10 Emotional Needs to Consider in Relationships

You have your basic survival needs like water, air, food, and shelter. Meeting these physical needs means you can stay alive, but it takes more to give life meaning.


You can’t see or touch things like companionship, affection, security, or appreciation, but they’re just as valuable. The same goes for feeling heard or valued.


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.


1. 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.


Someone who doesn’t say “I love you” might show their regard through their actions, for example.


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. Remember, you don’t know what’s happening without asking.


Try a nonconfrontational approach:


“I’ve noticed some distance lately. When we can’t connect through touch, I feel lonely. I wonder if there’s a way we could connect with words instead, if you don’t feel up to physical affection right now.”


2. 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

If you don’t feel accepted, you might feel as if you’re hovering on the edges of their life. This isn’t a comfortable place to be.


Some people don’t open up easily, and they might have other reasons for not including you in certain parts of their life. All the same, feeling like you don’t belong can make it difficult for you to see yourself in the relationship long term.


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.



3. Validation

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


According to research from 2016 Trusted Source, most couples find it important to operate on the same wavelength. 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.


But if you consistently feel unheard or invalidated, you might start to build up some resentment, so it’s best to address the issue sooner rather than later.

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