The Question To Ask Yourself When You Have Unmet Expectations In A Relationship

Unmet needs don't have to be the norm in any relationship.

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You've been in a relationship for some time, but you're beginning to feel unsatisfied. Whether it's a lack of intimacy or romance, it can be hard to know where to go from there.

Fortunately, psychologist Dr. Amanda Hanson sheds light on why these feelings arise and what to do about them.



The Question To Ask Yourself If Your Relationship Expectations Aren't Met

It's common to feel like you're being too needy in a relationship, especially when your partner keeps telling you so. They might say something like, "You're expectations are too high, and that's why you're never happy."


But the reality is, that we all have needs that must be fulfilled for us to feel satisfied and happy in our relationships.

And when our expectations aren't being met, that's when unhappiness seeps in. You'll find yourself growing meeker and draining yourself to appear "less difficult."

Hanson asks, “Rather than starting to think that we want to much, is it possible that the relationship is not giving us enough?”

And if so, what conversations do we need to have with our partner and how do we have them?

Communicating your needs isn't easy, but it's not impossible. Licensed marriage and family therapist Renee Spencer explores various ways you can effectively communicate your needs to your partner in a healthy manner.


If you want to improve your communication about your needs, here are a few things to keep in mind.

RELATED: Why Expectation Is The Root Of All Heartache

How To Communicate Your Needs With Your Partner

1. Be blunt.

When you're expressing your needs, it's important to be upfront and direct with your partner. I understand this can be challenging, as you never want to come across as unkind or unreasonable.

However, refusing to be direct means we are refusing to put our needs first.

So, sit down and say, "Hey, I've noticed I've been handling a lot of the housework lately. I understand you work a lot, but I could really use some help with the dishes. Could we make time to do our household chores together?"


Through this, you're stating what you need while acknowledging the potential difficulties that prevent them from meeting your needs. Moreover, you're remaining respectful and gentle in your approach.



2. Use “I” statements.

"Using 'I' statements helps to soften the blow," says Spencer. You're probably wondering why softening the blow is important. Who cares?

But put yourself in your spouse's position for a second. If they come up to you and say, "You're making me feel angry," what would be your automatic reaction? Likely, you'll get defensive and pick a fight.


This is why using "I" statements is important during conversations. Saying, "I feel angry," is much gentler and easier for your partner to take in.

This way, they'll be more open to discussing and finding ways to work with you to make sure you feel satisfied in your relationship.



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3. Start small and build your way up.

Do you have multiple needs that aren't being met? Don't bring up all your needs at once. This can feel overwhelming and likely, you're partner won't be able to meet them all. 

"Instead, start small with your demands," says Spencer. She continues, “Most people want to do things that make their partner feel good.” So, be sure to let your partner know how grateful you are for their actions.

After that, go through your list of needs slowly. Once your partner gets into the habit of fulfilling the current need you've expressed, express a new one. 


Admitting that you're unhappy in your relationship can be difficult. However, acknowledging our unmet needs allows us to address them with our partners and work through them together.

RELATED: 5 Disasters Caused By Ignoring Your Partner’s Relationship Expectations

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.