You’re encouraged to find someone you’ll love exactly as they are, and that any critique means you don’t really care for them all that much.
But great, long-lasting relationships are dependent on change, which is why it’s so important to A.) know what you want and B.) feel confident in asking for it.
So here are 11 things you are 1000% entitled to ask for in a relationship:
1. Wanting some space.
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Some people love spending every night together, while others…not so much. Craving an evening (or several!) to yourself doesn’t diminish how much you like a person. It just means you have different needs when it comes to social interactions and recharging, and your partner should be able to get that without pressuring you to see them 25/7.
When it crosses a line: You don’t tell them you want space and simply don’t respond to them for DAYS. Or you take a lot of space but act like they don’t exist then, not even bothering to shoot them a text or two. There’s a difference between wanting alone time and expecting to have the same level of independence as a single person when you’re exclusively dating someone.
2. Needing different displays of affection.
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Everyone’s love languages are different, and chances are yours might not totally line up. That’s ok! If yours is more quality time and theirs is more about verbal praise, you can adjust accordingly by complimenting them more while they clear out more date nights.
When it crosses a line: If you’re trying to change someone entirely, that’s a sign you maybe just aren’t right for each other. It’s one thing to ask for a little more physical touch or help with chores from a partner — it’s another to demand they make out with you in public when they’re shy or expect them to proactively be more responsible when, *sigh*, they still make their mom do their laundry.
3. Being texted or called more.
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It’s hard to find two people with identical texting ratios — one will be more likely to leave their phone in their bag for six hours. If that sounds like your partner, you can still ask they check in if they’re out super late or say goodnight if they’re on a work trip and can’t talk all day. At the very least, they can respond to your one text a day!
When it crosses a line: Demanding that they keep up full convos with you when they’re busy crosses over into controlling behavior, especially if any of it’s rooted in “I don’t trust you to not cheat so STAY ON THE PHONE WITH ME.”
And if they act like answering one message is a Herculean task, consider breaking up. It’s way easier to find someone more available than waste your time trying to change someone who just doesn’t want to.
4. That they *truly* respect your opinion.
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You WILL disagree about something at some point, and there’s a difference between letting your partner have their own views and saying, “Yeah, I guess I see where you’re coming from, even though it’s totally wrong.”
When it crosses a line: Look, there are just some differences of opinion that are too great — particularly ones that feel like they directly attack your or your partner’s identity — but you can absolutely let your significant other love a movie you hate.
5. Getting gifts you actually want.
Just like with different love languages, we all have different gifts we want. Some people want experiential things to do together; others love something super creative and personal. Or, hell, maybe you just want them to buy you the warm socks you can’t justify getting for yourself. Whatever it is, it’s much easier to tell them what you’re into than enduring a lifetime of faking excitement when you open Christmas presents.
When it crosses a line: You’re rude about the current gift they got you (unless it’s something messed up, like an engagement ring prank) or expecting them to shell out way more money than they’re comfortable with.
6. A clearer timeline for moving in or getting married.
People can have different expectations for what a monogamous relationship should be. One way to know where you both stand is to simply ask. When, if ever, do they see you moving in together? And would getting a place together mean they’d want to get married down the line? You’re completely entitled to ask these things and leave if the answers don’t align with yours.
When it crosses a line: While it’s great to be transparent, you don’t want to set harsh ultimatums or pressures around this — getting an aloof partner to agree to moving in or getting married simply because you’ll immediately break up with them is a temporary and superficial fix. Eventually, if they’re more non-committal and haven’t come to their own conclusion about being in it forever, they’ll probably bounce (or make you miserable).
Instead, start an open dialogue, and pay attention to what they say.
7. To hang with your friends without them.
Ok, this one is a must because couples who bring their significant others everywhere are reviled, and for good reason. It sends the message that you’re either so co-dependent that you can’t fathom chilling separate from each other, or you don’t care for your friends enough to spend one-on-one time with them. So if your partner invites themselves to e-v-erything, simply repeat the above.
When it crosses a line: When you *never* invite your significant other, either out of embarrassment or because you’re secretly in love with one of your friends and don’t want them to know or something.
8. Prioritizing your time together more.
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Whether it’s having them be better at showing up to dates on time or actually coming up with date ideas for a change, you can — and should — ask that they treat your hangs as something special.
When it crosses a line: If your version of this is expecting date night to be every night, then you need to reassess. If not, the only other thing to consider is how often you’re bringing this up. If this is a daily fight, is it worth having? A good partnership relies on *both* people making an effort.
9. For them to stick up for you.
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Feeling like your partner’s friends or family can openly badmouth you and that your S.O. will do nothing is a surefire way to erode your relationship. And yes, if your partner has really strict or impossible parents, navigating that relationship can be tricky. But if they never have your back, you’ll eventually resent them. So. Much.
When it crosses a line: It kind of depends on what the core of the issue is, but there’s a difference between asking them to exert a few boundaries with their mom and encouraging them to cut ties with their whole family just because you find them vaguely annoying.
10. More transparency when it comes to your sex life.
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You’re not entitled to sex whenever you want it, but if you feel yourself being rejected over and over again, you have a right to ask what’s up. Start a kind, open conversation that’s focused on connecting with your partner over pushing them to do anything.
When it crosses a line: Anything that involves accusations, shaming, or coercion is a hard no.
11. Pretty much any kind of boundaries.
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Whether it’s not being into getting a joint bank account, feeling weird about sharing your passwords, or wanting alone time to process your feelings during a fight, you can opt out of doing whatever makes you uncomfortable without feeling guilty.
When it crosses a line: If you’re doing it as a way to lie or cheat on your partner. Only you can know why this preference matters to you.
Above all else, trust yourself.
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Ask for what you want, even if not everyone would always desire the same things or understand your reasoning. A partner is not liable to agree, but by simply putting forth what you want, you make it that much easier to know if you two can compromise in the long run.
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