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Is Your Partner Unsupportive?

unnamedThis month's guest blog comes from Michelle Ferris.  Michelle started her practice two years ago because she loves helping others create the life they want. Doing her own personal growth made her believe that positive change happens when we are willing do something different. 

Michelle has worked in substance abuse, anger management and addiction recovery and has additional training in chemical dependency and relapse prevention, Gottman Couples Therapy, Domestic Violence certification focusing on anger management. Her practice is in San Jose, CA and she does online therapy for those living in CA.

Do you think your partner is unsupportive?

If you think your partner is unsupportive keep reading! This may indicate relationship trouble but not always. Here are a few different areas to look at first.

Learning how to be supportive is a great relationship skill that takes work. Do you think that your partner should "know what you need" without having to tell them?

A common theme I hear is that women want their husbands to support them like their girlfriends - but men don’t often recognize support in the same way you do.  Men are generally more solution focused. They feel frustrated when they can't fix it because they genuinely want to help.

This frustration can lead to feeling emotionally distant because if he feels like he’s failing you, he may start to disengage emotionally.

People are unique when it comes to how they view support. Gary Chapman who wrote The 5 Love Languages, talks about different ways people recognize love. This is a great tool if you struggle recognizing or giving love. Learning your love language can clarify you and your partner’s needs. If you don't know what you want, how can you ask for it?

The 5 Love Languages

  1. Words of praise

  2. Quality time

  3. Receiving or giving gifts

  4. Physical touch and affection

  5. Acts of service

You may relate to more than one but typically, there is one that's predominant. Share this with your partner and find out theirs. It can open up a great discussion for increased closeness and bypass misunderstandings.

Looking at expectations

How much support are you expecting from a partner? For instance, do you rely on your mate for most if not all your emotional support? That may be creating too much stress on your relationship.

Draw a pie shaped circle and write out the percentages of support you receive from close friends and family. It may surprise you. Sometimes, people expect more from their partner than is possible.

Is that the case?

How you treat your partner

If you want more support, ask yourself, are you supportive and encouraging? Do you treat your partner with kindness? It only takes one person to shift the dynamics in a relationship. Even if you partner drinks heavily, is not communicative, and doesn't meet your needs, you can still change the energy if you are willing to do something different.

How difficult it is to argue with someone pleasant? Words like please and thank you get forgotten and they are so important! Everyone loves genuine appreciation. Just making this one change can make a positive difference.

Helpful Tips

  • Be clear about what type of support you need.

  • Share your love language with each other.

  • Watch your expectations.

  • Be the example.

  • Journal writing is an outlet to express resentments.

  • Check out Al-Anon for additional support.

  • Make sure you have your own support system.

  • Don't make your partner responsible for your happiness.

If you feel unsupported, focus on what you can do differently and examine your own expectations. This can improve relationships because you are only in control of yourself, never someone else.


Stop Comparing Yourself to Others


Comparison is the thief of joy.  

Think about that.  All too often I work with clients in my couples practice who are struggling with jealousy, comparison, and insecurity in relationships.  Nobody wins when comparison comes to play.  It thrives on us feeling small and alone and can feel overwhelming to think about working through it.  Its like an unwanted houseguest who shows up unannounced, and reminds you of all your imperfections.  Its hard to shake them or set boundaries.

But the truth is, you can move forward with careful intention and action.  Overcoming insecurity in relationships might be challenging, but you CAN say no to insecurity.  You don't have to feel small.  Read through the list below to learn to deal with this unwanted guest with ease:

Acknowledge your insecurity- honestly.

There is no getting around insecurity- the only path is through it.  You need to admit that it's a real problem that is keeping you from loving healthy relationships with yourself and others.  Insecurity can be truly debilitating and isolating. Instead of letting it break you down in silence, name it to take some of it's power away.


If you’re going to really change the way insecurity shows up in your life, you have to understand why you are having these feelings to begin with.  Most people experience insecurity in the forms of scarcity, comparison, fear and anxiety.  Spend a little time journaling to learn more about your unique experience of insecurity to get clearer on what you can do to move forward.

Focus on self-improvement. 

If you’re a chronically insecure person, chances are  you don’t think highly of yourself and get caught up comparing yourself to others you admire.  It's time to work on making yourself into a person who has no reason to be insecure because you're so happy with who you are.  Take a class, try something new, meet a few friends, and cross a few things off that bucket list to take the strength away from your insecurity.


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