Most relationships involve different kinds of affection: physical touch , sexual intimacy, loving words, kind gestures. Affection helps you bond and increase closeness.
Not everyone shows affection in the same ways, but partners generally get used to each other’s unique approaches toward fulfilling this need. Someone who doesn’t say “I love you” might show their regard through their actions, [Read: 8 ways to make your boyfriend realize your importance]
Knowing your partner accepts you as you are can help create a sense of belonging in the relationship.
Acceptance doesn’t just mean they accept you, though. It also means you feel as if you fit in with their loved ones and belong in their life. [Read: 5 things you need to understand about s*x]
This sense of belonging might increase when they:
- introduce you to family and friends
- plan activities to do together
- share dreams and goals for the future
- ask for advice when making decisions
If you don’t feel accepted, you might feel as if you’re hovering on the edges of their life. This isn’t a comfortable place to be.
Even the closest partners don’t always see eye to eye, and that’s OK. When you don’t completely agree, though, you still want to know they’ve heard your concerns and understand where you’re coming from.
Most couples find it important to operate on the same wavelength. When your partner completely fails to see your perspective, you might feel misunderstood. If they dismiss your feelings entirely, you might feel ignored or disrespected.
If you generally feel validated, but this happens once or twice, it’s possible they had an off day. It doesn’t hurt to have a conversation, regardless, to share how you feel.
A healthy relationship should feel secure, but security can mean many things.
If you feel secure in your relationship, you generally:
- know they respect your boundaries
- feel safe to share your feelings
- feel physically safe with them
- believe they support your choices
- feel able to share your feelings
Setting clear boundaries can help boost your sense of security:
Trust and security often go hand in hand. It’s hard to feel physically or emotionally safe with someone you can’t trust. When you trust someone, you know they’re looking out for you as well as themselves.
If you start to doubt them, try bringing up specific behaviors, such as staying out late without explanation. This helps you get to the bottom of what’s going on while touching base on communication needs. [Read: 8 ways to build trust in your relationship]
Having empathy means you can imagine how someone else feels. This ability is essential to romantic relationships since it helps people understand each other and build deeper bonds.
Say they forget your birthday. You feel angry and hurt. After 5 years together, how could they? You’ve never forgotten their birthday.
But after your initial rush of disappointment and anger, you start to consider their side. They’ve been struggling at work lately, and that anxiety has started affecting their sleep. Most of their emotional energy has gone into planning a big project that could help turn things around.
Connection is important, but so is space.
Space within a relationship means you both have the freedom to do your own thing when you want to. You feel supported but know you can make your own choices. [Read: 5 ways to give your partner space without losing them]
It also means you still enjoy some privacy. This privacy can mean separate spaces to work or relax at home, but it also means emotional privacy.
Being honest doesn’t mean you need to share every thought that crosses your mind. If you feel annoyed, for example, getting some physical and emotional space can help you work through these thoughts in healthy ways and avoid taking things out on your partner.
When it comes to space, asking for what you need is key.
- carving out a bit of alone time each day
- creating a private space for yourself at home, whether that’s a separate room or a little nook
- spending more time outside