Are you Assertive Enough in your Relationship?

Are you the kind to let your partner pick the movie to watch, every time?

Would you rather do the housework yourself instead of asking your partner for help?

If yes, you’re probably struggling with being assertive in a relationship.

Assertiveness is defined as being bold and confident. In simple terms, it falls between being passive and being aggressive – it’s exactly how you need to be in a healthy relationship.

The Need for Assertiveness in Relationships

When you’re being passive or aggressive, you’re failing to express yourself in a healthy manner.

Being passive:

Some people claim that being passive helps resolve a tense situation. This may be true once in a while but it isn’t an adequate solution in the long-run. Continuously being passive with your partner will lead to resentment eventually.

You may feel better about not having a big a argument but you’re likely filling up with negativity. Bottling up emotions is never good for relationships because one day or the other you will pop.

Being aggressive:

Being aggressive is in a relationship is worse than being passive. Passive behavior from you may not affect your partner but being aggressive will.

Resorting to aggressive behavior for every little thing will cause you to distance over time if you don’t come up with effective solutions to your problems.

By learning to be assertive, you take back control over your life. You understand that your life isn’t determined by those around you and take full charge of your attitudes and behaviors. But you do this in a way that doesn’t disturb others.

Here are some ways you can be more assertive in a relationship:

Ask your partner for help

Change always requires some form of resistance. When you’re in a healthy relationship the more openly you communicate with your partner, the better it is.

If you’re comfortable having a heart-to-heart with your partner (you should be), work up the courage to be open and honest about how you feel and let them in on your “assertive goals”.

In relationships both partners should strive to be better people. If you really have a good partner, they’ll be happy to help!

Don’t use inflammatory language

There’s a fine line between assertiveness and aggressiveness; the moment you curse at your partner, you’re well into aggressive territory!

Avoid using harsh words and accusatory language that may provoke a negative reaction from your partner.

Focus on yourself

Be clear about what you want and express yourself using “I” statements.

I feel that I’m always the one who has to compromise

“I” statements are at the core of assertiveness. When you use them to explain your side of things, it makes it difficult for others to dispute it.

Keep practicing

Behaviors don’t change overnight, it takes time. Just like with other behavioral changes and habits, mastering assertiveness requires practice so keep at it until it starts to come naturally.

If you’re finding it a challenge, consider getting the help of a psychotherapist in Birmingham.

David Myers is a seasoned psychodynamic therapist and relationship counselor. If you’re in Birmingham, Alabama or in nearby communities, book an appointment with David by calling (205) 251-8808 or sending an email at

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