What’s the problem with wanting your partner to sympathize when you’re upset, or having a melt-down? In a perfect world…nothing. In the world of relationships it can get pretty complicated. Couples have a way of triggering reactions in each other that are intense. This is the human condition; we all seek to be close to the person we feel attached to when we’re in distress. If we’ve had a nurturing caretaker in early childhood, then we have positive feelings about needing help and asking for it. On the other hand, if getting soothing when in distress is fraught with rejection or other negative outcomes, the ‘just needing a hug’ can become a nightmare.
In short there are a few things to think about next time you want your partner’s help or understanding when you’re upset. (1) How do you ask for the help/hug? (2) How often do you need your partner’s assistance in helping you with difficult emotions? (3) How equipped is your partner to respond to your distress? (4) Are you easy to help when in distress? Some people cover over sadness with anger and end up demanding attention instead of asking for it. These are just some things to think about if you are wondering why you don’t get the comfort you want from your partner.