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Communication Advice Article

Neglecting Your Own Needs

Dr. Frank Gunzburg
Baltimore Maryland

Have you ever taken the time to stop and consider what you need out of your relationship? If you have, do you express these needs openly and honestly with your partner without blaming them for not having filled these needs?

Or are you one of the many people out there who feel they donít have any needs, donít deserve to have any needs, or donít deserve to have their needs met?

Too many people operate inside relationships without ever looking to fulfill their own needs in those relationships. Either they fail to see their own needs or they fail to communicate their needs with their partners. This can happen for a great many reasons.

Some people are convinced that they ďdonít need anything.Ē These people are often closed up and have trouble looking at and accepting their emotional responses to what happens in their relationships.

If you are the type of person who says, ďIím okay; I donít need anything,Ē a lot of the time, you might fall into this category.

Others might know that they have needs, but feel that they are undeserving somehow and that expressing these needs belies a kind of selfishness on their parts, or they might be afraid they will come across as demanding or that expressing their needs might make their partners angry. Thus, they refuse to communicate their needs to their partners.

Still others know that they have needs and feel okay about this fact, but they donít have the tools to properly communicate what they need.

Everyone has needs. You entered into a relationship in order to fulfill those needs. There is no shame in this. There is no reason to deny the needs you have. Doing so will only harm your relationship.

When you neglect your own needs, you put your partner in a very precarious position. You implicitly suggest to them that they should be able to fulfill your needs without even knowing what they are. In some cases, you are asking your partner to fulfill needs that you arenít completely clear you have.

Think about asking your partner to go to the grocery store to pick up groceries. There would be quite a problem in doing this if you didnít tell your partner what groceries you need.

Now, imagine that your partner did go to the grocery store for you, even though you didnít communicate what you needed, and returned with the wrong items. You might become angry or upset because they purchased the wrong groceries.

Leaving your partner in the dark like this is a heavy burden and can make your partner feel inept because they do not understand you better, angry because you arenít telling them what you need, and frustrated because they canít give you what you require, even if they are willing and able and want to please you.

On the flip side, you end up feeling that your partner is being unfair because they canít accommodate you (though you might not have been clear on what you needed in the first place).

Underneath this, you probably feel as though you cheated yourself by not communicating what you needed to begin with. Neglect is a terrible trap.

In a situation like this, either party can be driven to using this as justification for looking outside the relationship for love and understanding.

When you neglect your own needs and then, subsequently, resent your partner for not fulfilling these needs, you might be tempted to go outside the relationship in the hope that someone else can give you what your partner couldnít.

On the other hand, you might have been neglecting your needs and inadvertently putting the weight of the responsibility on your partner. This doesnít serve your partner in any way, and they could then be tempted to find someone who is more forthcoming with what they require.


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Dr. Frank Gunzburg is a licensed counselor in Maryland and has been specializing is helping couples restore their marriage for over 30 years. He is also the author of How to Survive an Affair, a step-by-step healing system that can help a couple repair their relationship after it has been shattered from an affair.

If your relationship has been damaged by an affair and you would like a step-by-step system for repairing your relationship, then please visit Dr. Gunzburg's site for more information:

This article was used by permission from How to Survive An Affair:
The Seven Emotional Trials the Cheater Will Face



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