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needs versus wants in relationships
Attachment Theory | Dating | Relationships | Understanding Your Type
What do you I need in my relationship?

A big issue I see in my work with singles and couples is confusing needs from wants in a relationship.  What you Need in your relationship may be very different from what you Want.  A need is a necessity or requirement for your emotional health, like air and water, a want is something you prefer or something you might like to have. In relationships,  it’s easy to confuse the two: needs and wants.

I like to think of needs and wants as bread and butter. You need bread (unless you are gluten-free) the butter is your topping.  While bread generally tastes better with butter you can eat bread by itself.

NEEDS:  When it comes to answering the question“What do you need from me?” the answer is specific to your love style.  If you are a Reserved Playmate or a Confident Hero you are considered secure, your needs are about having dependable relationships and balance in your life.  You need a partner for support and someone to have fun with.  If you are a Loyal Supporter or an Expressive Giver you are emotional.  Emotional types need to be heard, understood and validated.   If you are a Hesitant Romantic or a Renaissance Lover you are more independent, you are more likely to need independence, space, peace, and connection.

Getting your needs met is what keeps you happy and content in your relationships.  When your needs are not met you can feel unhappy, anxious or trapped.  Particularly during periods of stress getting your needs met may feel urgent.  For example ,when an Expressive Giver doesn’t believe their partner is listening to them, they need to fix the situation as soon as possible.  It doesn’t matter if you are in an important meeting,  requests like, “We need to talk!” is an understatement.  Likewise, if the Renaissance lover is stressed and doesn’t have the time they need to process their feelings or think through options they will be stressed and might shut down or avoid until they can sort things out.

WANTS:  When it comes to answering the question”What do you want from me?”the answer is also specific to your love style. If you are a Reserved Playmate or a Confident Hero you want to have intellectual stimulation with your partner, you like having interesting conversations and differing viewpoints.  In addition, you want to respect your partner. If you are a Loyal Supporter or Expressive Giver you want to have positive feelings and you want things to be consistent in your relationship.  You want to know what to expect and to be able to trust your partner.  If you are a Hesitant Romantic or a Renaissance Lover you want your partner to acknowledge your contributions and you don’t want them to challenge your character.

Having your wants met in your relationship makes you feel more in love with your partner.  When a Loyal Supporter’s partner is consistent and lets them know that the relationship is good, they are very happy.   Alternatively, if  their partner becomes unpredictable or there is negative energy they can become quite anxious or worried.  If the Hesitant Romantic’s partner tells them they are appreciated they will be very content.  If their partner were to question they are a good person they will feel misunderstood and unhappy.

When deciphering the difference between needs and wants, I suggest you focus on necessities first.  Read through your profile and ask yourself, “How can I best communicate my needs to my partner?”  State your needs in a direct way, emphasizing how great you feel when you get your needs met.  Lead with the positive.  In a secure relationship  stating your needs is similar to your serve in tennis, try to be accurate and ask for your needs to be met in a way that your partner can best hear.  Read your partner’s profile and focus on what they need as well.

Paying attention to your’s and your partner’s needs and wants may be a unique way of looking at love.  When you start seeing your partners needs and wants as fundamental you can work to make them happy.

SECURE note: Ask yourself, ‘what kind of bread do I  need?’ Now ask, ‘do I want to put butter on my bread or do I want to eat it plain?’ 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions,

DDLogo_SigOnly_Gold (1)

6 comments to " What do you I need in my relationship? "

  • You hit the nail on the head Diane!! There is a HUGE difference between Needs and Wants. That said I see folks all the time with this long list of Wants and Needs and when they meet with new, potential partners, they go thru their list marking off what might be true and there. I think the first issue is to understand, like you said, the difference between the two. Then perhaps work on “Boiling” down the needs list. Know, as in any negotiation, what is the minimum that needs to be met (Also known as to when you walk away!). Once that is complete you can add additional Needs that then perhaps, if you can express what your wants are, you meet someone that can meet a few of those two. Bottom line using a Sales Metaphor — “You don’t get what you want you get what you negotiate”! Good Luck to all.

  • Navy,
    Thanks for your response, I didn’t think of it as sales but I can see the similarities.
    Dr. Diane

    • The truth Diane is that we are “always selling”….. whether it be trying to get someone to work on a project; help build a solution; learn more about each other…… So, while the word “Sales” could conjure up negative thoughts/comparison, one needs to look at what you do everyday and you will see how many times you are “selling”!!

    • Morga

      A love need is more like breathing it’s a compulsion to live a want need is more like entertainment

  • Thanks so much for the blog article.Really thank you! Fantastic.

  • “Really enjoyed this article post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.”

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