"He just doesn't understand me." It's a common complaint lodged by girlfriends who simply don't get why their boyfriends seem to be so deaf to their emotional needs. If your boyfriend seems unaware of the emotional support you need to feel secure in your relationship, you may find yourself unable to connect or commit as fully to the union as you would wish. Instead of simply bemoaning his lack of understanding time and time again, do something about it, dedicating effort to assist your well-meaning guy in getting where you're coming from.
Tell your boyfriend what you are feeling often. Some girlfriends neglect to tell their guys what they are feeling because they think that the men in question won't care. Don't make this dangerous assumption. Instead, voice your feelings, giving him a glimpse into your complex mind.
Explain why you are feeling what you are feeling. Instead of just saying, "I'm angry," give your guy some insight into why you feel this way. If you don't tell him what is causing the emotion, he will likely feel that there is nothing he can do to help. If you, instead, say, "I'm angry because you changed the plans we had and that makes me feel that you don't care," you are being clear enough for your guy to take control and help you get out of your funk.
Encourage him to reciprocate. Though your guy may be hesitant to tell you what he is feeling, you should certainly encourage him to do so, as having him reciprocate creates a pattern of sharing that can strengthen your relationship. Ask your guy how he is feeling but, if he doesn't want to share, don't create a conflict trying to force him to.
Explain to him how his not responding to your feelings appropriately hurts you. If despite your blatantness, your guy doesn't respond as you would have liked him to, tell him that you wish he would respond to your emotional needs. Tell him, for example, "When I told you that I was upset about work and you didn't attempt to comfort me, it made me feel that you didn't care." By doing so, you allow him to see the impact that he has on your emotions.
Make it clear what you want your boyfriend to do. If your boyfriend seems to not understand how to help you, tell him what you want. If you say to him, "When I am sad, a hug really helps," you give him a clear road map to follow in making you feel better.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images