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I can't wait to start decorating this place

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Asking your partner for what you need can be daunting when you’ve been in relationships where your desires were dismissed, ignored or demeaned. I know for me, I gagged my own voice in my past connections in order to avoid being gaslit or yelled at or accused of being “too needy.”

Many women fall into the habit of “walking on eggshells” to avoid disrupting the status quo of a relationship, and the results can not only diminish your partnership, but ultimately, diminish your self worth.

In my past, I was in relationships with men who never saw fit to give me a gift—for anything. Whether it was my birthday, a holiday or a promotion, none of the men I loved went to the extent of being thoughtful enough to pick up something special for me. And let me just say, “showing by example” doesn’t work. I showed up and showed out for all of their special occasions, and that never seemed to inspire them to return the niceties back to me.

At first, I blamed myself. I thought “Maybe I made I didn’t make it clear gift giving was one of my love languages.” But when I found the courage to say something, my desire for gift giving was considered an outlandish expectation but my ex, and so I stuffed my wants in the cradle of my chest, convinced no one would be able to live up to them.

But then, we broke up, I raised my standards, and I met someone new.

After we had been dating for a few months, the holidays crept up on us, and I got really scared to talk about how much I cherish gift giving in relationships. But I took a deep breathe, and told my boo, “So, are you comfortable doing Christmas gifts this year?” His response freed a million caged butterflies from my throat.

“Of course! I’ve already started shopping for you!”

His excitement around it confirmed not only that he was a much better match for me, but it also gave me courage to ask for what I need, always and unashamedly.

Even though this is one example of many, I hope any woman reading this has the courage to speak all of her needs and desires as she enters a new connection. We miss 100% of the shots we don’t attempt, and so although it can be scary to state what you need, you deserve it. And remember–you are in control. We have to empower ourselves to state what we need and walk if someone isn’t willing to meet us on the bridge.

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