“What do you really want from me?” My friend gives me a glassy look. I regret bringing up this topic. Don't be so difficult, I tell myself. And yet I know this conversation is important. Something has been gnawing for a while and this conversation can change that.
As I stare out the window, I search for the right words to express what I feel. Or actually don't feel. Because I'm missing something in the relationship. And giving words to my feeling is pretty complicated. Because I don't actually know what it is.
Do you recognize that?
That in a relationship you have put the interests of the other person first for a long time and you suddenly realize that you also need something. Expressing my needs is one such thing. Especially when it comes to intimacy and sexuality. Two subjects that we used to hardly pay attention to at home. When David looked passionately at Pamela's red bathing suit, my mother would zap away. I tend to do the same when I need to talk about my needs. Because I always have to get past shame and discomfort first.
The relationship with the other mirrors the relationship with yourself. So if I want to improve the relationship with my partner, I also have something to do in myself. Taking myself seriously and showing up, for example.
I now know that it helps me to get out of contact with the other person for a while. That's how I come back to myself. Looking away, stepping out of the situation, or a moment of silence are ways I can gauge what I'm actually feeling right now. And also take the time to search for the right words.
"I've been feeling unheard and unseen lately. You are always there for me when I need practical help. And I really appreciate that. And I would also like to hear something loving from you about me as a person every now and then. I need that.” Suddenly the words are there. And can I clarify what I mean.
"Do you remember the five love languages?" I ask him. He nods. We both have a different preferred language, so we sometimes lose each other. Especially when it comes to topics such as intimacy and sexuality. These kinds of conversations are necessary to find each other again. Taking care of others starts with taking good care of myself.
How easily do you talk about intimacy and sexuality? What does this say about the relationship with yourself? And what would you like to learn here?