1. Manage Your Thoughts
Emotionally generated thoughts tend to become magnified and then multiply. Let’s say your wonderful, loving boyfriend doesn’t text you back for hours one day. In that moment, maybe you start to get upset and think, “I can’t believe he didn’t answer that sweet text I just sent him; I know he always has his phone on him and is constantly checking it. He must not care about me, or maybe he’s having doubts. He never shows me he cares (then insert a running tab of all the instances, big or small, where you didn’t feel cared for by him). I can’t believe I’m with a guy who doesn’t appreciate me, I don’t deserve this,” and on and on.
The more the thoughts come flooding in, the more upset you will become. Instead of going down this road, cut it at the source. OK, he didn’t text back right away, it must mean he’s in a meeting or got tied up. He cares about you; you know he does. He texts back right away the majority of the time. His feelings didn’t suddenly change; that just wouldn’t make any sense.
Try to identify your faulty line of thinking and gain more objective awareness. Look for the good in him and the good in your relationship and focus on that instead of participating in a negative line of thinking that isn’t serving you in any positive way.
2. Tell Him What You’re Feeling
I mentioned earlier that sometimes we can suddenly feel hurt or upset by something minor. When this happens, it usually isn’t the result of what’s going on in the present, but it’s because some hurt from the past was triggered. If you find yourself feeling scared or upset, just be open and tell him.
Being vulnerable is what strengthens emotional bonds. In a healthy, loving relationship we need to trust that we can be vulnerable with our partners without them using our disclosures against us. If something happens and you feel an emotional response, tell him what’s going on. Maybe you say something like, “I really care about you and I want to get closer to you but I have been hurt badly in the past and sometimes my fear of being hurt again gets triggered.”
These honest disclosures will not scare him away; if anything, they will make him feel even closer to you and he will want to protect your emotions even more. When you get angry or defensive or blame him for making you feel a certain way, then you activate his fears and his defenses and it pushes him away.
No matter what darkness you have inside, being open and honest about it and sharing it in a loving way will strengthen your bond. As long as it’s done without blame or shame, you can basically tell him anything.
3. Manage Your Mood
The only person you can control is yourself. You can inspire a man to feel and do certain things, but you can never force it out of him. A lot of us fall into the role of being victims of circumstance. We let the things that happen dictate how we feel when really that’s our decision to make. Yes, sometimes something will happen and you will have an immediate emotional response, but it’s up to you whether that incident ruins your day or not. You can choose to participate in the negative thoughts that come along with whatever happened or not. And your mood is largely under your control.
When you bring a happy, positive mood into your interactions with your guy, it’s contagious and spills over onto him. When he feels that positive energy, he feels happy and empowered and he wants to do more and give more and be even better in the relationship. It is only when a man feels defeated or feels like a loser who can’t make his woman happy that he retreats and doesn’t do those loving behaviors.
4. Resolve Your Issues, Don’t Wait for Them to Solve Themselves
A good relationship will always bring your unresolved issues to the surface. That’s because good relationships with partners who love us force us to be at our best…and in order to be our best, we have to deal with and rid ourselves of our worst. Whether it’s insecurity, poor self-esteem, fear of abandonment, or character flaws like being insensitive, inpatient, or selfish…they all come out. You can try to shove them to the side, but they’ll keep coming back until they are properly dealt with.
Love can be healing in some ways, but your partner is not responsible for your emotional wellbeing – only you are. The path to resolution will be different for everyone. Some will find the answers on their own, some may find it in a self-help book (one of my favorites is the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem; I think this is a must-read for everyone, no matter what your relationship status), and some will want to work with a therapist.
The worst thing you can do is nothing. Problems don’t just work themselves out on their own; you don’t wake up one day and discover that all your issues are gone. The greatest service you can do for yourself and your relationship is to be growth-oriented and continue striving to be your best self.
5. Tell Him What You Want
Even the best boyfriend or husband in the world isn’t going to give you exactly what you want all the time because he doesn’t always know what you need…and the best way to get it is to just tell him! Men are not responsive to nagging or criticism, but they can be enormously receptive – and appreciative – when you tell them what makes you happy in a loving way.
This feels so much better than being upset at him for not doing something and holding it in and silently resenting him for it. When you do this, you transmit a punishing vibe that hangs in the air and poisons everything, making him even less likely to do what you want.
We all give and experience love in different ways. Even in the best relationship, you aren’t going to feel completely loved all the time. Again, some of this is the result of your own stuff and some of it is because he doesn’t always know what to do to make you feel loved.When you tell him, then you free yourself of the confines of feeling resentful and unloved and he feels betters because now he can rise up and be the amazing man you need and deserve. So everyone wins.