on the core emotional needs in relationships
Welcome to another weekly newsletter, lovingly named the “Beyond The Breakup Newsletter.”
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Meeting our partner’s emotional needs is an indispensable component of any lasting relationship. The longer you keep meeting their needs, and the longer they keep meeting yours, the longer you’re going to stay satisfied with each other.
Sounds simple right? Well, there’s only one problem.
If we begin to meet our partner’s wrong needs while neglecting the right ones – the ones that they deem most important – we risk sabotaging our relationship.
So, before we even begin to meet our partner’s needs, we have to ask ourselves, “Which ones do they prioritize?” Sadly, getting the answer to this question is often a chore.
First of all, your partner probably doesn’t consciously know which needs they prioritize. And second of all, you can’t follow a formula for meeting emotional needs because there are no such formulas. Every human prioritizes their emotional needs differently.
Some prioritize feeling special and respected, and others prioritize feeling secure or loved.
But, how do you go about figuring out what needs your partner prioritizes? Well, it’s a gamble. It takes a lot of trial and error to get it right. And the vast noise of random internet bloggers, all with their own homebrew theories, doesn’t necessarily help you.
Ultimately, the whole field of observing emotional needs is just one fat contradiction.
But here’s something to make your life less glum.
Below, I’ve written three emotional needs that virtually all human beings hold in high (or even extraordinary) importance, regardless of gender.
These are also the same primary emotional needs that kept popping up across the works of famous relationship and marriage experts like John Gray, Willard Harley and John Gottman.
If you end up meeting these three needs in your partner, you’re going to make the relationship way easier and probably longer lasting. That is, under the condition that your partner also keeps meeting these same needs in you.
1. YOUR PARTNER NEEDS TO FEEL SPECIAL
From all the men and women that I’ve talked to and from all the research I’ve done, one thing was obvious: All of us want to feel special, cherished, and adored in our relationships.
Here’s how this principle applied to my former dating life; the women I kept seeing knew I was also seeing other girls at the time. However, they still wanted me to show them that they were my top pick.
In other words, they didn’t want to feel just like another notch on the bedpost. They wanted to feel special.
Now let’s apply this same principle to relationships.
Take my girlfriend, for instance. I met and kept meeting her need to feel special by showing daily physical affection and frequently communicating words of kindness and gratitude. But not the gold retriever kind. Far from it. The words of kindness I used came from a place of inner strength and non-needy love.
2. YOUR PARTNER NEEDS TO FEEL APPRECIATED
Meeting your partner’s need to feel appreciated is simple. Just praise and compliment them frequently for what they’ve said, done, or tried to do with their best effort. And don’t be afraid to over compliment and “overlove” them.
There’s a common misconception that the one who loves the least in a relationship wins – whatever the fuck that means. I call bullshit on this.
Your partner won’t lose attraction if you show them more love than they show you for a time, as long as that love is unconditional and non-needy, which means that it doesn’t come from a place of lack, but one of strength.
3. YOUR PARTNER NEEDS TO FEEL HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD
Making your partner feel heard and understood means you listen to their feelings or problems with patience, empathy, and without judgment while at the same time acknowledging and approving what they’re communicating and going through.
Another thing that making your partner feel heard and understood could mean is not solving their issues. At least not all of the time. Instead, listen to them and respond with an accessional “I hear you, tell me more” when talking.
Sometimes your partner just wants to vent and is NOT looking for a solution to their problems and daily life struggles. Let them do this. Let them curse their coworkers, cuss their family members, and whine about their day.
In summary, meeting your partner’s needs is easy; figuring out which ones to meet is the hard part. An excellent book to help you out with this is: Getting the Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix. It’s a bit outdated, yes. And it has a cheesy title. But it gets the job done. It’s a damn fine book.