Maybe you want to move in with your boyfriend, or borrow his dog for a jog. Maybe you want to ask your boyfriend to marry you, or to move his junk out of your apartment. How do you ask your boyfriend for what you want? It’s not easy to express your desires, say what you need, or ask for help…especially to a guy you love and want to be loved by.
This blog post is inspired by two things: 1) Iyanla Vanzant’s tips for asking for what you want in a dinosaur-trodden issue of Oprah magazine; and 2) a She Blossoms reader’s comment about her boyfriend, who isn’t afraid of asking his brand new girlfriend for what he wants. Not only is he fearless about asking, he refuses to take no for an answer…
“My ‘boyfriend’ of about two weeks asked me to lend him $50 because he needs it for the bus,” says a reader on What to Do When Your Boyfriend Asks to Borrow Money. “He already works a full-time apprenticeship and a part-time job at a restaurant. I earn minimum wage, I’m 16 and still in high school. My boyfriend wanted me to transfer money to him, but I said only have $15 in the bank. He kept asking. So I lied and said my mom wouldn’t be happy if my bank balance went down to zero. Also I need my money for the bus (which I don’t because I’m dropped off and picked up from school). But I don’t know if this is right, because we’re not even officially dating and he already wants to borrow money from me. We haven’t been together that long and how do I know if he’s just going to keep asking me for money? I hope I made the right choice, lol, like I’m not your sugar mummy.”
Her boyfriend didn’t care what she thought of him. He didn’t listen to his girlfriend’s response or consider her feelings. All he cared about was getting what he wanted — and that’s not the right way to ask anyone for what you want.
Good news! These five tips will help you clarify what you want from your boyfriend, ask without fear, and accept his response with grace.
How to Ask Your Boyfriend for What You Want
You may have heard that old cliche, “them that don’t ask, don’t get.” Or maybe you’re familiar with Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Asking your boyfriend for what you want can be smart and good — and might even improve your relationship! But talking to Jesus first is the surest, deepest and truest foundation of peace, joy and freedom. The first and most important person to turn to when you need help is God.
“In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer,” says Iyanla Vanzant, author of Get Over It! Thought Therapy for Healing the Hard Stuff. “Sometimes my prayer was ‘Help me.’ Sometimes a prayer was ‘Thank you.’ What I’ve discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help, is just a prayer away.”
1. Know what you’re asking for
Before you ask your boyfriend anything, ask yourself a few questions first. Are you sure you’re asking your boyfriend for what you really want? What are you asking him to do, say, give, or become? What do you need from your boyfriend…and does he have the power or ability to give you what you want?
Getting clear on what you’re asking for, why you’re asking your boyfriend for it, and how he can fulfill your request is the first step to learning how to ask for what you want honestly and courageously. Know what you need. Understand why you need it. Consider the outcomes of getting what you want and need from your boyfriend. You might even think about how your boyfriend’s “yes” or “no” might affect your relationship.
2. Accept that there will be a cost
“Every request comes with a cost—there is no free lunch,” says Iyanla Vanzant, author of Trust: Mastering the Four Essential Trusts: Trust in Self, Trust in God, Trust in Others, Trust in Life. “For instance, asking for a raise may mean a tense conversation with your boss—and if you’re successful, nine times out of then the raise will come with additional responsibilities. That’s the cost: You have to be willing to do what’s required. We cannot enjoy the benefit if we can’t accept the price.”
When you’re asking your boyfriend for something you want, expect at least some discomfort. Maybe the cost is that you feel afraid or embarrassed, especially if you’re expressing hurt or loneliness when your boyfriend doesn’t have time for you or seems dismissive of your feelings. Maybe you want to ask your boyfriend for more attention and affection. If you’re asking for something tangible, such as a financial loan or him to cosign your mortgage, you’ll have to prepare for a difficult discussion about money. Every ask — and every “yes” or “no” — will cost you and your relationship something.
3. Ask your boyfriend for what you want without fear
You don’t have to succumb to fear or anxiety even though your request will cost you something. Learn how to stop fear from controlling you so you can take risks and live with adventurous spirit! Admit and accept that it’s scary to ask your boyfriend for what you want…and ask anyway.
“Fear is an obstacle that blocks your capacity to receive,” says Iyanla, author of Peace From Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through. “I’m not just talking about the fear of making your voice heard. “I’m also talking about the fear of getting what you want and realizing it’s not all you’d hoped it would be, the fear of the responsibility that will come with it, the fear of losing it, and the fear of what will happen if you don’t get it. These are all common fears, and they can get in the way of asking for the things you yearn for.”
4. Ask for what you need with trust and curiosity
There is a difference between trusting that your needs will somehow be met, even if your boyfriend doesn’t give you what you ask for, and emotionally smothering your boyfriend. Give him space and freedom to say no to whatever you’re asking for. Allow your boyfriend to respond whatever way he responds without judging, criticizing or condemning him. Give yourself the same gift: the freedom and space to feel how you feel. Don’t judge, criticize or condemn yourself. Learn how to accept yourself, your boyfriend and your relationship as they are.
“When you do not believe you deserve whatever you’re asking for—if you don’t believe you’re worthy—you are not open to receiving it and, more often than not, you will not get it,” says Iyanla. “That’s how the universe works: If you don’t put your trust in it, it won’t deliver.”
5. Ask without expecting anything from your boyfriend
“When you want something, you may be required to ask more than once—and you can’t get too attached to the manner through which you receive it,” says Iyanla, who also wrote Living Through the Meantime: Learning to Break the Patterns of the Past and Begin the Healing Process. “If you want love, ask for it—but know that it might take awhile and may not come from the partner you expect. If you want a fulfilling career, understand that you may get it, but perhaps not in the field, position, or time frame you anticipate. Asking for and receiving what you want means keeping the faith that you will get it, even if the outcome doesn’t look the way you thought it would.”
That’s my favorite lesson for learning how to ask your boyfriend for what you want: Be open, bold and clear about what you want and need…but don’t expect anything from your boyfriend, God, or even yourself. Be open and willing to accept how your life unfolds after you ask for what you want. Trust that God really does love you and want the best for you, and that there are blessings in the “no’s” and challenges in the “yes’s.”
What do you think? Your big and little comments are welcome below. You might also want to practice your “ask” here! Write down what you to ask your boyfriend to do, say, be or do. Write your reasons for your request, and how you think your boyfriend might respond. You’ll find that writing brings a sense of clarity and insight that simply thinking can’t do.
In peace and passion,
P.S. Do you feel insecure or anxious about asking your boyfriend for what you want and need? Read How to Stop Feeling Insecure in Your Relationships.