By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist and author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” shares his best tips for getting what you want in a relationship.
Tribune News Service
If you get everything you want in a relationship, your partner could be left with very little, and that imbalance can create problems. Here are some tips to help you both get what you need for a successful relationship and enjoy it along the way.
1. Ask nicely. When you are sweet to the one you love, it will make it much easier to get things to go your way. It’s amazing how well it works to pretend that you are together on a lifelong honeymoon.
2. Give what you want to receive. If you want more attention, then give more to your partner. Being affectionate is a good habit; we get used to it and want more if it goes away. A long romantic hug and kiss is the best way to get that started.
3. Use gentle bribery. If you are too tired to go shopping, you can make it a win-win by saying something like “I’ll cook your favorite dinner if you go to the store and help clean up.” To me, that’s a very fair trade-off.
4. Remember to smile. If things aren’t going your way and you get pouty or angry, which is a way of controlling others, your partner will be less likely to comply, unless it’s just to get you off his or her back. Drop your attitude and reread tip No. 1.
5. Plan ahead. If you want to take a vacation, it’s best to start your planning/dreaming well in advance. Decide where you want to go, how you want to get there, and what you will do. This works equally well in many other areas of your life.
6. Leverage holidays. If you would like something very big, let it count for your birthday or another holiday. Sometimes it’s easier for the other person to be more considerate of your wishes if an important holiday is approaching.
7. Start doing it yourself. If your partner doesn’t want to plant spring flowers, start doing it yourself. If your partner wants to spend time with you, maybe he or she will join in or at least make you some iced tea and watch you sweat. Your partner may want to join in simply because it’s more fun than doing something else alone.
8. Ask in a way that makes your partner laugh. A good belly laugh can open up your spirit. It’s so easy to say yes when you are having a good time. (Note that using alcohol is not fair. It has to come from both your hearts, not a bottle.)
9. Talk it out. Never use anger or silence. The most important thing in a relationship is communication. Don’t expect your partner to be psychic. If you’re not getting what you want or need, inside or outside of the relationship, and you don’t talk about what’s going on with you, things can get toxic very quickly. So speak up.
10. Be loving and supportive. I know that should be normal, but it usually isn’t. Let your partner know you love and respect him or her. Validate your partner as often as possible. Building that kind of energy will help you create a great life together.
Keeping emotions and needs balanced is not easy, but it is simple. Always observe and be open to the gentle direction your mate gives you.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)