Who needs ya?
I just had, what I thought, was a discovery about myself that in order to feel appreciated and secure in a relationship, I like to feel needed...not in a dependent sort of way, but in an appreciative sort of way. Not in a controlling "you do this" way, but in a "you're needed in my life because you're special" sort of way. Maybe "needed" is the wrong word. But I can't think of any other word that might fit.
So I then started to think of things I need out of a relationship. Not necessarily my current one, but any one. Several things came to mind: companionship, someone to talk with and bounce ideas off of, someone to go places with, someone to go to for help, someone to kiss and hopefully make love with...those were a few things I came up with that I think I need.
So I called my bf and asked him if he would please make a list of things he needs in a relationship so that we can learn more about each other and maybe I can know what it is that he would like out of our relationship and vice versa. I thought it would open the door to clarified communication since we seem to be lacking in that department at the moment.
He told me he doesn't need anything from me. Now, I initially interpret this as meaning "I don't need you, you're not important".
But as he begins to explain himself: He feels he doesn't need anything except to breath, food, and water. That everything beyond survival is "extra". He says he doesn't need me to be anything or do anything other than be me.
Now excuse me as I try to wrap my brain around this concept....it sounds lovely and like the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I am humbled by this statement of love. But it also made my desire to define what makes a good relationship seem sort of, well, lame.
Now I'm not sure of what it means to "have your needs met." Now I can't even think of any reasonable thing to "need" from a relationship. I guess I have "wants" and "prefers" but when it comes to just loving someone.... I don't know ....does it even make sense to need anything from someone?
But then I think in practical terms. I guess a woman might "need" her partner to be a good father. But is that a defining part of their relationship? I guess a woman and man can have a loving relationship together and he can be a total scalawag when it comes to being a responsible parent.
But, no - that's not right either.
Forgive me, but am I missing something about not "needing" another human being to behave in a certain way or do certain things in order for you to love them? I can't figure it out. :eek:
Need and Want have different definitions in my book.
You bf has a point about "need". We don't need anything except the air to breath, food and fluid to keep us going, and perhaps shelter over our heads (that old hierarchy of needs idea).
Want are things we can live without but can be very high priority in our lives. I want my husband/child/family to be happy. I want to have friends/lovers who are comfortable with who I am. When these wants go unfunfilled, it can be just as damaging to us physically and emotionally and a need not getting met, but the chances of us dying from it, not likely.
I think it is a good idea to know what you want out of a relationship and what your partner(s) want out of a relationship. It may not be necessary that a single partner can fulfill all of the needs (poly can be nice that way). Some wants may be deal breakers, if you want children and your partner does not ever want to have children for instance. But some can be worked around, especially in a poly relation where one partner may complement where another does not.
Some people may be so generally content, so happy to draw air and be alive, that they don't orient to relationships in terms of meeting "needs," I suppose. And that seems alright. It doesn't necessarily mean that those same people can't greatly enjoy the company of others and share happy or joyful experiences, or give of themselves, or receive from others.
And then there are people who have been so wounded in some way that they will not or cannot acknowledge their needs, or perhaps they conflate needs with "neediness," or expectations -- or even demands?
Most of the folks in this forum, myself included, have some degree of ... shall we say... self-esteem "issue," and I suspect that we often didn't get the kind or degree of loving that we needed in our growing up years. We have, to some extent or another, unmet needs having to do with affection and love -- and often hope that others can, by relating with us, resolve this problem. But at least nine-tenths of the healing of such wounds to our heart/soul probably need to come from within ourselves, and only in this way, this meeting of ourselves with love and tenderness, compassion..., will our loving relationships with others feel less like a gaping unmet need.
That all said, I really do think that people need some things which we often don't get enough of, which are less tangible and survival oriented than food, water, and air. Unfortunately, we too often try to meet some of these needs exclusively with a romantic partner (or two, or three). One such need which comes to mind is the human need for belonging in supportive, sensitive, nurturing community. The modern, capitalist industrial world has done much to damage such "community," as I want to call it. People call any town or city a "community," but community involves more cooperation, collaboration, sharing..., than most of us experience regularly. In what may be called a "healthy community," one would feel that they could give to something which itself is giving. Our gifts aren't simply taken, but received; and by "receive" I mean to imply a sense of responsibility to others in the community to keep the gifts flowing. Such community needs to be nurtured by many over time, like an apple orchard or a garden, or it withers away by neglect.
I honestly think a major unmet need for most people in the "developed" modern world (perhaps especially in my native USA) is also a too-seldom recognized need: the need to give to a community which itself is giving to its members. And a gift is something freely given without expectation of return or reciprocity directly to the giver. Another way of saying the same thing is that we have a need to build and nurture healthy communities.
There should be a word to define something between a want and a need. Perhaps ask him what he needs on a purely emotional level to feel satisfied in a relationship? What he hopes to receive in this relationship? What he hopes the two of you can share?
I think the "I don't need anything and I just want to love you for being you" approach is sweet....but I also think it's a little bit of a cop out (if you'll excuse me on this). I'm sure he knew what you meant, or at least had some idea what you meant by the question. Explain to him what you're trying to do and what you have listed and then ask again. Communication is a two way street.
Have you read the book, "the Five Love Languages?" It was very helpful to me and my men in determining what it is we need in the way of love being expressed to us so we might really feel it. We are all different in this respect and often assume that if we love our partners the way we wish to be loved that it will be received as we would receive it. Not so it turns out and was a huge eye opener to me in being with my husband.
Excellent book that is cheap and a super easy read.... my only complaint is that it is very hetrosexual... but I got over that part and enjoyed the learning.
Very good advice Redpepper. Bound to help more than a few people here.
I have absolutely run myself in circles with this very question. I discovered that I don't "need" a romantic relationship. But, if I am in one, there are things I need as far as that is concerned. I would this list is a way to know if I don't "need" to put up with a relationship, so to speak.
So, I created the relationship death list... read on...
The Relationship Death List
These are the things you have to do to end a relationship with me:
* Lie actively or by omission
* Be emotionally abusive by constantly criticizing me or not supporting my endeavors
* Assume that you are number one in my life. I am.
* Whine about how the world is always out to get you. You are in control of your own happiness.
* Cheat on me or deceive me
* Break relationship agreements and step over my boundaries knowingly
* Disrespect me, my family, my friends, or even my cat
* Become stagnant in life and stop improving yourself and our relationship
* Be disrespectful of my time by frequently cancelling plans last minute with no good reason – Or even always assuming me to always be available last minute.
* Rush me or push me in making decisions
These are things I need:
* Love, compassion, caring, respect, loyalty, dependability, kindness, great sex ;), time…
* The opposite of the Relationship Death List!
Nice list....I would think to most people, poly or not, most of this is a given.
Right - you would think it is a given for most people. But, I actually think few people really take the time to figure this out! Why else would so many people put up with repeated offenses in the relationship death list? I wish I had this written down YEARS ago.
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