Every person has emotional needs that need to be met. But wait, what exactly is an emotional need?
Emotional needs are requirements, desires, or cravings that, when met, leaves you feeling content, happy, and satisfied, and when they aren’t met, you feel frustrated, unworthy, unsatisfied, and unhappy.
You have emotional needs inside and outside of relationships, and since most people turn to others to meet these needs, that sets them up for failure. A partner or friend can’t be solely responsible for meeting every single emotional need you have; you need to step up and meet your own needs.
But there is value in meeting your romantic partner’s emotional needs (as much as you can and in a healthy way) and having them fulfill some of your needs.
Read on to find out what are the most important emotional needs people have in a relationship and why satisfying these needs are essential for a healthy and successful relationship.
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Why Are Fulfilling Emotional Needs So Important in a Relationship?
First things first:
Now, meeting emotional needs in a non-codependent and healthy way in a relationship are essential for various reasons:
Tips for Meeting Your Partner’s Emotional Needs
Follow these tips to meet your partner’s emotional needs:
The Top 14 Emotional Needs to Meet in Your Relationship
Here are the main emotional needs the majority of people have:
When your partner makes you feel accepted, you feel as if you belong in the relationship and in your partner’s life. Your romantic partner needs to accept the whole you – the good, bad, and the ugly – for you to feel like you belong completely.
You can feel acceptance when your loved one plans activities with you, shares their dreams and goals for the future, and asks for advice and recommendations.
While you want to do activities with your loved one, you also need space (aka alone time or me-time) to think, feel, and just be.
You are worthy of privacy (physical, emotional, and other kinds) so you can go out and not feel like you have to report to your partner where you are every five minutes. You deserve to have a separate space that’s yours in the house and keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself.
There are different kinds of affection, and you may have a deeper need for one of these needs (compared to the others). Affection can comprise sexual intimacy, physical touch like hugs or cuddling, kind gestures, loving words, and more.
When your partner is affectionate toward you, you feel closer and more connected to them, which strengthens your relationship.
Part of being affectionate is meeting your partner’s love language so they better understand that they are loved, valued, and appreciated.
4. Connection and Companionship
Every person has a need for companionship and connection, and having a partner who loves you and is there for you meets these needs at their most basic levels.
Feeling connected and having a good companion prevents you from feeling lonely, and it’s perfectly okay to spend time apart too. After all, it’s encouraged to find the perfect balance between togetherness and me-time so you can self-care and fill your cup.
Having empathy means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and not casting your judgment, opinions, or feelings over them.
Brené Brown says it best: “In order to empathize with someone’s experience, you must be willing to believe them as they see it, and not how you imagine their experience to be.”
When your partner shows you empathy and compassion, you feel seen and understood, which helps you build a deeper bond.
6. Trust and Understanding
Your special someone becomes your friend, support system, and confidant, and even more so the closer you become and the more your relationship evolves. You can’t enjoy a successful and healthy relationship without trust and understanding.
These two emotional needs aren’t a “meet them once and you’ll be fine.” Like the other emotional needs, you and your partner need to consistently and continuously work on meeting your emotional needs.
So work on building trust and understanding for each other.
There is no easy way to define security in a relationship as it encompasses many things. For example, security can mean:
You want your relationship to be a safe space and a soft spot where you can fall, but you also want to share your accomplishment and know your partner is even happier for you than you are for yourself.
When you are in a relationship, you become part of a unit. It’s only natural for you and your special someone to share aspects of your daily life, interests, and activities.
However, you should never lose or give up your sense of self. Having things in common is great because it helps you and your partner bond and it keeps you connected, but you can’t say “yes and amen” to everything they like and do.
Your partner should want you to be authentic and maintain that authenticity, and that means celebrating similarities AND differences.
It’s natural that you want to be a priority in your partner’s life, and they should want to be a priority in your life. However, you can’t be THE priority in their life (not always) since they also have other significant relationships (familial and social), their career, and themselves to prioritize.
The key to a healthy relationship is to feel like you are a priority and that you matter, and understand that your partner has other things to focus on too. But you should never feel like just another option, because then your need to be a priority isn’t met.
You should feel that your thoughts and feelings are validated when you are in a relationship. It’s impossible to always see eye to eye, but your partner should still make you feel heard and seen. They should listen to your concerns with an understanding of where you are coming from.
A 2016 study found that couples prefer to be emotionally interdependent, or “on the same wavelength” – where their emotions are linked or related – because it improves well-being, relationship satisfaction, and feeling validated.
11. Being Heard
When we are heard, we also feel validation, acceptance, and connection. You need to openly communicate with your partner, and they need to practice mindful and active listening to hear you, not think about what to reply or be distracted by the upcoming soccer game.
You need to do the same for your loved one – listen to (and hear) them when they speak, which will also make them feel heard.
12. Being Cared For
In a relationship, you want to care for and about your partner, and you want the same emotional needs – to be cared for and to be cared about – fulfilled.
When you care for and about someone, you create a safe space for them and you hold space for them – you are emotionally, physically, and mentally present for someone. You also act in a way that shows their emotions and mood matter to you.
When you do something for your loved one, you want to feel that your efforts are appreciated, but it goes beyond that. They should appreciate you for who you are and simply existing so that the relationship is not only transactional – not based on doing for someone to get something like appreciation in return.
Appreciate your special someone by paying genuine compliments, being kind to them, and ensuring you don’t make mean remarks.
Honesty is an emotional need that ranks highly in a relationship.
When a couple is honest with each other, they know where they stand and it helps build trust so the relationship can function and thrive. It also has other benefits like creating respect, promoting healthy communication, reducing stress, and building a healthy foundation for love.
So even when you need to share something painful with your partner, be honest, but be kind in how you share too.
Tell your partner what your emotional needs are; they can’t read your mind and you shouldn’t expect them too.
Know that they can’t always meet every need you have, and that’s why it’s so important to self-care and have friends and family to help meet your emotional needs.