how to ask for help
January 26, 2014 5:39 AM Subscribe
I've been dating a guy since the summer. I need help with asking for things I need in the relationship.
posted by swamp rocket to Human Relations (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
We've been dating since the summer and he is one of the sweetest men I have ever met. Every time I get up the nerve to talk to him about something, he is always SO kind to me. Which means I've already told him a lot of stuff that I normally don't share with other people, just because he feels so safe. But we've only been together for 6 months, and that's apparently not enough to completely overcome my lifelong habits of keeping things to myself and suffering in silence and trying not to have any needs at all.
I am trying to learn how to communicate better with him about what I need, because being with him makes me want to do better. My solution at the moment is to write him emails about things that are too difficult for me to just say in person. Every time I've done this, he has written me back quickly and kindly. Then I go over to his place and he gives me a big hug (if I'm ready for a big hug) and we talk about whatever it is. During those conversations, he says things to me like, "You can always tell me if you're upset about something." I understand all of the words in that sentence, but emotionally it doesn't make any sense to me, because before I met him, people mostly just got angry with me for being upset about things.
I've gotten to the point where I've even talked to him about how hard it is for me to ask him for things--even tiny things--and he has reassured me that it is okay to ask. But here is my problem: I need to ask for some of those things in person and in the moment in order to feel cared for. Some of it's sex stuff ("Hey, could you do this to me?"or "Could we do it like this instead of like that?"). Some of it's everyday stuff ("Could I have a hug?" or "Could I talk to you about something for a minute?"). But even with his reassurances, every time I try and say something like that to him, I get so scared (of what, I'm not even sure) and frozen that I can't make myself open my mouth.
I know I probably need to cowboy up and go to therapy in order to work on the underlying issues, but in the meantime: do you have any tricks or words of advice that will help me open my mouth and talk to him in these situations?