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What It Really Means to Have a Supportive Partner

Couple Holding Hands

“The best possible thing you can get out of a relationship is that you’re with someone who encourages you to be the best version of yourself every day.” ~Nishan Panwar

Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you felt supported? When was the last time you felt safe, at home, encouraged, and able to be 100 percent yourself?

If your partner creates a safe space for you to do this, then you are truly blessed. If not, have you ever wondered why you don’t feel safe, supported, and loved?

Two years ago my best friend told me he’d loved me for many years. It was an unforgettable day once I got over my initial shock, because for many years I’d felt the same way about him.

It took me a while to get my head around how the most beautiful man I knew, not to mention one of my best friends, wanted me over anyone else.

In the beginning of our relationship I idolized him. I had an image of him in my head as my friend, and it was one of unrealistic perfection, non-stop humor and happiness, and a loving boyfriend who would walk on hot coals for me, just as I’d watched him do for other girls.

I wanted to support him any way I could and would do anything for him, but when we got together—a difficult and confusing time for me, for many reasons—I was the one who needed supporting.

When I didn’t get what I thought I deserved, things began to look very different than I had originally imagined. Maybe he wasn’t the guy I thought he was going to be as a partner. Maybe I’d set his pedestal just a little too high.

Had going from friends to lovers been a terrible idea? But what was actually happening at the time was that I was leaning on him way too much for support, and I hadn’t even stopped to consider that the person I needed to sort out and support, first and foremost, was me.

You see, when we’re lost and confused, we often look to external influences to make us happy. We’re all guilty of it.

My experiments in how to find happiness have varied over the years—shoe shopping, drinking, drugs, yoga, meditation, and other people.

But we can’t solely rely on anything or anyone to make us happy. We have to create the happiness part for ourselves.

One major thing I realized at the beginning of our relationship was that I was asking for the world from a guy who I was placing way too many expectations and assumptions on.

I assumed just because he was finally in flow with his career that it meant that our coming together was doomed and that I’d be cast aside in favor of a new job.

I also assumed that because he wasn’t running around after me and spending every penny he had on me, as he’d done with previous overly demanding girlfriends, that I meant less to him than anyone else that had come before.

However, had he acted the way I had expected him to when I was at my lowest ebb, I would have quickly labelled him clingy, over-bearing, and annoying, and that would have been the end of that.

The truth was, he was being everything I needed him to be for where I was at that time.

I didn’t need someone who would wallow in self-pity and negativity with me, as previous partners of mine had done. I needed someone who would inspire me to be the best person I could be and show me that if I picked myself up, everything would work out just fine.

I remember him saying to me one night when I was in tears, “I know that you’re going through a lot right now, but get really excited about the future and what’s coming next rather than being fearful of it, because everything is going to be okay.”

Each time I remember those words, they mean more to me.

Let me tell you something that I have learned about what it means to have a supportive partner.

A supportive other half isn’t someone who will hang on your every word, do whatever you want, and follow you to the ends of the earth. That clinginess isn’t the “true love” that you’re searching for.

When someone truly loves and supports you, they challenge you, stand beside you when you need them, and give you the space you need to roam free and grow as a person.

They will never judge you or put constraints on your mind, your physical body, or any of your dreams. They will be a cheerleader for your cause without being a groupie. They’ll go to the other side of the world for you when you need them, but they won’t smother you.

They might not be around all the time, but for the things that really matter, or for when you are sick or in the dark, they’ll be there at your side, without you even needing to ask.

They might seem like the busiest person in the world or the least affectionate at times, but when it matters, they’ll drop everything for you.

Most of all, they will see you. This person will see what other people can’t. They’ll see you in all your beauty and grace, as well as your darkness and faults.

They will see you for the person you are now and the amazing one they know you are truly capable of becoming, even if you can’t quite see this yourself yet.

And they’ll love you. Unconditionally. And that’s really all that matters in this life.

Stop expecting things from your partner that they don’t intuitively know how to give you. You will learn and grow together, so long as you continue to communicate assertively and don’t put unreasonable demands on each other.

But it’s also up to you to become responsible for your own feelings and your own happiness. Put this first and you’ll become more lovable to your other half without even trying.

Keep supporting each other. Stop worrying that your other half is going to leave you or wrong you or let you down. Have some faith and, in return, they will have faith in you.

Stay truthful to yourself and they will reflect this beautiful truth straight back to you. And keep showing all of your colors to them—your light and your darkness. Because if they truly love you and value you, as long as you do all of this, they’re not going anywhere.

Couple holding hands image via Shutterstock

About Natalie Edwards

Natalie Edwards is a writer and speaker focusing on love, relationships and masculine and feminine energy. She inspires others to tap into their truth and learn how to authentically connect with one another. Find out more about Natalie on her website.

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  • Crystal Ramirez

    Wow. Just wow. This was so beautifully written and exactly what I needed to come across at the moment. Thank you, Natalie. Sending many positive vibes your way! 🙂

  • Ema O.

    I am thankful. This message needed to get to me today, as I needed to read it. Again, I am thankful. I have clarity now and I feel very positive. Bless you Natalie.

  • Ema, I’m so touched that this resonated with you, comments like yours are why I do what I do. x

  • Thank you for your kind words Crystal, I’m so glad the article has helped you x

  • Mags

    Thank you for this. I am slowly entering into a relationship with a friend, and have been feeling exactly the way you did. But he DOES challenge me, is always supportive, gentlemanly and protective. I know I am probably expecting too much too soon, and letting all my old fears get in the way. Amazing to me that as I sat here ruminating about this budding relationship, I read this. Thank you again!

  • Lauren

    I SO wholeheartedly needed this right now (as I type in tears). Thank you.

  • RT

    All my married life was about my husband’s happiness and life. His needs and not mine. When I got my wake up call after nearly 30 years of marriage I decided I was not going to live like this for another 30 years. I deserved the space and support I gave in the marriage. Have since separated because I deserve someone like me and he needs someone who was like me. We are two different people!

  • komal

    Lovely thought. Have been through this exactly same thing.

  • RT, I’m glad to hear you realised you deserved more, it takes time sometimes to open ourselves up to receive when we have spent such a long time giving. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Thank you for your comment Komal, glad to hear it resonated.

  • Lauren, thank you for commenting, I am so glad to hear this piece struck a chord with you and was helpful, I wish you all the best going forward from here.

  • Thank YOU for sharing Mags, it’s funny how our deepest fears can crop up when we least expect them and be triggered by the people we care for the most. But it sounds like you’re already getting friendly with those fears which is great, and because of that I know the journey you’re about to go on will unfold beautifully for you!

  • Thank you for the very thoughtful and soul-baring article.

    Are you and your best friend-turned-partner still together?

  • I’m so glad you enjoyed the article Dave, and we are indeed still together 🙂

  • KarmaBum

    Tiny Buddha always publishes the right articles at the right time. Thanks for this!

  • Leslie

    This post was just beautiful. I can’t wait to share it with my husband. It’s not fair to him when I expect him to make me happy, but he is always there to listen and even when he loses his patience, he comes back and apologizes and tells me what a great job I’m doing. This is really hitting home right now as brand new parents. We are a team and always strive to be.

  • TJ

    Been in your best friend turned partner position however the lady wasn’t as thoughtful as you,really hope i was able to find this article before she left but sadly it didn’t turn out well.

  • Thanks for the kind comment, you’re welcome!

  • Leslie, thank you for your lovely words and I’m so glad this has resonated and given you a new perspective. I wish you all the best together and congratulations on becoming parents!

  • TJ, thank you for commenting and sharing. I’m sorry to hear that but I believe everything happens for a reason and as long as you stay connected to who you really are, that’s all that matters. I wish you the best for the future.

  • Lindsay

    This is an amazing post! So many times I see people saying “love yourself first before someone else can love you” but the words didn’t click. This post is identical to what I’m going through right now. It’s so weight-lifting to realize that others have been there. And here I thought I was just a terrible GF alone in it all. Thank you for the wise words and advice. I’m motivated now more than ever to focus on myself and my happiness and to take my boyfriends love and support as benefits, not the answer to all of my problems.

  • Lindsay, thank you so much for taking the time to comment and I’m glad my writing has come at the right time for you. I took me a long time to identify with the self-love part too, it isn’t overnight for those of us who have been automatic about being negative towards ourselves for so long, but I’m so happy you’re stepping into that powerful and more motivated place now, it’s a much happier one. Wishing you all the best.

  • Cass

    Thank you so much for this. This was just what I needed. I’ve suffered (and still do) with the idea that smother love is the only way that I will ever feel satisfied in a relationship. I hate to admit my ‘clingy’ nature, and I try to work past it. A lot of it resonates in my self doubt.
    This piece of writing truly puts things into perspective for me, I will refer to it when I am feeling down..Thanks Natalie!

  • Thao

    Wonderful and well written article! Thanks so much for sharing; it was just what I needed to see because I’m having such a hard time being happy on my own. I’m a confident person yet i seek so much happiness externally.

  • You’re so welcome Cass, I’m glad the article helped, but don’t worry about the fact that you feel you’re ‘clingy’ – I had the same thought, but in reality, as you say, it’s not that you’re clingy, you’re just someone very much in love but still doubting yourself and once you find the vibrancy and variety that you’re looking for in the rest of your life, that word ‘clingy’ won’t be so loud in your mind. x

  • Thanks for commenting Thao, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Keep tapping into that internal happiness and vitality that’s already available within you, sometimes it’s not easy to see but I promise you it’s worth the inquiry.

  • Yellow dog

    Thank you for this. It has confirmed what I already secretly knew was right, having ended a very long relationship that my gut feeling told me wasn’t right. This person was not there for me at all when my father died, and when I expressed my disappointment and hurt over that, he wrote me a long letter “explaining” why he was not, he thought he was doing what I wanted. Then, took offense to my utter shock and hurt over that. really? You think the right thing to do is stay away, not only when I told you my father was dying, but also when he actually did pass? This person continually, 14 years later, tries to suck me back in. I have decided to cut all contact, and have not spoken to him for 3 months. Your post confirms I am right. Trust your gut.

  • You’re welcome, thank you for commenting and sharing, and I’m glad it’s resonated but as you say it sounds like you are already doing a great job at trusting yourself and sometimes that means letting people go who are no longer serving us. I wish you all the best. x

  • Pankaj Shahare

    Thank you..!!

  • Pankaj Shahare

    Great Post

  • Thank you for your kind comment Pankaj, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • silvia gonzalez

    I agree with the message but don’t necesarily agree with all of it. To me happiness is important from both partners in a relationship you shouldn’t EXPECT for them to make you happy but if you are with the right person that should automatically happen. Seems to me that you are saying that all woman would think that an affectionate and attentive man would be looked at as “clingy”. Not so. I myself love being shown live through actions EVERYDAY not just when I am down or in a dark place. A lifetime partner is one that treats the relationship as “new” throughout the years and each partner puts one another first so no one is doing not than another’s. It just seems like the article is telling woman to be complacent and just accept what they can get as long as they are okay with a little attention in dark times. You should be with someone is compatible not settle because it’s asking too much or not letting them grow if you want more attention. With 6 billion people in the world we shouldn’t have to just say oh well this person is too busy if it’s something you want like most woman. Like I said I get the message you are trying to convey and while that may work for some woman other women know what they really want and can get it if they believe in finding that one person

  • Thanks so much for commenting Silvia. Your comment “It just seems like the article is telling woman to be complacent and just accept what they can get as long as they are okay with a little attention in dark times” isn’t quite what I was trying to say, but I can understand the interpretation or confusion. I’m actually trying to empower women out there with this piece and I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m telling them to be complacent, or telling them what to do from any angle, I’m really just sharing my experience in the hope it inspires others. But as just as you rightly say, each of us intuitively knows what we want and need from a partner, and what we want from life, and as I mention in the piece, it’s up to us to communicate that to the person we’re with as we learn more about ourselves rather than assuming they know or placing expectation on that person, and as we keep that communication going through life, so the relationship grows stronger.

  • Zintle

    After reading this article i connected more with everything that is being said. Its amazing how real it is and how we tend to overlook certain things in our relationships. Im inspired to be the better me. Good Vibes. Thank you

  • Zintle, thank you so much for this heartfelt comment, I’m glad the article resonated and I wish you all the best for the future.

  • Ellie

    This just came at the perfect time to me! I believe this is a sign because I read it just when I needed it. I just hope that is not too late for my relationship.

  • Hi Ellie, thanks for commenting and I’m so glad to hear the article helped. As long as you’re open and communicative in a compassionate and authentic way with your partner, it won’t be too late and whatever happens whilst you’re operating from an honest place is what’s meant to be. Keep in touch x

  • Rokstedy

    I really needed this. Thank you!

  • So welcome Rokstedy! I’m glad it resonated and wishing you all the best. x

  • Helen Bach

    I tend to not agree with your statement that a loving partner will be a certain way like your description that they will somehow be this benevolent remote figure that will allow you a lot of “space:” to grow. That’s what YOU need. But not everyone who is in love will follow a specific formula. That’s the beauty of the world and how different people are. It just sounds really overly modernistic and positive like how you expect people to talk if they are “enlightened”. But some people have really intense and closely connected relationships because that works for them, and part of that dynamic could even appear to an outsider as less than ideal but it serves the needs of both partners. I think many intellectually based romantic relationships can have an element of conflict in them but in an intellectually stimulating way. Some people do actually enjoy and need and share more. Happiness is a state of emotion that changes. Perhaps you mean “contentment”, the kind when someone truly feels they are where they should be and in the company of the individual they need & committed to. That is more based on certainty inside, and also not blaming the other person for the times you feel bad. It’s about owning all your emotions, accepting yourself and the other person, and knowing this is

    If your definition of a supportive partner means that you don’t burden them too much with your problems & needs, then you actually have a lack of acceptance issue either on your part or towards your partner. Because nobody should feel they must hold back for fear of burdening the partner. The partner should just recognize when their loved one needs more help, like to get some therapy. It serves the purpose of recognizing a problem and actually helping your partner to get the help they need. When you censoring yourself or you are being pressured by your partner to modify your speech, then you are hiding and burrying an internal problem that could be recognized and helped through a psychiatric evaluation and/or therapy (I recommend both because most therapists are unable to make proper diagnosis of different things that look like depression! such as ADHD or other mood disorders and personality disorders).

    There should be less shame about needs between couples and more communication. The men can speak of their haunting need for physical intimacy and the women can speak of their haunting need for emotional intimacy. And in talking then there is hope.

  • Helen Bach

    Yes this was kind of my reaction, since I don’t really relate to the benevolent but a little remote at times type of man. I couldn’t handle that. I would not see a need unless he was providing financial support. Even then, it would not suit me.

  • Helen Bach

    Wow!! The same thing just happened to me, and I felt intuitively that it was a bad sign. I will be watching this guy a bit more closely now. But he’s not my boyfriend anyhow, just someone who is very very close emotionally to me. But he basically acted exactly how you described. We had a huge argument over it, but initially I was just asking what was behind his distancing of himself for like a month after my mom died. He ultimately confessed he fears death but I feel uncertain about that still. I’m left wondering if he’s a bit of a narcissist, although he’s not that bad. But it’s definitely all about him most of the time, I am starting to see.

  • Thanks for commenting Helen. This article was written based on my personal realisations at the time, but my partner and I have a very loving and accepting relationship and he was there for me through therapy and recommended I got it many years ago. I totally agree with you that talk and communication is key in relationships and we are extremely open with one another about everything in our lives. This article wasn’t intended to highlight any shame about needs between couples, quite the opposite, it was merely talking about how we can sometimes come to our own powerful realisations and that self development work is very important so that we’re not always expecting too much of others or relying on them – this goes for friends and partners or any other relationships. Thanks for sharing your views.

  • Kristen

    I needed this right now…wow

  • Jojo

    This just knocked the nail right at its head for me. I have been struggling with my own insecurities that I found myself sabotaging my own relationships because I am constantly projecting my expectations onto others. I have had past relationships in which all the men were kind, patient and loving with me but I just kept nitpicking because I was insecure. I was worried that they didn’t love me anymore.

    Now I’m in a 1.5 years relationship with a man that has been so patient and loving, but the same old feelings have crept up. He is ambitious and goes after his career and all I can think of is my fear of being cast aside like you mentioned. I expect him to act a certain way to make me happy and he tries his best because he loves me but he has told me that he doesn’t understand why I’m throwing stones at our relationship and for matters that aren’t really there.

    The quote I picked out, really stood out to me because I realised how petty I have been. He has been so supportive of me, the question now is how supportive have I been for him? I will keep this article close to heart and resolute to take control of my emotions. No amount of “I promise I won’t do it again” will cut it until I actually start appreciating him. Thank you so much for this.

    “They might not be around all the time, but for the things that really matter, or for when you are sick or in the dark, they’ll be there at your side, without you even needing to ask.

    They might seem like the busiest person in the world or the least affectionate at times, but when it matters, they’ll drop everything for you.

    Most of all, they will see you. This person will see what other people can’t. They’ll see you in all your beauty and grace, as well as your darkness and faults.”

  • Javagirl

    Hello. Great article and how I am feeling right now too. I’ve been married for 2 years and learning more about our relationship every day. It’s a bit scary to go through this process when you are with someone and want to stay committed for life and maybe your needs will change and you don’t know if they can be met. I am going to trust the process. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Kristen, thank you for commenting beautiful, I’m glad it resonated x

  • Jojo thank you for such lovely words and it means the world to me that you’ve found this article so useful. Don’t be hard on yourself, it takes time to unwind feelings that are familiar to us if it’s all we’ve ever known, it’s a defence mechanism to keep us safe because we’re human and that might have been the only way we survived until now, so just know you’re learning and doing your best. Show yourself love & compassion first and then you’ll get that reflected back to you. x

  • Javagirl thank you for commenting and sharing your experience lovely. We learn so much from each other every day and you will learn more and more as you continue on your journey or being married, but instead of feeling scared, try to channel that energy into excitement and curiosity because it is a really exciting journey for you to both go on and one that is extremely courageous and bold. Marriage is a co-creation of a life together and is something to be admired. I wish you so much love – keep being kind to yourself and loving yourself first and you will find that is reflected right back to you from your partner x

  • This resonates so much with me right now. I just wrote a blog post on how my partner supports me behind the scenes of my blog and while writing I realized how blessed I was for having someone who supports me the way that he does. I can find exactly everything you mention back in him.
    This was a great read, thank you for sharing!

  • Kell

    This brought tears to my eyes, it was so beautifully written and makes me beyond thankful I have a lover who supports me and pushes me to be the best person I can be, even when I have a hard time seeing it myself some days. I feel so blessed to have someone who wants me to grow into being the best version of myself rather than holding me back like I have dealt with in previous relationships. So much gratitude for posting this and I can’t wait to share this article with him ❤️

  • Thank you for commenting Kristien! He sounds like an amazing person! x

  • Ah Kell thank you for sharing this, I’m so glad you’ve found someone who allows you your own space to grow. With love x

  • Allie Wanders

    Perfectly timed! I am hitting some testy moments in my relationship and this is exactly what I needed. I put way too many expectations on a partner, and I need to relax and realize that I can support myself even if I don´t get what I need from my other half. Thank you so much!

  • WRITER1

    Beautiful article..

  • Ailie Baumann

    You hit the nail right on the head. After 9 years of marriage, I can honestly say that communication, authenticity, and support are important to any successful relationship. Too often we women are trying to change our men or unintentionally place high demands on them when all they want is for us to be 100% comfortable in our own skin, accepting of ourselves and them.

  • Jane

    This is so exactly right and a difficult concept to grasp! Im going to reread this next time that I feel needy!

  • moipone

    Wow this just made me realize that I have the most unsupportive husband he always discourages and when I am sick he is never there to take care of me my mother is there

  • margret

    wow this is really beautiful!! i love it!!!

  • margret

    everything was very well put together, good job

  • Monta Musinska

    Doesn’t work for me at all. I don’t expect too much from my partner, this is not the case at all! I give him his space, i support him in every way i can, i talk, i tell him everything, but he “can’t hear me” if you know what i mean. I want all that for me too, i have waited and tried so hard, nothing is working. He is a good man, he is ! But there is just something about him.. He doesn’t talk, he says he has nothing in his mind. NEVER! This quote is exactly opposite for me:”Most of all, they will see you. This person will see what other people can’t. They’ll see you in all your beauty and grace, as well as your darkness and faults.” It’s more like he is the blindest of them all ! But important part is- he is not a shady or untrustworthy person!
    In blogs like this i always try to find something what i am doing wrong, why he has nothing to say to me, why he never hears and sees me.? I still haven’t found anything that could explain me that..

  • Joanna Ruckenstein

    I so agree with you Helen! Thanks for saying this.
    I was just in a relationship with a great man, but who had no patience for my emotions. Sometimes he was good and understanding…but if I had a problem with his actions, he just couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t even handle pressure from his clients, but decided to stay in customer service…go figure. It makes him money.
    I know I said the wrong thing the last time we spoke on the phone, but I was almost testing him, to see if he would say what he usually said…”I don’t need this, I don’t want this”..How can I bargain with a man like that? If I made him upset he would shut down and not call me for a day-2 days…I can’t tolerate that. So we broke up.

    I’ve contacted him since and gotten very cold replies, so I’m moving on. If I can’t get the emotional support I need from him when I’m vulnerable, when I’ve given him emotional support, then I think he doesn’t deserve me. I can’t compromise on it. By just cutting me off, he gives me no chance to say sorry, he can’t forgive me, he say’s “he just wanted to be understood”…Really? Don’t we all.

    I thought I was a woman who could have her own life and my man to have his own life, and we just get together every so often. Turns out, I want a relationship where we share everything and are spiritually and emotionally very close. I’m changing my story back, because I have to be true to myself. I’m a needy person emotionally and need to know that my man is there for me that way, and that he is willing to hold my hand through hard times. This last guy is still bitter about a past bad relationship and is not ready to look at himself…he just wants to work and make money…so fine.

    It sucks, but I know we were not meant to be. I say, if he ever decides I’m his woman, he’ll come for me. And maybe I’ll think about it. But I deserve much better. I deserve to show my vulnerability without feeling scared that it won’t be received with love. I can’t pretend to be someone else. My heart is so big I feel I can love the entire world.

    My best wishes and tons of love for anyone going through a breakup or hard times romantically. Tell your partner the truth about your vulnerability and in a loving way. We should be able to open ourselves up totally to the one we love.

    P.S. I’m reading a book called “Hold me tight- Seven conversations for a lifetime of love”…It’s very insightful for me. Speak from the heart instead of giving each other s#$t all the time. Come from a place of love, it will go over better. And please find someone who has forgiveness in their heart. We shouldn’t be scared to fly off the handle once in a while.

    Hoping to one day find that man…I have to believe I’m getting closer

  • Wombat

    “Stop expecting things from your partner that they don’t intuitively know how to give you”. But what if those things are how to be there for you if you’re sick or in the dark?
    Serious question.
    My partner can be loving and attentive, supportive of my interests and values but he has no idea how to be emotionally supportive when I’m ill, or in serious emotional distress.

    His default starting point is “Why are you being so difficult? Can’t you see your behaviour is unhelpful? Don’t you understand how difficult it is for me to cope with your behaviour?”Then his temper unravels and he ends up shouting. Within a month of my mother’s sudden death, the fights had got so bad that one night I called the police.

    Things settled down slightly for a while, but for the past few months I have been ill and in near-constant pain, and instead of support when I am at my most vulnerable and in need of help, he goes on the attack. Only, that’s the phrase he uses at me.
    I try to get him to see that what I need is to be comforted, not lectured, then shouted at. Sometimes he apologies for his loss of temper, but within moments he’s shouting again.

    It’s as though he sees my distress as some sort of threat that he must protect himself from. If only I could avoid ever being sick, exhausted or distressed, everything would be fine. But that’s not realistic, so it seems to me that I either have to leave, or have some sort of bolt hole, somewhere I can go when I’m at my lowest, to heal myself alone.

  • Alex

    What I am seeing here is you have a need to be heard yet your partner doesn’t seem present.
    I don’t think it is something you are doing wrong, nor he. It’s perhaps the beauty of miscommunication.

    It’s unclear if he is actually listening but it does appear he is not responding. He may not understand what you mean when you ask him to listen, or he may not know what to say because he isn’t thinking about something.

    If you are willing to give this a go, perhaps gently ask him to simply repeat back in his own words what you have said to him. To respond to what you have said. Clarifying this is what you mean when you ask him to listen. Let him know you can’t know if he has understood unless he has responded, and this helps you to feel heard.

    This does go both ways and allows a door of communication to open 🙂

    If he is unwilling or unable to do this, then it may be a case of acceptance on your part. Acceptance he may not be able to fulfill your need to be heard. You will then have to take responsibility for your need and find avenues in which you can fulfill it (such as talking to friends, family).
    If this is the case and you can not accept this then you are now expecting something from your partner that he can not give you. It may mean that you two aren’t compatible. Though keep in mind to accept is a choice 🙂

    Now this is just my interpretation of your situation and what may help. It could very well be incorrect so please take it with a grain of salt. I am no expert.

  • Monta Musinska

    like your advice. It sounds like something we could try and i actualy believe he would try that. The only problem now is that i am not that open with him anymore, i have built some walls.. But ok. I can try to break them. We are in a relationship after all and walls and lack of communication won’t give us any good in the end.
    But yeah i totally liked your advice. I see you are no expert but still you talk good stuff! 🙂
    Cheers!

  • Meredith Anne

    Thank you so much. You have no idea how much this is helping me tonight.

  • Shelly

    WOW!!!!! That just brought me to tears. I so needed to read that. I am speechless. Thank you for that. It almost feels like a slap in the face. A good slap. Loved it.

  • curvecrazy

    I see its a year since you posted this. I hope you sorted out your situation with this guy. You mentioned him being a great man but great men don’t trample others and they can accept feedback and criticism if need be and the determiner of that is YOU and your feelings and how this great mans actions or words affected YOU. A relationship by definition involves two people. As such, each partner should consider the other as an equal and as worthy in their perceptions and point of view etc… You mentioned him having no “patience” for your emotions! There’s nothing great about that in a relationship. The outcome of this will likely be you clamming up and not expressing your feelings for fear of retribution! The old “It’s not worth it to say anything he’ll just demoralize me” routine. You’re already being punished for your behavior with emotional abuse which, btw, silent treatment is emotional abuse, the intention being to inflict rejection and pain and to train the partner to not go there again! Is it not? You claimed you were testing him but even if so he’s testing you too!!! So? Pass the test and run fast and far for your own emotional wellbeing! Keep running till you come upon a truly great man. His outward looks might not be grand or anything really to write home about but he’s caring, he’s considerate, he’s empathetic, he’s interested in your happiness and your needs, he cherishes you and considers you a blessing in his life and that he’s so lucky to have you, he’s present when he’s with you( not checked out on his phone or the TV or?), he’s there for you, you know it, he shows you through his actions( not just the rancid old “I love you” regularly stated ambivalently without emotion or after another bout of psychological abuse [blame shifting! silent treatment, purposefully ignoring you to hurt you, throwing little shots at you to break you and reduce your self worth! gas lighting you etccc] all intended to demoralize you and take away your power. That this great man you mentioned is showing inability to accept criticism shows he’s got personal problems(narcissist tendencies?) or there’s a power and worth differentiate there going on where someone is worth more in the relationship than someone else smarter, better looking, more accomplished, better background, ? It goes on and on the number of perspectives but it seems the imbalance is there and you seem to be the one caring?
    I hope you still running cause you should be! Let him ply his wares on someone else and retain your dignity! I can tell from your post that your smart but sometimes smart people can be emotionally stupid! It doesn’t seem to me this person is healthy for YOU. Your feelings, wants, needs prospects etc are important, as much so as his, don’t you forget it and don’t let that great man (TOOL….sorry…..but?) tell you otherwise through his words or his actions! You deserve to be happy and reading your post it’s clear that you are NOT. This/these are early signs of what’s to come if you dig in so dont!!! I hope you’re well a year later and found a prince. 🙂

  • curvecrazy

    You’re in a real pickle there. I believe a partner who lacks empathy is about as good as no partner at all. This is a good times companion. Proving his metal when things are great and cutting you deep with his metal when you’re down. I can empathize. There’s a reason in the marriage vows “For Better or For Worse”. I interpret this vow as a statement by the vower that “I’m in come what may thick or thin!!!”. You?
    So you’re left very much alone in your life at the most difficult times the emotional understanding and support you thought you were signing up for nowhere to be found or felt! I know it hurts but stay strong and be kind to you. These types of partners cause us much grief and consternation and we’re left wondering if our expectations were unreasonable and the self doubt etc… Yet, when he goes through the same thing you’d be there 300% physically and emotionally or you probably already have been! Disheartening and I wish I had answers.

  • curvecrazy

    So how did this work out for you? It did sound like good advice and I too am having similar concerns. Mines built up walls too and I’d like to break um but it feels like an impasse. Mine will lock herself into her cell phone and the Internet or the TV and there’s no communication at all. Like two planets in a big universe or is that planets in different universes? LOL

  • curvecrazy

    Good for you stranger. You are courageous. You have the power and you’re taking control of your own life and future. I hope you find happiness. The basic empathy seems nonexistent with your ex and lacking “that emotion” in your partner what do you have? This is worse than a partner constantly nagging you and breaking your spirit but I’m with you here that this one, “Being there for me!”, falls under my most basic relationship expectations. Yes it’s an expectation and rightfully so, if I’m going to slog the tough times in life in emotional isolation then what’s the point being in a relationship at all. Yeah, this persons around during the good times but when the $hit hits the fan I’m on my own or worse he/she will add to the burden causing me additional emotional consternation. Not so great….

  • curvecrazy

    Trust your gut cause your gut don’t lie. These types show us who they are through their actions and their subsequent excuses. Listen to what he’s telling you or fail to do so at your own…..

  • curvecrazy

    It’s called taking back your power. If your partners put you on the shelf or the back burner and your attempts to communicate your disappointment aren’t getting anywhere then take the initiative and get involved in your own interests or even developing new interests with other people and start developing yourself and your network. If the boyfriends head is on straight he’ll see the forest for the trees if not your already going in a positive personal empowering direction and you can just keep going. :).

  • Joanna Ruckenstein

    @curvecrazy:disqus I just saw u replied to me in my emails tonight and had to read because I think it’s so generous and sweet of you to respond to me! Thank you infinitely for your kind words 🙂
    This “great” (haha, not!) man and I are not together…that time we had our last conversation in July last year was the last time we spoke or saw each other. It took me about 2 months after the breakup to get back to myself, and I’m in a very good place now. I’m so happy that he’s not in my life anymore. Yes, thanks for saying I’m smart but when it comes to relationships, I have been known to let a man treat me like #$%t. No more of that! Since last year, I’m just raising my standards more and more and finally learning from mistakes and past pain. I’m also staying single for a long time now to focus on my dreams.

    I hope you’re well too and Happy New Year!
    P.S. For anyone going through a tough time due to a break up, I will share what worked so well for me last year. I went to a hypnotherapist, and also a woman who does Theta healing. After any breakup (if you didn’t do it during your relationship), I recommend working on yourself, figuring out why patterns are repeated, why you were unhappy, etc…we must realize that we need to stay ourselves in a relationship, and try to be the best humans we can be. Anyone who gets in our way does not truly love us..
    xo

  • Kim Beverlyy

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  • panda

    Thank you.

  • Eileen Wong

    This was a fantastic read! 🙂 I guess with society telling us that we need a perfect image of a relationship, we quickly forget how to really appreciate and enjoy our partner’s presence in our lives. We depend our happiness on them, so that we can tell others how happy they make us. But at the end of the day, we don’t need to share everything with everyone. We can just silently feel the gratitude and happiness for having someone who supports us through thick and thin. Thank you for this post!! Loving the beautiful positivity.

  • Truth Seeker

    I thought I had this. I told him I’m feeling emotionally disconnected and was told it’s my fault because we don’t have sex enough so he doesn’t feel emotionally connected either and that’s how he feels connected. I gave up my entire family and moved across the country for the man. All I wanted was some emotionally connection! But your post says that’s unfair to ask for? Because he doesn’t intuitively know how to give It? I’m confused.