Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-30-2009, 10:33 PM
Nyx Nyx is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: north america
Posts: 53
Default 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.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2009, 10:55 PM
vandalin's Avatar
vandalin vandalin is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 520

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.
Life is about the journey and not the destination,
so what better way to know life
than to wander all the roads and paths set before you.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2009, 11:07 PM
River's Avatar
River River is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NM, USA
Posts: 1,894

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.
bi, partnered, available

River's Blog

Last edited by River; 07-30-2009 at 11:15 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2009, 03:34 AM
XYZ123 XYZ123 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 369

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2009, 04:06 AM
Nyx Nyx is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: north america
Posts: 53

Originally Posted by XYZ123 View Post

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.
I felt a bit frustrated by his reaction as well. I was clear what I meant and he agreed that he would think about it and jot some things down.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2009, 08:03 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,639

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.
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog
Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2009, 04:59 PM
Mark1npt Mark1npt is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Sunny FL
Posts: 344

Very good advice Redpepper. Bound to help more than a few people here.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 03:35 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kansas City Metro
Posts: 2,186

The needs that we have in relationships aren't of the same variety as those in Maslow's hierarchy. Where we food, water, and shelter to survive, we don't need a specific partner to survive.

The needs we speak of when dealing with relationships are of a different variety.

I have a need for intellectual stimulation, as do the majority of people. Exactly what form (or forms) that takes differs a great deal from person to person. So, the people we choose to interact with to get the specific form of stimulation we need will necessarily vary.

Now, needs of that sort can be met in romantic or platonic relationships. Where romantic needs can be said to be met lies in the intersection of where some of Maslow's hierarchy meets personal relationship. Maslow highlights the needs for sex and security (I think I'm still in the realm of Maslow's work), which can arise from romantic ties.

Those are needs that are addressed (if not fully met) by a romantic tie. In addition, a need such a specific type of intellectual stimulation can be met by a partner. A need for a specific type of interaction is met by a romantic partner--one not met by a majority of other people.

That, I believe, is what we speak of when we speak of somebody meeting our needs. That person fulfills not only the basic needs addressed by simply having a romantic partner, but also addresses (or fulfills) other needs--needs for specific characteristics of interaction.

A need I have in a relationship, for example, is that I have a certain measure of independence. My wife fulfills that need, neither wanting to cling closer than I'm comfortable with nor wanting more distance than I'm comfortable with. The need for a particular feeling of distance/closeness is one that she fills, so it's a need of mine that she addresses. She addresses a great many such needs or she wouldn't be my wife.

And I don't expect her to address all my needs, nor do I expect that I can address all of her needs, which is why we're poly.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 12:09 PM.