
Perhaps you can relate to what my client Rachel is going through. She’s been dating a man named Evan for three months, but she still doesn’t know where their relationship is going… and it’s driving her crazy. Like Rachel, you might have trouble asking for what you want in relationships. The more time that goes by without her talking to Evan about his intentions, the more anxious she feels. Sometimes a week or two passes where she doesn’t see him. During that time she agonizes over whether or not the relationship is really going anywhere. When they finally get together, she feels momentarily better, but it isn’t long before her anxiety sets in again.
When I asked why she hadn’t asked Evan where their relationship is going, she had many seemingly good excuses: he had a big presentation at work, his crazy ex was harassing him, his daughter was going off to college, he moved into a new place, his Chia pet died… there was always something.
I told her that she was 50% of the relationship and she had every right to ask if Evan was thinking about a future with her, but Rachel protested. She said she’d been listening to an audio book by a well-known male dating expert who said, “You have to be careful about asking for what you want in relationships because it makes men feel pressured and pushes them away. Men are hunters by nature. They are hardwired to go out and find what they want. If a real man wants you, he will pursue you.” In other words, she should act like a helpless bystander and let Evan have all the control.
Why it’s dangerous not to speak up
Here’s the deal: many men will take sex and companionship when and where they can get it, especially if a woman is good company and she isn’t asking for more. So, if you don’t speak up, many men will make the assumption that you’re fine with the current arrangement.
Not asking for what you want in relationships can have serious consequences. Rachel is falling in love with Evan and it’s agonizing for her because she doesn’t have a clue if he feels the same way. Have you ever been in a similar situation? Rachel told me that her obsession with the relationship was starting to take over her life and causing her to act out:
- She was becoming snarky with him
- She wasn’t returning his phone calls
- She was withholding sex
- She was starting to drink—a lot
- She was over-sharing with her friends
To make matters worse, Rachel was concerned that her behavior would sabotage the relationship. Rachel was embarrassed to admit to me that she was feeling so lost and desperate for answers she had contacted three online psychics. Hundreds of dollars later they all told her not to say anything to Evan and that he would come around on his own within a few months. If you look hard enough, like Rachel, you will keep finding ways to justify not asking for what you want in relationships.
No one wants to face rejection
To be fair, Rachel’s hesitation about talking to Evan wasn’t irrational. It’s easy to buy into the idea that you shouldn’t be asking for what you want in relationships because then you can live on hope and you don’t have to face possible rejection. Rejection is a scary thing. The truth is that many men will stay in a relationship for sex and companionship, especially with a woman who seems uncomplicated and easygoing. Smart women know they need to get clear about what a guy is after early in a relationship, and that means asking the right questions in the right way.
Understanding men is the key to asking for what you want in relationships
There is a way of asking for what you want in relationships without appearing aggressive or demanding. It starts with understanding how men work. Consider these four insights into how most men operate:
- Men don’t like being told what to do; they want to come to their own conclusions.
- Men don’t like being given ultimatums; they want to have dialogues where they can also express their wants and needs.
- Men don’t want women who are doormats; they are looking for women who aren’t afraid to be themselves and ask for what they want.
- Men don’t like to be asked how they feel; they want to be asked what they think.
I encourage you to try the following approach when asking for what you want in relationships:
- Tell him how you feel
- Tell him what you need
- Ask what he thinks about what you said
For example, Rachel might say:
- “I feel like I’m developing feelings for you and I would like to move forward with our relationship.”
- “I would like to spend more time together. I was thinking we could see each other on Tuesdays as well as on Saturdays.”
- “What do you think about that?”
I know this may sound easier said than done. Often times we avoid conversations like this because we’re afraid of the answer we’ll receive, but answers can be telling. If Evan doesn’t want to get closer to Rachel, he might respond with something like, “I feel like we’re already spending enough time together.” In this case, Rachel would have to consider whether Evan is really interested in getting closer to her. On the other hand, if Evan wants to get close to Rachel, he will welcome a chance to spend more time with her and be happy she brought it up.
Asking for what you want in relationships can be challenging, but you need to find out if a man is really interested in a future with you or if he’s just getting his needs met. If you follow this simple formula it should open up a dialogue where a man will be able to tell you what he’s really thinking. You might not get the answer you want, but you will get the answer you need.
If you’re having trouble asking for what you want in relationships book a consultation to see if I am the right coach for you.
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