5 Ways To Figure Out Exactly What You Need In A Relationship ( & How To Get It)

Identify your needs so they can get met.

What Do I Want? How To Have Healthy Relationships By Understanding Your Needs And Wants getty

Have you been asking yourself, 'What do I want?" when it comes to your relationship needs.

It's important to know what you need in a relationship because healthy relationships require effective communication between a couple. In fact, a lot of relationship advice talks about knowing your wants and needs. 

However, it is hard to ask for what you need, especially if your needs are being dictated by your emotions — which they almost always are. Unfortunately, we live in a world that so often tries to belittle our emotions.


RELATED: 5 Ways To Figure Out What You Really Need In A Relationship

We receive messaging around how we should be "rational thinkers". Our decisions should not be made emotionally. We should not let our heart decide.

Do not act out of emotion. Emotions are innately irrational. 


Think about that for a second. The thing that makes us human is considered "irrational". 

And yet, it is our emotions that affect how we exist in the world. They dictate who we are in a relationship with. They guide our decision making. They sit it our body and let us know when something upsets us. Or when something pleases us. Or when we are scared, anxious, or feel "off". 

The more connected you become with your body and your feelings, the more authentically you will be able to identify your needs and ultimately, get them met. 

Here are 5 steps to figure out what you need in a healthy relationship (and how to get it). 

1. Get connected to your values

Your values guide most of your decisions. You likely chose your work because it has similar values as you. Your relationships will, ideally, reflect your values, even where you choose to live is based on what you value.


But can you name your values?

For starters, figure out what is important to you and why.

2. Journal

Writing things down can help you to make sense of your thoughts and feelings. So, make journaling a habit.

Figure out a time that fits into your life. Create a routine and stick to it. 

Find a journal that speaks to you. Go browse your local bookstore, or online. 

Write freeform. Write in lists. Write questions and answers. Write however feels good. 

Then, go back and read your writing. Often. You will notice ideas and patterns that pop up repeatedly. Do not ignore them.

3. Visualize your ideal relationship

Really think about what you what from your relationships with others. 


Feel what you want it to feel like in your body. How does your heart react? Do you feel soft? Do you feel powerful? Do you feel light?

Visualize how it will affect your daily life. Are you spending every day with them, or do you see them once a week? Are you introducing them to your family and friends? Do you hang out alone, or socially? Do you have them stay over?

Consider how much time you want to spend on it, how much energy you have to invest in it. 

Reflect on how it will affect your mind. Do you want a relationship that challenges your opinions? One that supports your ideas? One that stimulates you mentally? 

Record all of these things down in your journal. 


4. Think about the relationships that haven't worked

One way to tune into what you do want is to identify what you do not want. 

Consider your past relationships: what did you not enjoy about them? What was your breaking point? If you could go back, what would you do differently? 

What did you learn from the ending? What can you ask for differently going forward? 

RELATED: 25 Signs You're Really, Truly, Finally Ready For A Relationship

5. Ask your body what it needs

Find some time to sit quietly with yourself. Calm your breathing and calm your mind. 

Bring to mind your ideal relationship, and then ask your body what it needs from you, and from the person, or people, that you are in relationships with. 


Pay attention to the parts of your body that respond. Pay attention to silence. Pay attention to pain and discomfort. 

If nothing comes up, that is okay. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Repeat the process. It will get easier with time, and practice. 

Do these things as often as feels good. Start to notice themes that continue to present themselves. Get intimate with your innermost desires, so that they start to show up in your life because you asked for them. 

And, if asking is the hard part, here are 4 quick tips for getting your needs met: 


1. Make time for yourself

If you make yourself a priority, you will start to respect your own needs in a real way.

Spending time alone not only helps to connect you with what you truly want and need but also nurtures your most important relationship. When you see yourself as deserving of time, love, and care, you will find the voice to say it out loud. 

2. Practice with safe people

Choose the people in your life who you know will respond well to your requests. Set boundaries that they will respect.


When your requests are met by people who love you, you will gain strength to say them to more people — no matter the outcome. 

3. Follow social media accounts that encourage you to find your voice

There is a lot of self-deprecating crap on the internet. But, there is also a lot of powerful messaging. You become what you consume.

So delete all those accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, and start following people who show up in their power. 

4. Start small

Say "no" to one thing — the thing that needs you the least. It will get easier the more you do it. And then say yes to one thing you really want, even if it scares you.

Ultimately, the more time and space you give yourself to tune in to your wants and needs, the stronger you are going to feel asking for them.


RELATED: You Can't Have A Healthy Relationship Without These 8 Characteristics

Celeste Seiferling is a counselor, relationship coach, and sexual health educator. She creates workbooks for nurturing your most important relationships - starting with the one with yourself. She is currently living in the prairies with her cuddly pitbull, and would love to talk to you about why we need a complete overhaul of how we date. Check out her website for more info.