If you find that you are in a relationship where your needs are not being met, the first thing to do is understand those needs yourself. If you are not meeting them yourself, how can you expect anyone else to meet them?
Look at which needs you feel are not being met. Do you often feel unappreciated, unheard, misunderstood or disrespected? You might find that an unmet need appears as a theme in more than one of your relationships. Once you determine which need hasn't been unsatisfied, don't throw a pity party. Instead, celebrate that you are one step closer to emotional fulfillment.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the emotional need that you would like to have met?
- In what relationships is this need being met?
- In what relationships is this need not being met?
- How does it feel when this need is not met?
- How does it feel when this need is met?
- Are you meeting this need in yourself? If so, how?
- Are you meeting this need in others? (If your need is appreciation, for example, do you regularly appreciate others or do you hold back appreciation?)
- What can you do in order to fulfill this need in yourself?
- What are the words you like to hear in order to fulfill this need?
- What are the actions that you like to experience to fulfill this need? (For example, receiving flowers or a card makes you feel appreciated.)
Once you have better clarity about your emotional needs, sit down with your partner and talk about the importance of meeting your needs in the relationship. It is best to approach the conversation from a perspective of wanting to express and share more love rather than pointing out a problem or complaining about the relationship. Remember, you don't just want to get your emotional needs met, you also want to meet your partner's needs so that you both experience fulfillment. If you have known this person for a while, you probably can figure out what his/her needs are based on the things they say when you are having arguments. Still, even if you know what your partner's needs are, allow him/her to explain in their own words.
This does not mean that you are responsible for each other's needs. Don't be fooled to think that because someone loves you, they know how to treat you. Love doesn't make you a mind-reader, so ask and share. Ask your partner how he or she wants to be treated and share how you want to be treated in return. The good news is that once you recognize your most important emotional needs and that of your partner, you can create a plan so both of you get your needs met and you both feel fulfilled. After all, everyone just wants to be loved. When we know how to love each other, we create the space for long-lasting, harmonious relationships.
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