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Dr. Romance: 5 Common Mistakes in Relationships


Dr. Romance: 5 Common Mistakes in Relationships


Relationships: 5 Common Mistakes when Asking your Spouse for What You Want


By TINA TESSINA

    There are some common mistakes couples make when asking for what they want in a relationship. Here are some things that may be keeping you from achieving success with your spouse. They are the most common mistakes you can make when trying to ask for what you want when you're struggling to make your marriage work.

1. Exaggerate your want.
The fear that you may not get what you want may cause you to say you want more than you really do. This is confusing to both you and your partner, and because your wants are exaggerated, makes it look much more difficult to reach a satisfactory solution than it really is.


2. Overstate your need.
The fear that you won't get your wants met may cause you to state what you want as if your survival depended on it ("I'll just DIE if you don't come with me"). This causes your partner to feel suspicious that he or she is being manipulated, and resist cooperating with you.
 
3. Argue for or justify your want.
Anxiety that your wants are not important enough to be satisfied may lead you to present them as a persuasive argument, with an overwhelming flood of reasons why you should want them or that the wants should be satisfied, ("I should get more of the money than you do, because ......."). This can provoke your partner to object and argue in return, rather than listen.

4. Not say what you want.
Belief that you won't get what you want anyway, or that differences in wants will cause a fight, may lead you to say you "don't care" or "it's not important" or just be silent, when the truth is you'll resent not getting what you want.

5. Understate your want.
Fear that your partner will be upset, hurt or unhappy if you say what you really want may lead you to ask for something else ("Let’s ask your sister to go with us" when you really want an evening all alone together.) This confuses your partner, and makes it impossible to get what you really want because you haven't said what it is.


Tina Tessina, Ph.D., has been a licensed California psychotherapist for more than 30 years. She has authored more than 11 books, including "Money, Sex and Kids"; “The Commuter Marriage: Keeping your Relationship Close While you’re Far Apart”; "How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free"; "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again"; and, “It Ends with You: Grow Up and Grow Out of Dysfunction.”  Tina can be reached at tina@tinatessina.com.




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