The psychology of relationships: relationship hunger
Applying the concept of “relationship hunger” to yourself
So how does the concept of relationship hunger apply to you and your relationship? Remember that my examples will only be pointers and they may not fit your own experience. Feel free to adapt them as you reflect on this material.
How do you express your own hunger for relationship?
Firstly, it is important to remember that we are all different. People’s needs and desire for relationship will naturally vary.
Some people are very sociable or extrovert, but this doesn’t automatically mean they are up for very close one-to-one relationships.
Other people are naturally more introvert, spending more time in their own company and living more in their imagination. The important question is whether you are comfortable with the depth and amount of relationships you are in?
Some people limit how much they desire relationship on the inside through an early childhood personality pattern, which restricts how much they feel or desire.
This involves a specific physiological way of being in their body which often manifests as tension and restricted breathing.
As an adult such a person may not be aware of their need for relationship, or aware of it only in a limited way. Think about how many people you have in your life.
Do you feel you can truly open up to some of them? Remember that we need more than one main relationship in our lives. After all, what are we to do, who are we to complain to, if things get difficult with our main person?
Restricting yourself in such a way can leave a sense of deadness or frozenness in your life and relationships. (If you want to know more about how to open up, have a look at the personality style pages.) If you are like this, it’s a little victory each time you show more of yourself.
Experiment with stepping out of your comfort zone with people and see what happens.
Sometimes this will bring more joy and closeness and sometimes it will go wrong and you may feel angry or rejected for a little while. However, each time you gain more options and experience about how to relate to the world. Go for it!
Find out about love here – and discover how men see relationships here – as you read about how love relationships play out for women and men. A second way of limiting your need for relationship is to keep distracting yourself from feeling what you truly want. Working is a good way of doing this, as is keeping busy in other ways that don’t allow people to get close to you.
Only if you feel your desire and possible lack of relationship will you be motivated enough to go towards people. So allow yourself to feel lonely and then do something about it! If you keep distracting yourself nothing will change and you will keep missing out. Give yourself some space and time to really let yourself feel how important people are to you.
If you end up feeling lonely, you can then do something practical about it, like phoning a friend, telling your loved ones how much they mean to you, or setting out to meet new people.
Once you are in a relationship there are two different people involved with two different sets of personality styles and behavior patterns. For example, you may be very open to people, but your partner may not (or the other way round). What do you think is your partner’s style of relating to people? How much contact does he or she want and does that fit with your needs? In relationships partners are different from each other and one of you may need more or less contact than the other. How can you find a way of being with each other that suits you both?
For example, one of you may want to spend some time on their own, while the other person goes out to be with friends. And you can also plan to spend some time together. You might also want to reflect on how much time you really spend being close to each other emotionally, when you are in a relationship. Intimacy can be physical or sexual or emotional or any combination of these.
Do you have enough of each with your partner? If not, can you talk about it?
Remember that there are other people around you, so that even if your partner does not want as much intimate emotional contact with you as you would like you can also have close relationships with other people.
You may then need to talk with your partner about the fears he or she may have about you having other important people in your life, and what are appropriate boundaries for these relationships. If you have physical problems with your health, please ensure that you have seen a doctor to make sure that there is nothing serious going on.