It can be really frustrating to feel like your partner doesn’t understand what you need emotionally. There are a lot of reasons this might happen—maybe they weren’t raised in a home where comforting behaviors were modeled, maybe emotional intelligence isn’t one of their strengths, or maybe they just aren’t sure what you need. Luckily, communicating openly with your partner can often go a long way toward improving things. Then, be patient as you and your partner practice being more open with each other.
Method 1 Method 1 of 13:Find a quiet time to talk about your feelings.
Make sure there aren’t any distractions so you can focus on each other. It can feel really hard to bring up tough subjects when they’re not actively happening because you might feel like you don’t want to stir the pot. However, if you pick a time that neither of you are stressed or busy, you’re more likely to be able to express yourself without it turning into an argument.
- Take some time by yourself to think about what you really want to say. That way, you’ll be able to manage your emotions better during the conversation.
- Try opening the conversation with something like, “Is now a good time to talk? I have a few things I’ve been thinking about lately.”
- Consider setting a time limit for the conversation so it doesn’t become overwhelming. You could say something like, “I just need about 15 minutes—then I have to walk the dog.”
Method 2 Method 2 of 13:Explain how you’re feeling in a non-confrontational way.
Use “I” phrases to explain that you need to feel more comforted. Talk about your own feelings, rather than criticizing your partner. Remember, if you’re looking for comfort from your partner, it will help if you both feel close and connected to each other.
- You might say something like, “Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed, I feel like you’re not really sure what to do or say, so you shut down. That makes me feel really lonely, though.”
- It’s important to be able to communicate about what you’re feeling so you can have a healthy relationship.
Method 3 Method 3 of 13:Point out examples of when they are supportive.
Be specific about what they did and how it made you feel. Chances are, your partner has gotten it right at some point. After all, you’re in a relationship with them for a reason, right? Soften the conversation by leading with examples of a time they were there for you the way you needed. That will give them an idea of what they can do for you next time.
- For example, you might say, “Do you remember how upset I was when my dog got hit by a car? You put your arms around me while I cried, and the next day you brought me my favorite chocolate. That made me feel really loved.”
Method 4 Method 4 of 13:Give an example of when you needed more comfort.
Keep your tone even as you explain this. Mention a specific time when you really wanted your partner to comfort you. Be specific about how you felt and how your partner’s reaction affected you, but try to keep your voice friendly and soft so your partner doesn’t feel attacked.
- It can also help to hold hands or sit close to your partner so you feel connected during this part of the conversation.
- If your partner points out ways that they tried to be supportive during those moments, don’t dismiss that! Even if it wasn’t exactly what you needed at the time, try to appreciate the fact that they made an effort.
Method 5 Method 5 of 13:Ask if there are times they don’t know what to do.
Give your partner a chance to talk, too. Ask if they have an idea of what might be stopping them from comforting you. They might feel helpless when you cry, for instance, or they might feel frustrated when you talk about a problem they can’t solve. They might even feel like they’ve given you advice about a certain situation in the past that you didn’t take, so now they’re not sure what to say.
- Your partner could also get defensive when you get upset because they’re afraid you’re blaming them for whatever you’re feeling.
- Listen to what they have to say with an open mind—don’t just wait for your next chance to talk. You might learn some really important things about how you can work together better in the future.
- It can help to repeat back what your partner just said in your own words. For instance, if they say, “I’m always worried I’ll make things worse,” you might say, “Ok, I’m hearing that you’re not sure what to do because you’re afraid I’ll get more upset, right? I can understand that.”
Method 6 Method 6 of 13:Be specific about what you’d like in the future.
Don’t leave them guessing about what you need. Tell your partner how you’d like to be comforted when you’re feeling sad, angry, or disappointed. This might take some soul-searching, but your partner isn’t a mind reader—if you don’t know what would help you, it’s not fair to ask your partner to know, either.
- For instance, you might say, “I don’t want you to feel like you have to fix the problem when I have a bad day at work. I just want to be able to talk to you about it.”
- You might also say, “If I’m feeling sad, I just want a hug or some time to cuddle on the couch.”
- To end things on a positive note, it’s a good idea to wrap up the conversation by reassuring your partner that you love them and really want to work together on this.
Method 7 Method 7 of 13:Get in the habit of being open when you need comfort.
Be honest about how you’re feeling in the moment. Some people have a hard time picking up on subtle clues about other people’s emotions. Be willing to be vulnerable about how you’re feeling—your partner can’t comfort you if you’re too closed off. On the other hand, if you express yourself plainly, your partner will have a better chance of making the connection between how you’re feeling and how you’ve asked to be comforted.
- For instance, you might say, “My boss yelled at me today for a mistake one of my coworkers made. I’m feeling really frustrated and sad.”
- Keep in mind that this will require you to be in touch with your own emotions! If you find yourself feeling emotional or agitated, take some time to get down to the root of it.
Method 8 Method 8 of 13:Ask for what you need when they don’t do it on their own.
Let them know what you’d like in that moment. Sometimes it can be tempting to hold out on asking for comfort because you want your partner to just “get it.” Try to let go of that idea, though—you’ll be setting yourself (and your partner) up for success if you just honestly express what you want from them.
- Try saying something like, “I’m missing my dad right now. Could we cuddle on the couch for a little while?” or “Can I just vent to you about my day? I don’t want you to feel like you have to fix the problem; I just want someone to talk to.”
Method 9 Method 9 of 13:Show gratitude when they make an effort.
Give your partner positive reinforcement for trying. People sometimes need a little time to change, so try not to be impatient if your partner doesn’t get it 100% right on the first try. If you can tell they’re trying, point out what they’re doing right—not what they could or should be doing better.
- The more you acknowledge your partner’s efforts, the more encouraged they’ll be to keep trying in the future.
Method 10 Method 10 of 13:Be there for your partner, too.
Give your partner the emotional support they need. Relationships take effort on both sides. Your partner needs support just like you do—even if it’s not the exact same way you need to be supported. Really listen to what they need from you and try to offer that when they’re going through a hard time.
- For example, when you’re sad, you might prefer to cry it out with someone who’ll just listen. On the other hand, your partner might want some time to busy themselves in an activity while they clear their mind. Let them know that’s okay, then offer to join them if they’d like, or let them know it’s okay if they would rather be alone for a little while.
Method 11 Method 11 of 13:Build an outside support system.
Reach out to family, friends, or even a therapist. There’s a chance that being comforting will never be your partner’s strong suit, even if they really try. It can take some of the pressure off if you have someone else you really trust—like your mom or your best friend—that you can turn to when times are tough. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, consider taking up a new hobby so you can make new friends, or even talk to a therapist about whatever you’re going through.
- In the meantime, keep working with your partner on how they can be there for you, and appreciate all of the other good qualities they have.
- Couple’s therapy can be really helpful for learning to communicate more effectively with your partner, too.
Method 12 Method 12 of 13:Don’t compare your relationship to other people’s.
Remember, what you see from the outside isn’t always reality. It’s easy to see other couples on social media or out in public and think that they must always be that happy. Chances are, they go through some of the same things in their relationship that you go through in yours. Their problems could even be worse than yours, so try not to hold yourself—or your partner—up to an imaginary standard.
- Everyone has a unique set of strengths, and there probably are some people who are more naturally comforting than your partner is. However, they might not be as good at making you laugh, as encouraging of your career, or as amazing of a cook. Remember to embrace your partner for exactly who they are!
Method 13 Method 13 of 13:Make it a habit to be present together.
Give each other your full attention at least once a day. It’s hard to be in touch with each other emotionally if you’re not making a genuine connection. Ask your partner to commit to a certain time where you’re both focused only on each other. For example, you might make a “no screens at dinner” rule, making that a time where you can talk to each other about your day.
- If meals are the time you connect with your kids, try asking your partner if the two of you can set aside a few minutes for each other first thing in the morning or right before bed.
- It’s okay if you don’t have anything super-important to talk about every day. Just having that time together will help you both feel closer, which will make it easier to be there for each other when things get hard.
- If you regularly feel alienated and your partner discourages you from having close relationships with your friends and family, you may be in an abusive relationship. Reach out for help right away from someone you trust. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0