"If I can't see your selfishness, I can't believe your generosity." Betty Martin
Many of us have a problem expressing our desires and wants in our intimate relationships.
For men, this can stem from psychological patriarchy that deems wanting, vulnerability or need as something negative.
For others, not wanting protects us from rejection or ridicule.
But if we don't express our wants, then we become bitter, and lonely. Over time, our partner will begin to assume we don't want anything, and that we're always content- which makes us less interesting. The result? Our needs are not seen or met.
Daring to voice our desires!
In this talk we share the different reasons why partners avoid sharing, and the costs of such elusion, through examples from our life and the clinic.
Practical tips will help you bravely articulate your desires in your relationship.
Click here to join our mailing list and get free resources on enriching relationships every month to your inbox.
I say, what do you want? I want you to be happy. Okay. But like, to me, you want, whatSpeaker 2:
Do I want? I don't really know. I'm not sure it's clear for me what I want for you, but it's not clear for me what I wantSpeaker 1:
For myself. Hmm . That's interesting. Do you know that?Speaker 2:
Do you know that issue where you're not really clear what you want or how you want it,Speaker 1:
Or you're unable to express explicitly what it is that you want or even identify yeah . Or feel worthy or prioritize for want?Speaker 2:
So if so, you're in good company because a lot of us have problems with not recognizing what we want and asking for it. And today we're going to talk about why that happens and how to change thatSpeaker 3:
You are listening to the potential state podcast with your hosts, Dr. Sal and gullied Romanelli. Hi, my name is Dr . SeveralSpeaker 1:
Minnelli , and this is the potentialSpeaker 2:
State I'm talking about dare to watt . So I see this all the time in the clinic. I see this, a lot of men were in their marriage or in the relationship when I asked them , what do you want? They they're dumb. They're an unstruck . They don't know what to say.Speaker 1:
That's really interesting because when, when that's kind of like a news flash to me, right? Because in my mind, men are very clear on what their wants are, but, but reflecting on it now and talking about it with you now, I really have , maybe men are very clear on what they want outside of the relational space. Right? So like in the workplace professionally , um, competitively, like, they're very clear on what their wants are they go, they get it. At least that's kind of like, you know, the saying it's a man's world. Like you want it, get it. Whereas I feel like women, a lot of times have a harder time expressing their wants or voicing the ones or even prioritizing the ones, but maybe actually in the relational space, the balance is a little bit different.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Because I feel like it's been my experience that because it's psychological, patriarchy men, we're conditioned, we're socialized at the way we express love is through providing. Right. So basically what we do is we just give and give and give, and we're not, we're in service and weren't really sure what we want. And since we're not, and since wanting is kind of, for a lot of men , it's seen as like prophetic or weak or needy, they don't want to show those aspects. So they keep saying whatever you want. I just want my wife to be happy. I just want my kids to be happy. I don't need anything. I don't need anything. What happens is it usually it usually leads to a very narrow emotional range.Speaker 1:
Yeah . I think that what you're surfacing is this vulnerability that comes with wanting and that when we express our wan , we also open ourselves up for disappointment and that's a vulnerable and scary place to be. So if I say, I would, I want to do this with you, or I want to go see this movie with you, or I want to have dinner with you. That leaves me open for you saying, well, I don't really want to do that.Speaker 2:
It protects me from rejection or disappointment. And I see this a lot for men because they also have this core belief that asking is a burden or feelings is a burden. So they don't want to burden their partner or they want to burden their family or their friends with that. So when you don't ask, the , the benefit is you're always giving that makes you very powerful. That makes you meaningful. It gives you a sense of agency that makes your you're very necessary aroundSpeaker 1:
You. Yeah. It makes you needed people. Aren't dependent on you . I feel like women have that as well as mothers in particular, they're , you know, always prioritizing the family. Everyone, you know, always their wants and needs are before them. And first I'll take care of, you know, first I'll make sure that everyone else has kind of dinner before I sit down and have dinner myself. Like I'm going very much to the stereotypes. Cause ,Speaker 2:
But it's also, if I think about it, it's also like a one-up position of a hood , right? I'm just giving, I'm giving it. Everyone else is selfish and I can always get right . I'll I'll, I'll eat later. I'll I'll rest in my grave. But the cost, when you, when you don't know how to express your wants, the cost is you start attracting. Cause next to everyone, who's , over-giving what you're going to attract into your life are people that are liters that just take, take, take, and take. And then you keep feeling like people are taking you for granted and for a lot of these men, because they're never expressing their want. They said they , they slowly become kind of a two dimensional, flat character.Speaker 1:
Yeah . I think for me, when you say that, what comes to mind is this, this partner, it doesn't actually matter if it's, you know, male, female, or even, you know, same sex. It doesn't matter, but this dance of whatever you want, okay, honey , whatever you want kind of thing. And then that you, you slowly sever from your once . Well, that's great, whatever you want, but that continuous and constant pacifying just furthers you away from your self, your core, yourSpeaker 2:
Right. I slowly lose touch with myself and also in your mind's eye and just become less and less. Interesting.Speaker 1:
Less . Yeah . Yeah . It's not what if you're always going to say whatever you want, then what's the point in even asking you, right ? You're like your wants don't even become a factor. I don't even have to take them into consideration anymore because ultimately I get to choose, Hey, what happensSpeaker 2:
Is this character that doesn't express their wants becomes less and less interesting. And their voice is heard less. And their pain is less seen because they're whatever they have no wants . They have no needs. They're only always given . So we want to give an example just the other day we were working with a couple and he never, he never wants anything. He never asked for anything. He doesn't ask for coffee. He doesn't ask for food, nothing. He waits until his wife is making coffee. And then he kind of sneaks in the request and that's been going on for years because his sentence, his mantra is I don't need anything. As long as you're happy, I don't need anything. And then what happened was there was finally an where he wanted, he needed his partner's attention and a sensitivity. And she was like, who are you again? Exactly. She didn't see it. And for him, this is a radical shift because he decided early on that his job as a man is just to provide and he doesn't need anything. He's happy with just air and water, but the price he's paying for it. And he's, he's very, not only is he living in narrow life, but he's not seen . Right. And there's no empathy, there's no sensitivity and there's no softness and there's no vitality.Speaker 1:
Yeah. I think that there there's this element of , um , invisibility almost right. Because you don't have, once you don't have needs, you don't have a voice. Um, so kind of where are you?Speaker 2:
So if you'd like to change that, the way to change it as a first, I kind of reflect and see, do you have that core belief about wanting or desiring or asking? Where did you learn that? Does that still serve you? So first of all, just reflectSpeaker 1:
A lot . Yeah . Yeah. And I would , I would go even further as to kind of, in terms of, in order to be able to, to identify if, if wanting to something that you kind of perceive as naughty or you're not worthy of it. Cause that's one of the things that came up with his couple, right. Is that he felt like he doesn't deserve to have these ones, right. He's not worthy of these ones. So it's kind of this digging deeper of like, what does, what does wanting constitute for you? What does that mean to you? What does that represent? And then one way, I think to see kind of like a , uh , checking to see if , if wanting is something that you can at least play with, if you kind of have access to it and feel it in the muscles is that I want game, which is something that we do sometimes. And we just, you know, shoot off these. I want, and they don't have to be realistic and they don't have to make sense. And they don't even have to be in any particular order. It's actually better if they're extremely associative, but it's just like, I want, I want a balcony. I want a lot of plants . I want to have a delicious breakfast, breakfast. I want orange juice. I want like all these, I want some , I think that it's really easy to see people who kind of don't have a problem with, I want like myself , um, or, or people that really struggle where you say like, okay, let's play the, I want game. And they, they just, you know, become paralyzed almost.Speaker 2:
And I think if you start practicing that, there's a way to soften that core belief is also to choose to believe that when you're asking, the only way you can actually give is by learning how to receive. And because if you have a problem asking, that probably means you have some sort of core belief about asking a neediness and that way you're judging the people that you're giving. So you actually give it, you're not really giving wholeheartedly. And when I ask something for my partner, I'm not burning her. I'm giving her a chance to feel meaningful to me. Because if you're never asking, then you don't need anyone. Right . Everyone around you feels like , what does he need from us? He doesn't mean anything,Speaker 1:
Right? There's no value kind of, I don't bring value to the relationship and vice versa.Speaker 2:
And the whole idea is that you want it. You want to reach a stage where you can lean, where you can feel seen and celebrate and appreciate it.Speaker 1:
Wait, I wanna , I wanna rewind what I said. Cause I don't think it's value. I think it's closeness because I think it stems back to that kind of vulnerability. Just that when you're able to say what you want next to someone, then you're able to kind of invite an intimacy and closeness. Yeah . Right. Because you're, you're, you're willing to open up and either share , um, a desire or request. So that kind of leaves you very open and vulnerable.Speaker 2:
And when you're discussing with your partner, remind them that your request is not their command. Right. Cut that umbilical cord. You don't reference that episode. Your want is not my command. And that way we can create an environment where I can ask you, I'm slowly practicing and asking you and you don't have to say yes to everything I ask, but at least I'm practicing of saying it out there, putting out there my wants and they can be big and they can be small. For instance, a couple that we worked with, I gave him homework. I'm just asking for a coffee, start small. So I was asking small things. Yeah. Glass of water or a cup of coffee, a meal, a BackRub you got to start small. And you're going to feel a little bit embarrassed in the beginningSpeaker 1:
Or even just with yourself. I would say, you know, like, yeah , I wanna go have ice creamSpeaker 2:
At the end of the day, that is self care is learning how to ask for what you want. And if you don't ask, you're never going to get it. If you expect people just to kind of mind read you, that's not going to work. And you're going to feel frustrated alone and taken advantageSpeaker 1:
Of and resentful. SoSpeaker 2:
Dare to ask it is the way to grow. Yes . This was Gilly becauseSpeaker 1:
When I see her selfishness, I can see her generosity said Betty Martin, right on the wheel of consent. Yeah . So you want peopleSpeaker 2:
To accept your giving. You've got to show them that you also need things that you're not as walking cash machine or wanting gift-giving machine that you also have ,Speaker 1:
That you're not a robot that you're not a robot.Speaker 2:
So let's say that again. When I see your selfishness, I can believe your generosity. This was going to be RomanelliSpeaker 1:
Dr . Salmonella , and one of theSpeaker 2:
Potential state we'll see you next time. Don't be afraid to want.Speaker 3:
You've been listening to the potential state podcast for more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening.