WIFM? Expressing your Needs in a Relationship

WIFM stands for: What’s in it for me? Put aside false humility and face your needs before you enter any relationship. But why is this question important? That’s what we intend to discover in this chat.

Doesn’t it sound selfish?

Indeed, “What’s in it for me?” sounds pretty selfish. No wonder, some people will hesitate to pose such a question, at least openly, for fear of appearing to be self-centered. Yet, I encourage you to pose yourself this question, especially at the beginning of a relationship. Why? Simply because, as human beings, we are intentional in what we do. Certainly, you don’t want to commit yourself to someone in a long-term relationship without being sure of what you are looking for. Besides, being intentional implies that you carry within you values, needs, and aspirations which you would like to meet and fulfil, even in your relationship.

But it’s not about being egoistic

What’s in it for me? helps you identify your needs, and clarify your intention. Yet, it’s by no means license to become self-centred. The point is: whatever relationship you are in, take care of yourself! Of course, you are not entering a relationship for charity, but rather, because two souls have met and found sympathy in each other. Asking: what’s in it for me is a way of clarifying for yourself, and for the other, what you seek in the relationship. Each person carries within them expectations some of which must be fulfilled for the relationship to work. What should you do, then?

Clarify your needs and expectations

Yes, you have certain convictions, needs, and expectations. If you want to be happy in your relationship these should have a place in your relationship. It’s the same when you are dating. You shouldn’t just content yourself with the mere fact of having someone to go out with. At a certain point, you should ask yourself questions: what’s there for me in this relationship? Do we share some similar expectations? Are we moving in the same direction? Otherwise, you risk wasting your time hanging out with someone who has no plans, whatsoever, for the future of that relationship.

It may happen that one is seriously looking forward to finding someone for a long term relationship, and yet, the other is content simply to have some fun. It’s for that reason that you shouldn’t have the dating that goes on endlessly and aimlessly. Ask gently but firmly: what is your relationship all about, and where is it leading you? And so, if you find that it’s not responding to your aspirations and expectations, there’s no point investing yourself into it. Here I emphasize the importance of being intentional: know what you are looking for and work for it.

It’s about expressing oneself in a relationship

When you are afraid of expressing your needs and aspirations, it’s a sign you have issues in your relationship. You don’t leave the other to guessing, in fact, that can give room to presumption; and presumption can be a source of misunderstanding. You expect things and you take it for granted that your partner will act according to your needs, even without expressing them. When they don’t, you accuse them of being negligent and uncaring. Perhaps, they are not just aware! In the end, you are frustrated and you become a difficult partner. By talking about your needs, you open the dialogue with your partner, and together you can see how those expectations can be fulfilled.

Take care of yourself

Surely, you don’t enter a relationship simply for what you can fish out of it. An interaction worth the name relationship should be mutual. So, as much as you are sensitive to the needs of the other, however, don’t forget about yours. Indeed, when you are well, you can be in the position to take care of the needs of the other. Here’s what Norman Vincent Peale says:

“It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.”

So, in your relationship think about the place of your partner; your own place, and your place together as a couple. Of course, the three circles interconnect. What’s important to bear in mind is that a healthy relationship builds on a healthy balance.


Where are you?

What are your needs, aspirations, and expectations in your relationship?
How do you, and your partner, talk about those expectations?
Are you moving in the same direction, towards meeting those needs of you both?
What issues are yet to be ironed out?

To keep yourself update with our chats on the issues of family, couples, and sexuality, we invite you to join us on WhatsApp or Facebook group: COUPLES’ CORNER. You can also subscribe to my blog: singlehumanity.com/ to receive new postings by email.

See also:

The Vision in your relationship

My love and I, the Quality of our Relationship

Before your Next Step II: What has brought your couple this far?

Expectations IV. Harmonising Expectations in your Couple

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