How To Ask Your Partner For Gifts You Really Want Without Sounding Like An Assh*le

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I know you have a running list of holiday gifts you really want, whether it's a mental note or you've actually compiled the products in an Amazon wishlist. While it should be simple to ask your partner for what you want, you and I both know communication isn't always as easy as it sounds. It may be tempting to leave hints around the apartment or send leading links to their inbox, but those passive-aggressive actions won't get you the results you desire. I haven't written a bestselling book on love (yet), so I called on communication and relationship expert Susie Miller (who has!) for advice on getting what you want from your partner this holiday season.

Miller explains the four most important steps to take when asking for what you want from your partner. Whether you're wondering when, how, or what specifically to ask, she's got you covered. It's important to have a conversation, rather than thinking your partner will read your mind. This should be a mutual discussion, not a one-sided lecture or an argument.

It's more than acceptable to voice your wants and needs. In fact, doing so is essential to any healthy relationship. Just remember that your partner has desires that you should respect, as well. Here's how to balance both.

1. It's all about timing.

The first thing Miller suggests is to bring up your expectations at an effective time. "When we share is as important as what we share. Knowing your partner's temperament and how and when they best hear information is essential to a positive outcome," she says. If your partner is stressed or distracted, you might as well be dropping those not-so-subtle hints I mentioned before. In order to plan for a positive conversation, set it up well.

Ask your partner when a good time would be to chat in person. If they want to know what's up, you can say that you think it would be a good idea to talk about both your expectations for holiday gift-giving — how much feels right to spend, what kinds of gifts you're hoping to receive, and when you'd like to exchange them. "Setting it up ahead of time gives your partner time to think about their answers, rather than springing it on them and expecting [them] to engage without forethought," says Miller. If they have an active part in the conversation, it's more likely to resolve in a way you both like.

2. Be direct, not defensive.

Next, you should be direct about your wants and needs. There's no need to get defensive or try justifying your opinions. If you want to be treated like a princess this holiday season, that desire is valid. You can use any number of strategies to get what you want, as long as you're outwardly sharing your needs with your partner, and not expecting them to read your mind or pick up on vague clues. It's enough to say, "I would like us to set a budget for the holiday expenses," or "I want a romantic gift from you," says Miller. You don't need to make excuses. If you want to exchange gifts in private, tell your partner you'd like some alone time during Christmas with their family, rather than going into the fact that their mom drives you crazy. "Honor your wants and needs as valid," says Miller.

3. Compromise!

Compromise is key, especially when it comes to surviving the holiday season with your partner by your side. Wherever you can, do your best to put your partner first. "Affirm, agree, and meet their needs and wants before you even share yours," says Miller.

Above all, whether your list includes a toy to share in the bedroom or a spa day to yourself, it's acceptable to ask. Communicate honestly with your partner this holiday season, and you will be much more likely to get what you want. In the spirit of giving — and because you love them — don't forget to be open to their needs as well.

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