relationships - dating - love - intimacy - health
The way you think about your relationships, the skills and attitudes you bring to them and the time and effort you put in can make all the difference. People are social creatures and relationships matter to us. We enjoy them, we cry over them and we're curious about how to get our relationships to be the way we want them. How well your relationships work can have a big impact on how satisfied you feel with life. Stimulating, resilient, satisfying relationships with partners, friends and family rank high on many people's wish list for a happy life.
Lots of couples complain they don't feel loved by their partner. Yet when asked what would make them feel loved, people are often unsure. Advice on communication that will help you identify the needs of both of you.
Sometimes the way someone shows love is not what makes their partner feel loved. For example, one person may show love by looking after their partner's practical needs, when what the partner longs for is a hug and tender words.

This exercise should help you and your partner think about the things you need to feel loved.

You'll need two sheets of paper, a pen and about 30 minutes undisturbed time.

You'll get most from this exercise if you and your partner do it separately and then share what you've learnt.

If your partner's not keen, it's still worth doing, as it can help you feel more confident about asking for what you need.

What to do
First take a sheet of paper and write: "As a child, I felt loved when..."

Next, write down as many things as you can think of. Your list may include things a parent or carer said. You might remember physical affection, time spent with you, presents bought. Or perhaps it was someone cooking your favourite food or doing your paper round for you.

On a second sheet of paper write: "I feel loved when..." and write down all the things you can think of that your current or previous partner(s) have done that make you feel loved.

Have a look at the list and think about which things you prefer. Next time you find you're not feeling loved, remember what you've written and ask your partner to show their love in a way that's more meaningful to you.

Tip: If you're struggling to think of things for your lists, try reminiscing with some old photos, or remember how you were cared for when you were unwell.

Further help
If completing this exercise leaves you feeling uncomfortable or you've got concerns about your relationship, try talking it through with your partner or a trusted friend. Alternatively you might want to consider seeing a relationship counsellor.