What needs exist in a relationship and why they cannot be satisfied at the same time

In a relationship, friendly or romantic, the word “needy” seems out of place. Although in fact all our needs are closely related to our human nature. Human beings have a biological need for each other. One small study found that we feel much less physical pain when holding the hand of a loved one than when we are alone. That is why relationships are not happy until they meet the needs of everyone.

What are the needs in a relationship?

There are three types of needs in a relationship between two people:

  1. Your own.
  2. your partner.
  3. your relationship.

Satisfying any need seems to be a pleasant and even necessary component of a healthy interaction. Why then is it so difficult for us to express our needs?

Perhaps the reason lies in our relationship with adults when we were children, in how they treated our needs. If our desires were constantly dismissed, we could come to a simple conclusion: it is better to remain silent about what you want at all than to see how it is ignored.

In addition, we should not forget that we live in a capitalist world that values high productivity. And it implies the rejection of many things, such as rest and free time.

Synchronizing all three types of needs is quite a difficult task. Imagine that you had a fight with a friend the day your loved one got promoted. You want to speak out, and the partner is set to celebrate his successes . It is impossible to do both at the same time. And whose needs need to be met first?

How to work with needs to improve relationships

1. State your needs

Many couples worry that talking honestly about each other’s needs will hurt their relationship. In reality, the opposite is true – concealing one’s desires leads to alienation and misunderstanding. Silence cannot move a relationship forward, especially if you are hoping that your loved one will guess what you want.

Sometimes people fall into the trap of believing that their needs are more important than the needs of others. This may be related to gender, nationality, position in society and other components of social identity that can provide some kind of privilege. In this case, the person is most likely used to getting everything he wants and does not understand how this affects others.

If you are always trying to get what you want, encourage your partner to express his opinion more often. And if, on the contrary, you usually make compromises in relationships, now is the time to stand up for yourself.

2. Understand feelings

In My Stroke Was My Science, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor reminds us that we are feeling creatures who can think, not thinking creatures who can feel. Our conscious and unconscious emotions affect not only the quality of relationships, but also our inner state.

It is the feelings that lead us to what we really need. For example, if you feel hungry, you know that you need to eat, and when you suffer from loneliness, you realize that you need to connect more closely with others.

To learn to recognize your needs through your feelings, ask yourself two questions every day:

  1. What I feel?
  2. How exactly does my body show me these feelings?

If you find it difficult to recognize your experiences, use the Plutchik wheel , which contains the main emotions. Analyze your answers: note which feelings arise more often and how you feel about your needs.

It will take time to learn to accept your own needs (accept, not love). Even if you can’t discuss it with your partner, acknowledging them is already a big step forward.

3. Choose the most important

When we are given too many demands, our nervous system gets overwhelmed and we lose the motivation to live up to them. Too long a list of expectations can break any union.

For example, you want your loved one to always be there, listen to you, make you laugh, satisfy your sexual desires , notice when something goes wrong, and lift the toilet seat. But this is practically impossible.

Therefore, your needs should be carefully analyzed. Perhaps some of them can be satisfied with the help of friends or even on their own. For example, you love to train and want to have a sports partner. Of course, it’s good when this is a loved one, but you can find those who want it among your friends.

Needs should also be divided into three main categories: “Now”, “Later” and “In the future”. Think about what needs you want to meet now, what will be next, and what can be postponed for the future.

Keep in mind, however, that circumstances change and our needs may change with them.

4. Talk to a partner

Very often we give to a loved one what we want to receive ourselves. But you just need to ask him about what you need.

If you are tired of constantly listening to your partner and not getting the same attention in return, talk about it. If you feel that you are much more loaded with household chores , ask your loved one to cook dinner. Stop waiting for the situation to change – take the initiative in your own hands.

5. Ask instead of demand

Asking for the satisfaction of your needs is not at all the same as demanding. You can express your desires, but your partner still has the right to set their own boundaries and say how ready they are to meet your expectations.

For a happy relationship, all of the couple’s needs must be noticed, but not all of them must be met.

If you decide to fulfill the desires of a partner, this should be done free of charge, without expecting anything in return. And if you can’t or don’t want to, it’s better to immediately refuse. Saying “no” from time to time is an act of self-preservation and a defense of your right to be yourself.

In addition, it is important and how exactly you state your needs:

  • Try to speak calmly and confidently. This will increase the chances of a favorable reaction from the partner.
  • State the circumstances clearly and avoid the words “always” and “never.”
  • Use the pronoun “I”, not “you”.
  • Correlate each feeling with the corresponding need: one feeling – one need.

Remember that one person cannot satisfy absolutely all your needs. A healthy relationship is a series of “exchange of favors”: we give, we receive, and then we give again. The question is different. What are you ready to give to your partner and what do you need to receive in order to improve not only your relationship, but also yourself ?

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