Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Okay for Me to Have Needs Too?

My partner seems to forget special occasions... I feel badly yet I don't say anything about it. Should I mention it... or is it unimportant? I feel appreciated and loved all the rest of the days... am I being petty? What should I do?

We can be applauded for handling forgetfulness in a classy way. We save our partner from feeling shamed by not making a fuss when an occasion is accidentally forgotten. It is all right to forget occasionally. However, if forgetting becomes a pattern in a relationship, there is generally more going on than just an accidental lapse with regard to a date or event.

It is not uncommon to have a partner who forgets occasions. We all get the same excuses... I forgot... I didn't have time... I was busy with xyz... The truth is that we all have the same twenty four hours each day. What we do with that time is a display of what we value.

We may go through many, many occasions with us being the one to let it go until we realize that we also have needs and that it's okay to ask to have those needs met. Yes, our partner is wonderful and shows love every day in many different ways. If this one way is important to us - and it may be - then why should we discount ourselves? Our partner enjoys receiving recognition on important occasions... why not us too?

After a pattern of forgetting develops, we can have a chat with our partner. We can share that we would prefer a blank card with a picture that means something to us both... something from the heart written inside... rather than an elaborate gift. Remembrances don't have to be expensive or complex... they allow us to feel valued on days that are special to us.

Sharing how important this is to us and being vulnerable, we allow our partner to feel safe enough to share whatever the underlying issue may be. After listening and empathizing, we reassure our partner... whatever efforts they can make... whatever is on their heart... they can feel comfortable acknowledging occasions... knowing that their efforts will be appreciated.

It can work out well for both parties. We can learn to communicate our needs and in the process both we and our partner get validated. When a partner is reluctant to do something simple - like acknowledging an occasion - there is usually a deeper issue at the heart of the resistance. Eventually as partners feel safe with one another, they will share their fears and reluctance, thereby overcoming the obstacles keeping them from intimacy.

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