Getting Affirmation the Right Way

There nothing wrong with wanting to feel affirmed or validated by your significant other, but when we aren’t forthright with our needs, problems become greater. Men need to feel affirmed just as women do, yet most men I talk with have such a difficult time asking for it. Why?

Making Assumptions

A typical guy might just assume that his partner can affirm, validate or praise him, yet without asking for those things, you risk your partner never knowing what your needs are. When you make assumptions about what your partner should do, it’s likely they’ll fail them. When you’re not clear about what you need, especially in the realm of validation and affirmation, problems then do come up, but they don’t need to.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Do I feel affirmed by my relationship partner? By my boss? By my friends or family?
  • Do I need more from one particular person, e.g. my significant other? What would that look like?
  • When I don’t feel affirmed, I feel ___________________.
  • When I feel affirmed, I feel ____________________.

Too Proud to Beg

Pride gets in the way of men asking for validation or affirmation from their partner. A lot of guys think they’ll lose their edge, or be seen as not manly or weak. Those things are simply not true. Your spouse wants you to come to them with your needs, because when you don’t, you may disconnect and hide, worsening the problems that are already there. Being too proud gets in the way of getting your needs met, and connecting more deeply with your significant other, so can you push pride aside to meet the greater needs? I think you might be pleasantly surprised if you did.

Exercise:

  • Scribble down one area of your life where you’d like to receive more praise/affirmation/validation from someone close to you. Write down the feelings that come as a result of that need not being met, and also write down what you do when it’s not met (e.g. reaction/behavior). Set up a time with the person to have a conversation with them about your findings.

How Men Hide

I think any conversation about how to get needs met for men also has to include how men hide and disconnect. Guys go to the “safe zone” and hide, and many often haven’t come to terms with what they’re needing or how to communicate it. This can be dangerous, because bad things can come from hiding. For example, the number one reason men cheat is because they don’t feel validated or affirmed by their relationship partner. Men withdraw emotionally, or go the reverse route, by eventually exploding or blowing up. (or a combination of both). Neither way really works, either in the short term or long term. But, out of fear, hiding their anger, or not wanting to be rejected, men pull away emotionally and hide their needs and feelings from their partners.

Learning to get your needs met by communicating your need for affirmation or validation is critical. You’ll feel happier, have more satisfying relationships and learn to meet your needs when they come up.


 

About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
This entry was posted in Healthy Marriages, Mens’ Mental Health, Stress and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *