The Importance of Needs
We all know how difficult making a decision about the future of a relationship can be. Is the love we feel enough to make the relationship work? Do I stay in a not-so-great relationship longer to see if things can change? Do I leave now? Just because my relationship is good right now, does that mean I should take it to the next level?
How do we know? It’s tough. There can be so much uncertainty.
Research shows that people make decisions about whether to stay in or leave a relationship based on whether they believe they are getting their needs met. This is why it’s so important to be aware of your needs and accurately assess whether they’re being met.
When we’re aware of our needs, we can set standards for what we want and expect in a relationship. Once we have standards, we can look at how we and our partner are behaving to determine whether the relationship meets our standards -- whether our needs are being met -- and this will help us know whether to stay or go.
So, to be in a healthy relationship, you must be aware of your own and your partner’s needs and those needs must be getting met satisfactorily.
This brings us back to the Three Conditions for a Healthy Relationship. Within each condition is a set of needs -- things that you need from your relationship (or from yourself), and there are ways that you have to treat your partner (or yourself). Each condition is met through the same needs; the needs only differ based on the perspective. For example, one need in a relationship is for support, which looks like this within each condition:
I know and like myself
To meet your need for support, when faced with challenging or upsetting situations, you will actively problem-solve rather than avoid.
Doing so allows you to take care of yourself and feel good about yourself and select a partner who values your ability to problem solve.
I know and like my partner
To get support from your relationship, you will go to your partner in good times and bad times.
You can figure out whether you want to be with your partner based on whether you can go to him or her for support.
My partner knows and likes me
To meet the need to support your partner, you will want to ensure that your partner can come to you in good times and bad times.
You can figure out whether you want to be with your partner based on whether he or she turns to you for support and is satisfied with the support you are able to provide.
Our book, The Thinking Girl's Guide to the Right Guy: How Knowing Yourself Can Help You Navigate Dating, Hookups, and Love, describes 14 specific needs that are important for healthy relationships and provides a set of “needs questions” you can ask yourself to determine whether your needs are being met, along with guidance about the kind of information you should be using to determine your answers. We help you identify your key needs – those that are most important to you – so that you can prioritize them in selecting a partner. And because everyone has different preferences for how they get their needs met, we teach you how to tell the difference between a legitimate request and an unreasonable demand because we’re more likely to get our needs met when we make legitimate requests.