Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Emotionally Supporting Your Partner

Things go wrong in life, it really helps to have your love there for you

Something may have happened at work. Possibly you or your mate missed a step, which has cost the family some extra money that you really don’t have right now. Things go wrong in life. But having an emotionally supportive partner may be the best thing you’ve got in your world to help you through this period.

Perhaps you may have unintentionally destabilized your family for a little while. Your mate may not have the most supportive reaction, at least not at first. Some people get very uncomfortable when things don’t go their way, and our mates are only human. It’s normal to react emotionally if something throws you off-balance or scares you, but after this initial reaction, most adults should be able to put aside their own feelings while their significant other is dealing with a difficult situation.

Your loved one may tend to act out unconsciously, letting whatever negative emotions he or she is feeling to come out. Being this way can be destructive to any relationship. We have to learn to filter our words, even if our emotions are making us feel put upon.

Being supportive doesn’t mean that you have to do anything that you feel uncomfortable with. If you are really upset by a decision that your mate has made, or an action that he or she has taken, then you need to talk about it, and maybe you need to talk with the help of a third party. The important thing is that you gently communicate your feelings, so you both know where you stand and so you can figure out how best to help one another deal with the situation.

Some people like to discuss their troubles with the one they love on a nonstop basis, which can be exhausting. If you or someone you love is obsessing about a problem, it probably feels good to let the anxiety or sadness out—but talking nonstop about the issue won’t help anyone.

Other couples pick a day and time to update each other about what’s going on. However you choose to do it, you need to keep each other in the loop, both practically and emotionally. Let each other know that you are both working to keep things balanced and that you love each other, despite what’s going on around you.

I cannot overstate the value of having someone in your corner when you are dealing with a difficulty. Trying to take on the world, your boss, or a lawyer can drain all your strength. Having that person there, who has your back, can make all the difference in the world.

Many people go through situational depressions while they are fighting a battle or are feeling out of control. If you are having trouble getting out of bed or focusing on other aspects of your life, you may want to consider talking to a professional and even taking medication.

If your partner has been unsupportive or bitterly complained that you are “dragging me through this,” it will make everything much harder. Your mate may not want to be involved in your issues, which is hurtful. If this is the case, I recommend that you find supportive people and try to be around them as much as possible. I have known people who’ve moved back in with family members when things have gotten rough. An alternative is to bring supportive people into your home if it makes you feel safer.

Remember to take care of yourself. Hopefully your partner will remind you to do this too and help you where he or she can. Please accept anything positive that your loved ones can do to help you get through this period. When you are fighting for your life, you can forget to let in reassurance and kindness.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today