“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility; for it thinks all things lawful for itself, and all things possible.” ~Thomas Ã Kempis
Whenever you share your emotional needs with your spouse/partner, you make yourself vulnerable. In essence, you declare, “This [need] is important to me, and you have the power to fulfill this need, or you can deny my request. I hope you decide to at least try.”
Once you enter a committed, intimate relationship, the expectation is formed that you and your partner will attempt to meet each other’s needs, whenever possible. Feeling inconvenienced, bothered, or annoyed by your partner’s requests should not deter you from being available for him/her.
In fact, if you only respond to your partner or spouse out of convenience (e.g., your wife asks you to hug her more often and you only do so when you’re in the mood), you send a powerful message that reads something like:
“Your needs—and your requests that I meet your needs—often feel like a burden to me. I do not want to feel put out by you, and whenever I have to push myself to meet your needs or put in effort for the sake of the relationship, I do so begrudgingly.”
This is the message couples unwittingly send each other when repeated requests for love, caring and support are met with repeated unresponsiveness.
Relationship Help Self-Reflection
Do you ever feel like a burden to your partner? Has your partner ever said that s/he feels like a burden to you?
The fact is that your partner will not be able to meet all of your psychological and emotional needs, nor should s/he. But when couples consistently attempt to be emotionally present and responsive to each other, the following powerful message is sent:
“You matter to me! And while there will be times when I’m too tired or self-absorbed or stressed to be there for you, I will make efforts to do so.”
Part of the bond that holds relationships together is the feeling that we matter to our loved ones—the deep and pervasive feeling that you are important to your spouse/partner. When these messages are mutually shared, feelings of emotional security blanket the relationship, and the potential for a strong emotional connection exists.
How can you consistently send the relationship affirming message: “You matter to me,” rather than the toxic message, “You are a burden to me”?
Wishing you and your relationship all the best,
Dr. Rich Nicastro