The psychology of relationships: relational needs
Relational needs and you
The concept of relational needs is really useful when you’re exploring the questions “What exactly is it that makes me feel loved?” and “What do I want from my partner in our relationship?”
Most people feel drawn to some of the relational needs more than others.
This might be explainable when assuming that those are the needs, which are still left over for them from childhood.
Or in other words, people may still be looking for what they didn’t get enough of as kids.
Have a look through the list of relational needs and see what you would like to get in your relationship.
Feel free to do this really instinctively, you don’t need to be able to rationally justify why you want a particular thing. In fact, all those needs are ok for us to have as adults.
If you know what you want from your partner, think about how you could ask for those needs to be met in some way. Remember that your partner can’t mind read.
If you don’t tell him or her they won’t know. It is also really ok that you ask for what you want. As adults you can then negotiate with your partner about how to meet these needs.
Some needs will be easily met, some will be impossible to be met by another person, because you need to give yourself something of it too.
For example, take protection: The other person won’t be able to look after you emotionally all the time, you need to be able to do that for yourself to some degree.
Some of these needs will be impossible to meet. That’s because they relate to the past, which can’t be changed any more.
For example, you may long for your mother to come back and make things ok for you. However, you are an adult now and can never go back to being a child again.
Once you know what you want, think what your partner may want. Better still, let him or her read through the list and they can point out the ones they are drawn to themselves.
It may be very interesting to find out what your partner picks out – perhaps very different ones from you.
Sexual issues are often a bone of contention.
We tend to find that women would like slower and longer sex, with more emotional involvement by their man. Men would like more sex, and for their women to be more excited. What of course missing in this equation is adequate concern by men for women’s emotional needs, and adequate attention from women for men’s sexual needs.
It really helped me to understand where he was coming from and to appreciate his vulnerabilities and needs. Talk with your partner about this stuff, because once you get the mix right between the two of you it will increase the feel good factor in your relationship dramatically.
Apart from that, remember that your partner isn’t the only person who can meet your needs. Number one to be taken into account must be yourself!
Give yourself credit for who you are and what you do well. Really notice when other people initiate contact with you or give you compliments and let those sink in so that it really feels like it is warming your heart.
Often people feel deprived, not because they live in a environment where love is scarce, but because they are very good at not letting things in that people give them.
And then there are all the other people round you: Friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances or even the odd stranger with whom you might share a smile.
Let all the good relationships round you matter to you! You can take the good things people give you fully on board (and you can ignore or not let the bad things hurt so much too).