In a healthy relationship, we should be appreciated, listened to, and have our emotional needs met. Although this sounds simple in theory, life is complicated. We all have different emotional needs and wants; sometimes, communicating our needs can be cringy and difficult. So, how do we embrace the awkward and get what we need emotionally in a romantic relationship?
Know your emotional needs
An emotional need is something that must be fulfilled for us to experience happiness and peace. When our emotional needs are met, we feel more balanced and secure in our relationship.
The most common emotional needs people have are:
- Feeling heard
- Feeling understood
- Feeling safe and secure
- Feeling desired and wanted
- Being supported
- Being appreciated
- Being respected
If you’re unsure what your emotional needs are, ask yourself, “what do I need from my partner to feel happy in our relationship?” You can also think about your priorities and personal values. Then, write a list of what you think you might need.
Communicate those needs clearly
You might be hurt if your needs aren’t met. You might even blame your partner for not being there for you. The next time you feel this way, tune into yourself and ask, “have I clearly communicated my needs?”
It’s easy to expect your partner to know what you want and need – especially if you’ve been together for a while. But the truth is that making these assumptions isn’t usually the best approach. No one can read your mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly check in with your boo to share your thoughts and get a temperature check on how they are feeling too. Healthy, effective communication is a two way street. To prepare for the conversation, check out these tips.
Explain how needs can be met
Sometimes our partners need help understanding how they can emotionally fulfill us. You can help your partner by providing examples of what this looks and feels like for you. Explaining how your needs can be met can look like this:
- “When you kiss me as soon as you see me, I feel loved and wanted by you.”
- “I feel supported when you show up to my art shows.”
- “I feel hurt when I tell you I’m sad, and you tell me not to be. I know you’re trying to comfort me, but I’d feel even more comforted if you sat with me while I cried.”
Check in with your partner
Your needs and your partner’s needs might change over time, and that’s okay. Create a time to check in with your partner. Be sure to ask your partner how they’re feeling and if their needs are being met. Try to listen to each other, stay calm, and respond with kindness.
Remember that your partner is not responsible for meeting all of your needs
It’s important to remember that your partner can’t and won’t always meet all of your needs and that you are responsible for fulfilling some of your own needs. For example, you can tend to your emotional needs by exercising, working on your sleep, hanging out with your friends, meditating, going to therapy, helping others, and doing crafts and hobbies that bring you joy.
To learn more about building solid relationships and healthy communication, check out these resources:
Author: Stephanie Paz is a Tigua Indian of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The University of Texas at El Paso and is working towards a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Promotion from New Mexico State University.