Relationship Needs we all have

Emotional needs are feelings or conditions we need to feel happy, fulfilled, or at peace. Without them, we may feel frustrated, hurt, or dissatisfied. Some examples of emotional needs might include feeling appreciated, feeling accomplished, feeling safe, or feeling part of a community. As humans, we seek emotional nourishment as much as food and water.

In a relationship, the strength of your bond can make a big difference in whether you both get your needs met. Although every relationship looks a little different, these 10 emotional needs are a good starting point for considering whether you and your partner are each getting what you need from the relationship.

Affection

Most relationships involve different kinds of affection:

  • physical touch
  • sexual intimacy
  • loving words
  • kind gestures

Affection helps you bond and increase closeness. Not everyone shows affection in the same ways, but partners generally get used to each other’s unique approaches toward fulfilling this need.

If the level of affection in your relationship suddenly changes, you might start to worry. Many relationship issues stem from a lack of affection, and it’s pretty understandable to wonder why a once-affectionate partner seems distant or avoidant of touch. If they seem less affectionate than usual, a conversation is a good place to start.

Attention

Receiving attention from people we care about and giving them attention in return is valuable.

If this emotional need isn’t being met: Prioritize quality time with your partner. Set aside time for it in your calendar. Just because we have friends or partners doesn’t mean we are meeting their needs for attention or that they are meeting ours. It takes effort.

Security

A healthy relationship should feel secure, but security can mean many things. If you feel secure in your relationship, you generally:

  • know they respect your boundaries
  • feel safe to share your feelings
  • feel physically safe with them
  • believe they support your choices
  • feel able to share your feelings

Trust

Trust and security often go hand in hand. It’s hard to feel physically or emotionally safe with someone you can’t trust. When you trust someone, you know they’re looking out for you as well as themselves.

In general, trust doesn’t happen immediately. You cultivate it over time, but you can also lose it in an instant. Broken trust can sometimes be repaired, but this requires effort from both partners.

Prioritization

It’s pretty normal to want your partner to make you a priority. You want to know you come first and that after they meet their own needs, yours are next in line.

In general, though, if you don’t feel like a priority in their life, you probably feel as if they don’t really value your presence. This can make you wonder why they even bother with the relationship.

A conversation can often help. First, mention why you don’t feel prioritized — try an I-statement to avoid sounding judgmental. Maybe they don’t reply to your texts for a day or so, or consistently reschedule date night to catch up with friends. Then suggest a possible solution, like replying to texts each evening or with a phone call, or choosing a regular date night.

Validation

Even the closest partners don’t always see eye to eye, and that’s okay. When you don’t completely agree, you still want to know they’ve heard your concerns and understand where you’re coming from.

When your partner completely fails to see your perspective, you might feel misunderstood. If they dismiss your feelings entirely, you might feel ignored or disrespected. If you generally feel validated, but this happens once or twice, it’s possible they had an off day. It doesn’t hurt to have a conversation, regardless, to share how you feel.

Acceptance

Knowing your partner accepts you as you are can help create a sense of belonging in the relationship. Acceptance doesn’t just mean they accept you, though. It also means you feel as if you fit in with their loved ones and belong in their life.

This sense of belonging might increase when they:

  • introduce you to family and friends
  • plan activities to do together
  • share dreams and goals for the future
  • ask for advice when making decisions

Some people don’t open up easily, and they might have other reasons for not including you in certain parts of their life. Here’s one strategy to try: If you haven’t already, invite them to meet your friends and family. Use this to open a conversation about how you’d like to be more involved in their life.

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