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I’ve been talking to a lot of clients and friends lately about relationships and getting our needs met. Sometimes those relationships are with our love partners, other times they are with our friends, work colleagues or family members. Wherever we go in life we are ‘in relationship’ with someone and the smooth running (or not) of these is dependent on meeting or, at the very least, acknowledging the needs of the other person.

It seems to me those needs are things that a very specific for every individual. Whether they are the result of nature or nurture (or a combination of both), I can’t be sure. But we all have them and, when they’re being ignored by the person we’re in relationship with, things go downhill very quickly.

One of the most obvious examples of this is in a love relationship. If Person A needs some kind of structure and security to feel safe and happy in a relationship, and their partner (Person B) doesn’t have those same core needs and doesn’t acknowledge/isn’t aware of those needs, or refuses to make space for them to be met within the relationship, then neither of them are going to be happy for long.

I’m not saying you need to compromise who you are to make the other person happy – if you do that, it’s not going to work. Instead I think it’s about understanding the other person in the relationship is coming from a different and equally important perspective and, for that relationship to thrive you both need to acknowledge and make space for the other person’s core needs to be met.

Let me offer another example and this time I’ll use me. I’m a very creative and highly intuitive person. For me this translates into a need for space in my life to allow my creativity to flourish and acceptance of my intuitive gifts (i.e. who I am). If I was in a love relationship with someone who couldn’t acknowledge and make space for those needs to be met, we would come up against some very serious challenges.

Of course, sometimes we need help to understand what the other person’s needs are. They may not be able to tell us or even understand them fully themselves. This is where you need to work together and talk it through. Being courageous enough to openly acknowledge and own your needs can be a big step and involves trusting the other person will be open to hearing where you’re coming from. There will be times when the other person doesn’t ‘get it’ and isn’t interested in understanding or making space for what you need in that relationship. That’s when you need to decide what’s best for you and you may need to move on. However, for some, a third party can help you get clear on these things so you can move forward together.

If you are experiencing challenges in relationship with someone else, whoever it is, perhaps all that’s needed is recognition firstly of your own needs, then theirs, and the development of a way you can both have those core needs met. Ignoring your needs, or theirs, is never going to be a successful long term strategy for happiness or contentment in a relationship.

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