Advocating for Yourself in a Relationship

Speaking up for yourself can be challenging at times, especially if you are not exactly sure what you want or need from your relationship.  A good starting point is checking in with what you are thinking and feeling.

  • What do you want for yourself and your relationship (e.g., wants, needs, and desires)?
  • What are you currently thinking and feeling?
  • Am I feeling safe and loved/ cared for in my relationship?
  • Are there healthy boundaries? Is there independence-co-dependence-or interdependence in my relationship?
  • What are the next steps to help advocate for myself?
  • Who can support me in this process?

Sharing your thoughts and feelings is an important aspect of advocating for yourself in a relationship!

Spending quiet time in self-reflection can help get to know yourself and what you value in the relationship. If you are not quite sure what you are feeling or thinking, that is OK. Therapy is a great place to explore these areas.

Did you know that talking to a therapist is one step toward advocating for yourself in the relationship? Knowing more about yourself, your wants, and your needs, can help prepare you for action steps while being able to advocate for what you want.

Action is making decisions and choices for you and for the health of your relationship. For example, you finally decide that “enough is enough” and reach out for help. Perhaps your limits have been tested or a boundary has been violated. You are deciding to act differently because you desire a different outcome.

You may be advocating for yourself in a relationship solo or with a partner(s). In interactions with two or more people, each person plays a role. The goal is not to assign blame to others or assume all responsibility for a mistake but to take accountability for one’s own actions.

Sometimes the outcome of ruptures in a relationship is a termination of the relationship. Other times it may be repairing and strengthening the bonds of the relationship. Couples therapy may be an appropriate place to explore the next steps.

Advocating for yourself in a relationship is not always easy and you don’t have to do it alone. Supports are available.

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