A relationship where your primary emotional needs are not met, is not a relationship, it is an arrangement.

Arrangements are fine. We have a lot of them in life. With the bus driver, the mail man, the grocery store manager, the Ueber driver, the list goes on. Arrangements are fine.

The only problem arises, when our intimate relationships have become arrangements.

What exactly the basis of the exchange has become can become very nebulous. Who is giving what, who is benefiting what is not always that clear. Is it a fair exchange? In fact, the lack of that clarity often keeps such arrangements in place. Becoming aware of what the exchange truly consists of can be so disturbing and painful, that it is best not to look at. And most of all, becoming aware that a relationship really is an arrangement based on an exchange, versus deep connection, is a real bummer we all like to avoid seeing and feeling.

A relationship is a sacred vessel for two people to connect deeply.

There is no exchange per see. It is a state of being that allows both people involved to become something bigger, something greater then what they would be on their own. A relationship is a place where we can see and understand each other. It is an arena for amazing growth, as we get to see parts of ourselves, we never knew we had. We get to love them, integrate them, and become whole. And then, dive deeper yet in our connection to one another.

Or at least so it could be.

In general, people grow up without having their emotional needs met. And hence, develop immense coping strategies on how to make life work without having them met. The coping strategies can be so huge they don’t even show up as coping mechanisms. They just are how life is.

Naturally, when we have these coping mechanisms in place, we would attract a mate that will not meet our emotional needs, or if so, only in a perfunctory fashion. So we shape our relationship dynamics around the very core fact, that neither person’s emotional needs are going to be met.

Which basically looks like a war.

It may be a silent war, it may be a loud war; bottom line, it is a constant pushing, pulling, begging and blaming about those needs being or not being met. And we wonder why it is so difficult and painful to be in relationship.

There is no way around it. We have to do the dirty work and own what our true needs are. And then start to create ways in which they are met. The problem with that is, that most of us have sworn our own emotional needs into secrecy. Being young and not having your emotional needs met, is excruciating. It does not get more painful than that. So pretending we don’t have them, seems like a very handy solution.

You may have heard me say this before; I do believe that belonging and deeply connecting are primary needs. I go as far as to say, that people who do not think that these are their primary needs, have coping mechanisms that are so strong, that they don’t even know they miss the experience of belonging and connecting. The belonging and connecting experience as a child was so not available, that they had to find a way to make it a non-issue to survive. And what swifter way then to just push it all down into the subconscious? There really is no swifter way.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work so well, and the unmet meets will come and bite us in the rear end. The deepest wiring of a human being does not change just because we as individuals decide to suppress it into the subconscious.

We still are a species for whom connection is more important than food.

So, why do I bring this up? Because I see it all over the place. It is an epidemic and I think it is at the root of our 50% divorce rate.

Unless our emotional needs of belonging and connecting are met, our relationships are a source of constant pain. And so, if you look to move out of painful patterns in your relationship, this is a good place to look.

  • Where are you at with your need for belonging and connecting?
  • What have you told yourself about them?
  • Have you maybe told yourself to appreciate what you have and count your blessings, and by doing so, discounted your true needs? Making yourself wrong for having them in the first place?
  • Do you maybe tell yourself that your emotional needs are nothing than frivolous desires, and that running after them is deterring you from the straight and narrow path you are on? Emotional core needs are not the same as desires.

If this may be part of why you have been avoiding getting into a relationship or you are in one that isn’t going so great, you feel alone or sad in your relationship, I suggest you take an inventory of how you rate the importance of having your core emotional needs met, and then set out to create conversations, explorations, inner work and then start creating new ways so they can be met.