We need to make it crystal clear what wants and needs are in a relationship because a common mistake people make is confusing their wants with their needs. But they are not the same.
What you think you need for your relationship to work might turn out not to be what you need but what you want.
Making this judgment error might put unnecessary pressure and expectations on your partner and on yourself. It can even cause the relationship to fail. This is why it is important to know the difference between wants and needs in a relationship.
- The Difference Between Wants And Needs in a Relationship
- Why Do We Need To Know The Difference
- Our Needs In A Relationship
- Our Wants In A Relationship
The Difference Between Wants And Needs in a Relationship
Wants are fundamentally different from needs in the sense that they are not essential for the survival or success of the relationship. Wants are simply your desires manifesting themselves and making themselves known to you. These are the things you wish to happen or to accomplish. Whether it happens or not does not affect your survival or that of your relationship.
Wants are also different in every person. What I want is most likely different from what you want from a relationship. If you desire a lot more excitement in a relationship, this does not necessarily mean that your relationship needs excitement for it to be healthy.
On the one hand, needs are essential to your or the relationship's survival and both you and your partner's physical, mental, and overall well-being. Without these needs, your relationship will crumble and cease to exist in a matter of days.
Needs are also universal. No matter how unique we all are as individuals, there are basic things we all need, such as water, food, shelter, etc. In a relationship, we also have needs such as mutual trust, a good foundation, attraction, etc. Without anyone of these, a relationship will most likely fail.
Why Do We Need To Know The Difference
According to Dr. Russell Greiger, human beings have a tendency to want to transform our wants into needs in order to make them more urgent. This, in turn, excuses our obsession about having our way with them.
It is healthy to have desires, goals, hopes, and dreams. What's not healthy is believing that you need them to survive. This will only lead to unhealthy attachments and obsessions, as well as disappointments.
A struggle or conflict between our needs and wants is human nature. Human beings have had this duality between needs and wants since time immemorial. Our wants are, after all, manifest themselves in an urgent and very passionate manner. In fact, it's a lot easier to recognize a want as a need than vice versa.
Take, for example, how we say we need to follow our dreams by working really hard instead of indulging in rest and sleep. In this instance, the need has been turned into a want that we cannot possibly indulge in, and the want has become a real and passionate need in its place.
This is dangerous to the extreme. Not 'indulging' in rest will probably lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and several physical, mental, and emotional ailments. This is why it is necessary to know the difference between wants and needs.
To know more about our wants and needs in a relationship, below is a list of both.
Our Needs In A Relationship
Certainty And Comfort
To maintain a successful relationship, both partners have to be certain, secure, stable, and comfortable. Without certainty, you will both feel insecure and uncomfortable about your arrangement. This will most likely cause it to fail.
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When your partner sends mixed signals, for example, it can undermine your self-confidence as well as your confidence in the relationship. This means that before you enter into the relationship, you have to be certain that you both want to be in it and that it's not just a passing fancy.
Being on the same page can be really helpful when battling uncertainty and doubt. Having open communications lines should be enough. You should probably talk about things first before you commit. You should also have a lot of conversations in between. It can help make you both feel secure and toasty warm.
Conversations could also help you discover that you have different paths now- different from a year ago, in any case. Perhaps you've grown to want different things. But hey, it happens.
Love And Connection
Needs are non-negotiable. They're deal-breakers. Love and connection are two of them. Without love and connection, there is no relationship. You will probably see two people forcing themselves to be partners but otherwise, nothing else. They try, and yet they fail. It makes them miserable.
Giving and receiving love is a human need. Our capability to feel this emotion is something that sets us apart from the animals, aside from our intellect. Love also serves to connect us, and without this connection, a relationship can only be tenuous, at best. It's basically just a transaction and a partnership. It will not last long.
As human beings, growing and evolving is not anything new. In fact, we need to grow and evolve in order to survive. It is the same with relationships. The only difference is that you need to grow in the same direction as your partner so you don't drift apart.
We all tend to want to be happy and healthy, and we can only do this if we continually improve. Even people who are content in their relationships also want change. No one wants to remain the same forever. Your affections will grow into love in time. If this doesn't happen, then what is the point of dating?
If growth is absent from a relationship, it's probably time to talk about what you both want and how you both see yourselves in the future. There is no point in staying in a stagnant and probably unhealthy relationship where everyone stays the same.
Contrary to how you feel a relationship should be, it is always better to give than to receive. Instead of bringing unrealistic expectations about what your partner should do and how your partner should behave, stop. Think about what you can do for them instead.
Expecting your partner to be perfect will only lead to disappointment and a failed relationship. It is also very unhealthy, unrealistic, and selfish. You don't enter a relationship expecting the other person to do all the work to make you happy.
Why don't you try putting their needs and happiness above your own instead? This will make all the variables easier to control. You are in charge of your own emotions, as well as your actions, after all. This is the real secret to a happy and fulfilling relationship.
The Happiness Ratio
No relationship will survive without laughter, fun, and happiness. If this is taken out of the equation, what you have is just routine, perhaps even misery. No one should suffer in a healthy relationship.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you have to laugh at everything and find humor in every situation. That can strain a relationship too. It only means that you need to find more happiness whenever and wherever you can get it. More positive than negative emotions. To be exact, it has to be a 5:1 ratio. Five positive interactions to one negative.
Positive interactions include complimenting each other or a general sense of well-being in your daily activities, be it while you're cleaning up the kitchen together, arguing about the news, playing chess, or waking up in each other's arms. Negative interactions include criticizing each other or being annoyed about each other's habits.
Once you stop feeling anything else except annoyance in all the things you do together, it's probably time to have a long talk about the future.
Understanding Your Partner
Understanding is one of the most overlooked essentials in a relationship. Nonetheless, it is very much a need. Without your knowledge and understanding of your partner, you can't really say that you know him better than a stranger.
If you don't know him better than anyone else, then what is the point in being his life partner? After all, you have to be on the same page with some things in your life, such as your routine and your future. If you don't know what he's really thinking, and he doesn't know you all that well either, then I suppose you're just in it for companionship.
This will not last, however. The need for intimacy that goes beyond the physical will slowly build up. You need to understand him and know him well, and vice versa, if you're to carry on.
Our Wants In A Relationship
All-Time Partner And Companion
Most of us engage in a relationship with this unrealistic expectation. We want our life partners to become our partners for everything. We want them to do literally everything with us. We think this is an essential component of a relationship, as well as a romantic one.
But it's not. It's not only unrealistic, but it's also very unhealthy. You can't possibly hang out with each other at every hour of every day. Furthermore, you can't possibly want to. Being in a monogamous relationship is one thing- but wanting to be with one person all the time is quite simply another.
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This obsessive behavior will probably make you guys bored with each other in a week. More likely, it will make both of you feel suffocated. Being in each other's company to the extent of cutting off everyone else seems sinister. After all, our lives are supposed to be enriched by a variety of friendships and relationships with different kinds of people.
Contrary to what many of us think, common interests are not needed for a relationship to survive and thrive. Sure, having something in common with someone will probably attract you to them. But then again, there are billions of people in the world. Logic would tell us that we're probably sharing the same interests and passions with millions of them.
In your life, you probably have friends and family members with whom you have common interests. This is why it is not necessary for your partner to be that someone for you. It will only make him redundant. It would probably be nice to have someone like that- less chance of conflict.
Then again, conflict does tend to keep things lively. Maybe you're thinking that you should probably pick someone with the same inclinations since you're a very calm person. But then, maybe you don't need calm waters. Perhaps what you really need is a storm to rile you up from your too peaceful existence and to bring you a little excitement.
Love is an emotion that recognizes no face, height, or any other physical trait requirements. Simply put, a handsome face or a 6-foot height is not necessary for a relationship to work. You can't possibly be passing up on some possible candidates just because they're not tall enough, or handsome enough, or their noses are off-center.
Yes, like everyone else on the planet, you are probably attracted to beauty. Duh. What you may fail to realize is that beauty is not just something you see on the outside. If you're perceptive enough, you should be able to find your need for aesthetics to be supplied by his grace, his quiet strength, his steady temper, etc.
So lower your physical requirement bar a little. Who knows, if you give him a chance, that little guy with a unibrow might just be the one for you. You're just being too hard on him because he doesn't look like your idea of a happily ever after.
While you're judging a suitor or a potential life partner by his lack of college education, he's earning more than you are in his business. He's also more street-smart and real-life smart than you and everyone else you know. He's also probably more book-smart. He's probably a wider reader than you are. He probably even has better grammar.
Or maybe he doesn't, and you're judging him based on his use of is/are. Perhaps you believe that you can't possibly be with a person who can't construct a proper sentence. But you have to remember that just because he's not very good at grammar doesn't mean that he's not intelligent. Language skills are just one way to measure intelligence.
You wouldn't know because you're being a grammar nazi or because you're judging him from his lack of a college diploma. So before you miss out on some amazingly intelligent people with no university degree, think twice. Then one more time, just to be sure. Don't be a snob.
Generally, when you are used to a certain lifestyle, it is acceptable to expect to continue that lifestyle when you enter a relationship. You don't have to lower your standards and suddenly start living like a pauper because your partner wants you to save more. It's still your money, and it's your choice whether to save it or spend it on yourself and your loved ones.
That said, while no one is asking you to lower your standards in terms of living your life and spending your money, it would be great for you to extend the same courtesy to your partner or to a suitor. Maybe you're thinking that you want someone who earns the same amount of bucks as you or more, and you believe that to be a deal-breaker.
It shouldn't be. No matter the circumstance, you shouldn't judge a person based on how much they earn. You should also never use income to measure up your esteem for someone. This will only help you miss out on many great people. Besides, no one expects men to always earn the big bucks nowadays. Women can do it, too.
Food is an important part of our lives. In fact, we associate it with social engagements, bonding, and even romantic activities. That said, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker for a potential relationship.
You can't possibly put the breaks down in an otherwise awesome relationship just because you discovered that he eats a dead cow. Or maybe it's the other way around. Maybe you're thinking about putting an end to things because she always ends up ordering 'diet' coke, and 'diet' everything, and you're thinking you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Well, here's some flash news. It's hard enough to date and look for someone in this day and age. You shouldn't make it harder by imposing dietary restrictions on your partner. If he's well able to respect your choice of food, you should do the same.
Human beings are inclined to hedonic adaptation. This is when we take positive experiences for granted over time. So that what once was a passionate relationship with lots of action will settle down into more of a routine but intimate lovemaking. You heard me- it's not going to last, no matter how much you want it to.
So instead of needing to have this one little requirement for a potential relationship, scrap it. It won't be forever anyway. Once we've tried something a few times, it rarely gives us the same thrill that it once did.
This doesn't mean that your sex life will prove to be sub-par after a while. It only means that you'll feel differently. Great sex will probably become so common for you that you will be blase about the whole thing after some time.
Related: The Signs He Is Making Love To You
Some people just can't stop themselves from judging people based on their political views. In fact, many people believe themselves to be intolerant of a partner who is Republican/Democrat, depending on where they're standing.
But what if you meet someone who is completely lovely and worthy of your love and attention, and then you discover that they are a political Switzerland? Will you then go because you can't stand their indecisiveness? Or will you set aside your political passion for a bit, as well as your pride, and take a chance anyway?
Some examples of needs in a relationship include love and affection, security, connection, happiness, comfort, growth, contribution, and safety. These are all non-negotiable essentials. Without these, a relationship will most likely fail.
You express your wants and needs in a relationship by being vocal about them. If you want or need something from your partner, or from your relationship, let the other person know. That is the only way to go. Keeping the other person guessing about your expectations is not healthy. It is counterproductive.
The five most important things in a relationship are love/affection, security/comfort, happiness, communication, and understanding. Without these essentials and non-negotiables, a relationship will most likely fail.
Need means essential and non-negotiable in a relationship. This means that a relationship cannot survive or thrive without these needs. Simply put, they are basic requirements that must be met for a relationship to be healthy and successful. They are the deal-breakers, the restrictions, and the limits to what you allow or do not allow in your relationships.
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