Everyone needs someone to lean on emotionally, but it's not always easy to know when or how to do so. Still, it can be hard to figure out when and how to offer this kind of help. Even if we have a loving and caring partner, we may still feel alone, unsupported, and invalidated – and our partners may be in the same position. So, how can we both guess when we'll need help in our relationships and figure out how supportive our partner really is?
In this piece we will talk about how relationship support works and what scientific findings can teach us about this important part of human connections. We will also talk about ways to offer emotional support in a way that helps both you and your partner build a strong and loving relationship. As a bonus, we will teach you how to find out if someone has dating profiles! Why? Because
SCIENCE: WHAT MAKES US FEEL SUPPORTED?
A study from the U.K. by Vowels,published in July 2023 in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, says that "relationship variables and attachment avoidance are central to perceived partner support, whereas partner similarity, other individual differences, individual well-being, and demographics explain little variance in perceiving partners as supportive."
The research shows that how much help a partner is seen as having at the start and after six months depends on two groups of factors. The first group is about the quality of the connection and includes:
- Reduced conflict
- Better commitment
- Deeper trust
On the other hand, the variable of willingness to sacrifice doesn't show any predictive power. This supports earlier study that showed how complicated sacrifices can be in relationships and how they can sometimes be bad.
One individual factor, attachment avoidance, is more predictive than other relationship traits. Attachment avoidance makes people distrust their partner's availability and response in times of need. Thus, they struggle with depending on their romantic partner and view them as less validating and responsive.
Attachment anxiety, on the other hand, is a factor, but it is not nearly as useful for prediction. People with anxious attachment styles are willing to ask for help but mistrust their worthiness. This emotional tug-of-war generally prioritizes relationship maintenance over personal goals.
Now that we've talked about the science behind feeling supported, let's talk about how you can really help your partner feel better.
PRACTISE: HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR PARTNER PROPERLY? 7 HEALTHY STRATEGIES
Here are several strategies for providing emotional support that benefits both you and your partner.
1. Actively Listen to Your Partner
Listen carefully when your partner opens up. Because of the hectic pace of modern life, it's easy to lose focus, but prioritizing your partner's needs is key. A distracted listener may overlook important information, making their partner feel like you don't care about them.
During an open conversation, active listening shows that you care and support them, what was scientificallyproved in this study.
2. Ask Your Partner What They Need
If your partner is talking about how they feel and you don't know how to help, don't be afraid to ask them what they need right now. A simple question like "Do you need comfort or solutions right now?" can help people understand better.
People need to be listened to sometimes, not given advice,as this research shows.
3. Paraphrase and Repeat Back What They've Said
Repeating what your partner said shows that you're paying attention and understand how they feel. It also makes their feelings okay. To begin, you could say, "From what I hear from you..." If you're not sure about something, don't be afraid to ask for more information.
It shows that you want to fully understand them.
4. Take Their Problems Seriously
Always show your partner empathy and kindness, no matter what their problems are. Remember that your partner cares about their problems, even if you don't think they're important. You shouldn’t downplay or ignore their issues, as this can hurt them.
Just letting them know that you understand how they feel can help them a lot.
5. Offer Physical Affection
Depending on what your partner wants and the setting, physical touch like holding hands or cuddling can help them feel better. "Can I hold your hand or give you a hug?" is a good way to make sure they appreciate it.
Different people have varying needs for physical closeness, so communication is key.
6. Express Your Love
Tell your partner that you love them and will be there for them when things get tough. This might not solve their problems, but it can help them feel better.
Telling them that you love them no matter what can make them feel more loved and less alone.
7. Check in Later
Challenges often need time to think about and figure out. Your partner will probably like it when you check in with them often. Even if they haven't brought up the subject again, following up shows that you care about their well-being.
It shows your ongoing care and support.
THE BOTTOM LINE
One of the most important things you can do for your mate is to be there for them emotionally. Finding out about the science behind feeling supported and the best ways to give emotional support makes it clear that both people need to put in work to make a strong and caring connection.
As researches show, relationship success hinges on two things: getting to know one another and caring for one another. To sum up, here are some things you might want to do to feel loved and help your partner feel the same way:
- Take away stresses and fights. The goal is to make a connection space that is safe and supportive.
- Feel more committed, compassionate, and ready to trust your partner to make your relationship better.
Be attentive, inquire what they need, and validate their feelings. Remember that empathy and kindness may make a big difference, even for minor concerns. Physical affection and love are simple yet effective methods to make your partner feel special.
Add these strategies to your relationship to create a secure and caring atmosphere for you and your partner to grow emotionally. With mutual understanding and unwavering support, you'll develop a lasting love.
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- Itzchakov G, Reis H, Weinstein N. How to foster perceived partner responsiveness: High‐quality listening is key
- McKenzie S, Collings S, Jenkin G, River J. Masculinity, social connectedness, and mental health: men’s diverse patterns of practice
- Vowels M, Vowels J.A Machine Learning Approach to Predicting Perceived Partner Support From Relational and Individual Variables