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Ryan LCSW, Relationships
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Professional therapist
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Is it wrong to blatantly ask my significant other for affirmation

Resolved Question:

Is it wrong to blatantly ask my significant other for affirmation in our relationship? I constantly make it known how I feel about him and I get nothing in return. Whenever I try to mention the fact that it's not reciprocated, he gets defensive.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 5 years ago.
Hey there,

I can certainly understand how you would want some type of affirmation from your significant other, especially if you are always making it knowing to him how you feel. At the same time, not everyone is the type of person who is comfortable with constantly affirming the relationship, and some people don't feel like it is necessary at all. If your significant other is one of those types of people, it's possible that he is getting defensive because he doesn't understand why the relationship needs to be affirmed so often. For some people, the fact that they are in a relationship is affirmation in itself, and it doesn't need to be continuously reinforced.

It is ok for affirmations to be important to you, and it is also ok for that to be unimportant to him. In a relationship that is on solid ground, you should have the feeling that even if he is not always telling you how he feels, you still know how he feels. At the same time, since he is aware that affirmations are important to you, he should make a little more of an effort to show you that he cares in the way that makes the most sense to you. Some people aren't as comfortable talking about their feelings, and if this guy is one of those people, this may be more of a personality difference, and not a reflection of how much he cares about the relationship. However, it may mean that you are going to continue to be frustrated if you are hoping for him to start suddenly sharing all of his thoughts and feelings, but that is not the type of person that he is.

The most important thing is that he is committed and does care about the relationship. As far as this particular problem goes, there should be some type of middle ground. He should be willing to give a little more affirmation than he is accustomed to giving, and he will also need you be understanding that he doesn't normally express himself this way. For now it seems more like a communication issue and personality difference, and while I can understand how you might initially be offended by his lack of affirmation, it's possible that his heart is still in the right place.

I'm sorry to hear about the problems that you're having and I certainly wish you the best in working them out. If there's anything else I can do to help just let me know.

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