We’re at the fourth tip in my series: 5 Ways to Bring Out the Best in a Man—Asking Him For What You Need. When a woman asks a man for what she needs, she is supporting tip 2 and tip 3 by showing him he’s needed and setting him up to win.
In the first weeks, I talked about the fact that men want to protect and provide for you. Given that rule of nature, if you don’t ask for what you need, men will give you what they think you need. Or, they’ll assume everything is okay and you don’t need anything.
Many women don’t know how to ask men for what they want, or don’t think it’s OK to ask. For me, this was a difficult skill to master. In my early years of dating and relationships, I so wanted to be accepted and loved I rarely asked for what I wanted or needed for fear that asking might upset him and he’d leave.
But, not asking for what you want means you’ll most likely eventually resent him, and that leads to a lot of hurt feelings and conflict. So today, I thought I’d give some tips about how to ask for what you want.
When first dating, one of the important things women often don’t consider is how asking a man for what she needs reveals about him. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you set up tests to see how he reacts; what I’m saying is when you ask for something that makes you feel happy, safe, special, desired or taken care of, pay attention to how he responds. Does it feel good? Was he respectful or kind? Did you feel empowered, brushed off or put down? This information helps you to make decisions about whether or not this is the right relationship for you.
If you’re already in a relationship (maybe even for years) it may take a little longer for him to hear you (your routine is already established), but change can and does happen.
To create the kind of situation that enables men to communicate fully, remember this:
1. Get clear about what you want.
Complaining is not asking. “The trash is overflowing and stinks!!” or “I have to do everything round here” might get women’s attention, but not men’s. They’re not stated as clear requests. Saying, “It would make me so happy if you’d take out the trash for me tonight after dinner” is a clear request, he knows he’ll get points by making you happy, and it has a timeframe built in. Can you clearly state what you want and why it’s important to you?
2. Create a good atmosphere.
Make sure it is a good time to ask a question or make a request. This means when he is not doing anything else (including things you don’t think are important). To check, you can ask, “Is this a good time to ask a question?” Don’t take it personally if he says no. Ask him when would be a good time to talk and try again at a later time.
3. Simply state what you want.
Don’t spend a lot of time on the front end trying to explain and justify what you’re asking for. Just ask, politely, for what you want. If you don’t ask for what you want because you’re afraid that you won’t get it, or that differences in wants will cause a fight, that may lead you to say you “don’t care” or “it’s not important” or just be silent, when the truth is you’ll resent not getting what you want or start to feel that he doesn’t care.
4. Make sure that you don’t have a “right answer” in mind.
If his answer will get him in trouble with you, he can tell this and is likely to avoid answering at all. Be open and willing to be surprised and learn something from him.
If you’re expecting your man to figure out what you want, most of the time you’re going to feel rejected and disappointed. And there’s no reason for this.
When you give him a chance to make you happy, he will likely do it—IF he knows how!
Helping him know how to please you in a kind and non-threatening way will make your dating, relationship, or marriage more fulfilling and happier for you both.