This week's question comes from Lena:
“Hi Orna and Matthew,
How do I get what I want from my guy?
I’ve been in a relationship with a great guy for the last 8 months. He’s funny and nice and I know he is very loyal to me. We have so many things in common, including bigger life goals. I think I really love him and I want to spend the rest of my life with him.
There is one thing that really kind of holds me back from making a deeper commitment with him (not that he’s asking for it yet). I have a lot of small doubts that add up because there are things I wish he did differently. I love to give gifts to him, but I rarely get any in return. He doesn’t compliment me very often. He doesn’t make plans and leaves that to me most of the time. There are more but I think you get the idea.
I don’t doubt that he loves me and is committed to me but I’m not sure how to get past all of these small things. Is he just selfish and unable to give me what I want? Should I force the issue and get him to step up? Is this just a compatibility issue and should I just move on?
I really don’t know what to do. My friends think I’m too demanding, but I’ve always believed that my guy would treat me a particular way, and I’m not sure if he is capable of doing that.
Thank you for your question and for being so vulnerable in asking it. It is very common to ask “How do I get what I want?” and wonder if the person you are dating is the right person for you long-term. Knowing what you want is important but knowing the difference between what you want and what you need is even more important.
Needs are not negotiable however, your wants are. As you stated, the things your boyfriend is not doing are all “small” things (your own words).
Do these things add up to spell out that he’s not a match for you? That is something that only you can answer for yourself. Let us see if we can help you in a different way… one that will allow you to find out the answer without any doubt.
How Do I Get What I Want? 5 Ways To Get What You Want From Your Partner
(or at very least know it’s time to move on):
Ask For What You Want
Your soulmate does not come with mind-reading powers (neither does any other human being). The right guy for you will not magically know how to please you.
One of the greatest frustrations in relationship comes from the unrealistic expectation that the “right person” will somehow know what you like and don’t like. He won’t.
Asking for what you want allows two things to happen:
- You get to find out if he wants to honor your request.
- You get to discover whether or not the two of you have shared values.
If you don’t speak up and ask him what you would like from him or what you would like him to do, you’ll never know if he is capable of delivering on your request.
For example, just because a guy doesn’t open the car door for you doesn’t mean he is opposed to doing it. Maybe he was raised in an environment where it wasn’t expected or even desired. Who knows?
But if you don’t ask you will never know if he wants to step up and be your man.
Let him know how much you enjoy receiving gifts. Share with him how you would feel if he made the plans and surprised you on a date. Ask him to tell you how he feels about you.
Most people give love the way they would like to receive it. You give him gifts because that’s what you like, but that doesn’t mean that he feels loved by you in the same way.
The old adage, “Treat people the way you would like to be treated,” doesn’t work to love someone deeply. In order to do that, you must treat your partner the way he wants to be treated.
Not all women want the same things. Each woman likes to be treated in a particular way and likes to be loved differently. A man who would like to be in a relationship with you wants to know how to win with you – how to win your heart. If you never tell him or ask him, he will assume you’re getting your needs and wants met by him as things currently are.
How do you get what you want? Speak up and make requests, you’ll learn so much about him from his response.
Communicate So He Can Hear Your Request
Now that you are getting on board with making requests, let’s dig into HOW to make them so that you’re heard and don’t appear like a nag or needy.
If you were to say something like, “Why don’t you give me more compliments? I really like getting compliments!” It’s likely to be met with some defensiveness and more than just a little resistance.
Instead, share with him how you would feel when he compliments you. “I feel cared for and confident when the man I’m dating gives me compliments. Is it possible for you to tell me something you like or appreciate about me that will light me up?”
Presenting your request alongside a feeling statement, letting him know how you would feel when/if he chooses to take a particular action, you will discover a lot about him by simply observing his response.
The best time for you to share your feelings and make a request is when you have his full attention. Do not attempt to do this if he’s watching his favorite sports team or washing his car.
Ultimately, by sharing your feelings and making requests you will show up in this relationship as the real authentic you.
We all want to be loved for who we really are, and yet on some level, we’re all scared to show up fully. Rest assured, if this guy is the right one for you then speaking with him this way will bring you closer together and your love for one another will grow even deeper.
How do you get what you want? Be authentic by sharing how you will feel when he delivers on your requests. This gives him the opportunity to love you in the way you want to be loved.
Observe his behavior without judgment.
Now that you’ve made your request in a way that doesn’t trigger him feeling like he’s doing it all wrong, you can sit back and notice if or how he adjusts.
It is important to remember that he may want to honor your request every time the opportunity presents itself, however, it is not a habit yet. It may take a period of adjustment for him to get into the groove. He may need some feedback and patience from you.
Also, keep in mind that effort counts. If he is making effort towards changing his behavior and honoring your request, he need not be perfect at it overnight.
A Possible Red Flag: If he agrees to your request but makes no effort whatsoever or seems to just forget that you made a request in the first place, then you will need to reevaluate the situation.
He may be absent-minded, or he may be passive-aggressive. Most women do not spell it out and tell a man what it is they want. That’s because most women are under the assumption that men want an easy-going woman – this is not necessarily true.
Men want to be with a woman who leaves them feeling good about themselves. When you ask for something that he can deliver (like opening the car door for you) his self-worth is raised because he knows how to please you.
Observing your partner’s response to your requests tells you everything you need to know about how he views the relationship. If he doesn’t want to step up for you it’s likely you’re in a relationship of convenience rather than of substance.
A Red Alert Red Flag: If he argues with you about your request and tries to convince you that you don’t really need what you are asking for, you’ll have all the information you need to know it’s time to move on.
The dating process is ultimately a selection process and it is important to cultivate discernment through the dating process so you can select an ideal match for you long-term.
A man who is not interested in finding out what you need and want from him is not a match for you.
A man who wants a relationship with you will make efforts to be the kind of man who is worthy of your heart.
How do you get what you want? Make requests and observe his response to see if he is capable of meeting your needs.
Acknowledge and appreciate him.
A man wants to be with a woman who lifts his self-esteem and self-worth so he feels good about himself. He wants to be your hero.
We find that generally, women are stingy with giving praise to their partner. In the first blush of dating, The Romance Phase, most women are more communicative and then stop as the relationship progresses.
The fuel a man runs on in relationship is acknowledgment and appreciation. Be sure to fill his tank and he will happily do his best to honor your requests. Then let him know how good you feel when he does step up for you and this will encourage him further.
Resist the urge to make assumptions about his behavior and ask him instead. This is the kind of communication that creates a lasting bond between the two of you.
Express gratitude when he does something that brings you joy. Appreciate his efforts and re-direct him if he misses the mark. Criticizing him will only remove any motivation for him to please you.
Acknowledging and appreciating your man lets him know that he can make you happy. This is what a man wants to know. He wants to know that he can make spark joy in you.
How do you get what you want? Acknowledge and appreciate your man and let him know how happy he makes you.
Men tend to be efficient with their energy. If they see that someone else is taking care of a task, they will conserve their energy for something else. This is genetic as a man’s body only makes testosterone when he is relaxed and doing nothing.
As long as you are planning your dates and social events, he has no impetus to change or do anything differently. You can make a request that he make plans for the two of you, or you can do less and stop taking care of things to see if he will step up.
He will feel more confident and masculine when you do less and leave the space for him to do more. When he does, it’s up to you to acknowledge and appreciate his efforts (back to #4 above).
Resist the urge to micromanage how he fulfills his tasks. It’s very likely that he will not do things in the way, or in the order, that you would do them because he is a different person than you. He has his own way of doing things.
Steer clear of criticism as he begins to take new actions. He is a grown man, so let him figure it out. Just like the joke about men not asking for directions when they lose their way, they discover the route for themselves.
Men generally don’t reciprocate. He doesn’t feel motivated to give you gifts because you are giving them to him. He will feel motivated to give you a gift if you let him know how happy it would make you feel.
Feminine energy is a receptive energy – not passive (as commonly mistaken). The seat of a woman’s power is being able to receive. Open up to receive from him and you’ll find that you two are a team instead of in a tug-of-war.
How do you get what you want? Step back and give him space to take over the things that you want him to handle.
Practice These Steps And You’ll Discover The Answer You Are Looking For
If you follow these steps and if he is unable to give you what you want, then you have the answer to your question. You will find yourself in an unsatisfying relationship always wanting more and feeling like he doesn’t really love you. Instead of just wondering, “How do I get what I want?” take action and pay attention to your results.
However, a man who makes the effort to honor your requests and to please you is a man worth keeping. We have witnessed many relationships transform through the application of these concepts. Lasting love is ultimately a choice and choosing your partner day after day is the key.
If you are wondering how do you get what you want from your man and if he is capable of being your man long-term, download a copy of our complimentary eBook and audio, “Recognizing Mr. Right” and discover the secrets to finding your ideal match for lasting love.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.