From time to time, you will need to emotionally support your partner, but do you know how to do it? This is one of those things that sounds easy and intuitive, but sometimes it is not, and you might find yourself not knowing what to do.
In order to have a good relationship, you need to be aware of your own mental health while also letting your spouse know that you’re there for them. There are many strategies that can help you achieve that, but you should keep the ones that are most convenient for you and your partner.
So, let’s see some healthy ways you can emotionally support your partner. This is a skill that will help you have a healthier and deeper connection in your relationship.
1. Their problems are serious
Have you ever had a problem and gone to someone close to you to tell them about what bothers you, and that conversation only made you feel angrier and more frustrated? This is something that can happen quite often if no one takes your problems seriously.
This is why, if you want to emotionally support your partner effectively, you should take all of their problems seriously. They come to you because they love you and trust you. You should do your best not to let them down.
We know that maybe their problem might not seem like such a big deal to you, but remember, it is their problem, not yours. You are not there to judge; you are there to offer them comfort and support.
Next time your partner is struggling, try to respond with empathy and care. Avoid telling them that “it’s not the end of the world,” because this will only make them feel invalidated and, in the end, make everything worse.
Your partner will appreciate it more if you see their point of view as something real and valid instead of dismissing and minimizing it.
2. Do meaningful gestures
When your partner has a hard time, you might notice that they are struggling with day-to-day basic tasks. All of these small responsibilities may seem overwhelming to them. All people are different, and even if you emotionally support your partner verbally and are listening to them, your partner might be one of those people who appreciates some concrete action.
This means you can try to emotionally support your partner by taking care of some of the tasks they don’t feel able to complete. For example, cooking, cleaning, or anything else around the house.
Complex tasks that take up a lot of time might seem draining for someone who is struggling at the moment, but you can try to help them by taking care of a task like this. Sometimes, small gifts that let them know that you care about them can also help.
3. Listen to them
You are probably already aware of this, but if you want to emotionally support your partner, you need to listen to them first. And by listening, we mean to really pay attention to what they are saying and understand their point of view.
Listening is a skill that you learn over time, and it is not something that you only use in romantic relationships. Listening is present in any kind of relationship, and if you know how to truly listen to someone, it has many benefits that can help you have healthier connections with those around you.
We get that we live in an erratic world that makes it easier for us to get distracted, but despite this busy life, you need to make an effort and learn how to give your loved one your full attention. Keep in mind that every single one of us feels emotions differently, and try to never dismiss what your partner is feeling.
If you are not fully present while listening to what your partner has to say, you might leave them with the impression that you don’t care about what they are feeling. This is why, when someone is opening up to you, try to use the practice of active listening.
4. Physical affection
Maybe not everyone wants physical affection in times of distress, but there are some people out there who prefer this. This method is what works best for them, and if you want to emotionally support your partner and you know that they are one of those who enjoy a little bit of physical affection when they are stressed, this is your go-to strategy.
Sometimes this type of affection might be what gives comfort to your partner, and small gestures like cuddling after a long day or holding their hand while they are talking can be what they need. You can try to ask them if this is what they wish for by asking simple questions such as, “Can I hold your hand?” or “Is it fine with you if I give you a hug?”
People have varying preferences for degrees of physical intimacy at different times. If you’re not sure what your partner would want to get, talk to them so you can find out and adjust your suggestion accordingly.
5. Check on them later
Maybe you managed to speak with your partner, and they opened up to you. They felt listened to and comforted by you. This is great! But getting over a challenging situation is not that easy. It might take days, months, or sometimes even years. It is good that you can communicate effectively, but if you truly want to emotionally support your partner, you should be by their side this whole journey.
Another thing you can do is check in with them regularly. This is something that many people appreciate because you take your time and check how they are feeling. This is a clear sign that you care about them and a good way to show your support.
So, checking how your partner is feeling, even if they didn’t bring up the subject, is a good idea and a good method to support them when they are struggling.
How to give emotional support when you are feeling down
It might happen that you want to emotionally support your partner, but because you are also feeling down, things can get a little bit difficult. The question is: how do you manage a situation like this?
You can still be supportive, but keep in mind that you should also take care of yourself. You need to know that it is okay to share your emotions when another person is also sharing their emotions. You can listen to one another, and things can work out fine.
If we let ourselves express our feelings and feel secure doing so with our partner, this can genuinely improve communication between couples. It’s acceptable to express your feelings, even if they are negative. Everybody feels down from time to time; it’s normal.
Most importantly, remember that being supportive does not mean ignoring your feelings and prioritizing the feelings of your partner. Be honest with yourself, and if something feels too much, you should be able to recognize it.
If you’re feeling overburdened as a partner, it’s okay to be honest about the level of support you are ready to give at that time and to establish boundaries in case you feel that it is too much pressure.
If you want to learn more about the art of active listening, this book might help you: The Power of Listening: How to Improve Relationships by Becoming an Active Listener
You should also read: There Are 7 Love Languages: Which One Is Yours?