The best advice I have gotten from therapy is “ask for what you want”.
While it’s nice to sit there and think, “If he really loved me he would do X”, or “If he knew me at all, he would know that I want Z”, but in reality, nobody is a mind reader. Including you.
Therapy also taught me there is a difference between asking for what you want, and being put into the position where you have to ask multiple times for the same thing. How to identify if my partner is actually listening to me and fulfiling my needs.
An example of asking for what I want:
I LOVE my birthday. It’s the most wonderful time of the year for me. I like to be celebrated! I want dinner, cake, flowers, a thoughtful present, and if possible I want time with my family too. I don’t care about Valentine’s Day at all.
In my present relationship, I told my partner how much my birthday means to me, and that I would like him to plan a celebration for me each year.
I also told him I don’t care about V day. If you do, tell me, and I will celebrate it with you.
In previous relationships, I didn’t do that. I thought if my boyfriend really cared about me, he would just know how to celebrate my birthday. After all, I was so generous on his birthdays! Surely he would appreciate the effort I went to, making his birthday awesome, and surely he would reciprocate. Yeah, that never happened!!
However, if you are always having to ask your partner to do something (or nag, chase, harass, et cet), he’s not being a good partner.
If you two agree to the cleanliness standards for the home, and you’re the only one doing the cleaning, that is not okay. You’ve discussed this several times, you both agree no dirty dishes get left in the living room or the den, no clothes get left on the floor. But if several times a week, you have to ask your partner to bring his dishes into the kitchen or use the laundry hamper, your partner is forcing you to act like his parent, not his lover.
That’s a very unhealthy dynamic for the relationship. It’s going to kill your desire for him. It’s going to cause resentment. In this type of situation, you can only ask to have your needs met so many times before you have to face the hard truth: your needs don’t matter to him.
My therapist taught me that if you want to be satisfied in your relationship, you need to figure out what you want for yourself, and then communicate that clearly, and calmly, to your partner.
Yes I’ve had therapy after a breakup and it was helpful. It didn’t help with the pain. But it did help me stay strong by keeping my ex blocked, and it helped me to not contact him in moments of weakness.
Yes I’ve found happiness again.