Meeting your Partner’s Needs While Getting Yours Met
Everyone has needs. And if you are in a long term relationship you realize that it’s transactional as much as it’s interactional. We have emotional, sexual, and physical needs such as hugging and cuddling, spiritual, financial and social needs too. There are eight elements in all. When a relationship is doing well the two interact in these realms meeting each other’s needs in full measure. There’s no holding back, no splurging. If they’re lucky there is an “element equation” or a surplus on the part of both partners. If there is an imbalance, the couple can choose to acknowledge it, discuss it and work through the problem. A deficit in emotional availability could by tackled by telling one partner that they aren’t feeling their full presence in the relationship. Instead of reacting, the other partner would agree to discuss it at a certain time. Both parties could then come up with solutions on when the best time is to discuss their feelings, say at a meeting once per week or something like that.
So how do you work on meeting your partner’s needs while getting yours met? First you need to recognize the imbalance. Something doesn’t feel right. Define the problem. Talk about it with yourself. Investigate. Is one person overspending or the other holding back? Where is this imbalance coming from? Next, find the proper words to address the problem. Bring it up with your partner and find an appropriate time to discuss it. The key is open and honest communication, without ego or blame stepping into it. Both parties have to communicate effectively, honestly, and from a point of respect toward their partner. Nothing is solved by screaming matches or finger pointing sessions. But the couple who can have a calm, cool discussion and come up with concrete solutions enjoys the strongest and happiest type of relationship. Find out the reason of the withholding or the overspending. Is there some guilt or feeling of inadequacy? Why does your partner feel this way? It’s important to validate their responses. Always begin from a place of wellness. Make your partner understand that you care about your relationship and want it to be healthy. Let them know that you are invested in them and invested in “us.” For more advice read, The Rules of Love: A Personal Code for Happier, More Fulfilling Relationships by Richard Templar.
Planning a wedding can be a whirlwind that scoops you up and carries you along. There are so many things to plan and do. But one of the most critical parts of a marriage, your sex life, is often swept aside. Yet, it plays a crucial role. Not only is your sex life important, but the intimacy that stems from it can fuel your relationship and keep it intact for the long haul. But a lack of intimacy can sap your marriage. Most people expect their married sex life to be phenomenal throughout. Though married people often register higher numbers on sexual satisfaction surveys, the truth is one’s sex life ebbs and flows throughout a marriage. Psychotherapist and sex specialist Vanessa Marin says that those couples who do talk about sex before they get married are more successful overall. It is important for any couple that wants decades upon decades of happy sex ahead of them to discuss it, and come to an understanding about the matter with their partner. Schedule a time to sit down together. It doesn’t have to be stuffy. You can set a romantic mood, get wine and light candles. Or you can just sit down on the couch together and start talking about sex. It’s really up to you, and what style you have as a couple.
The first thing to consider is to ask what your sexual strengths and weaknesses are. Talk about your favorite memories together. Share what the best sex you ever had was. What was it about that time? How did it make you feel? What about it made you feel that way? Ask what theirs was and why. What do you both really enjoy doing together or to one another? What really works for you? Over time, usually couples get better. They get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, and trust builds. Each person should ultimately feel free to open up and express their needs, wants and desires. This will build a great sex life together. It will help build your relationship, as it provides immense intimacy to be able to shed guilt or shame, open up, be understood and accepted, and ultimately be fulfilled by your partner. Ask yourselves how to make intimacy a priority. Marin writes in an article in Psychology Today that she always shares this with clients. They need to set aside time for intimacy. Those clients usually respond by saying, “we didn’t know we had to do that…” Having a fantastic married sex life requires a little bit of care and effort. Schedule date nights, get a sitter and get some special alone time together each week.
Talk about how you feel about the inevitable changes in your sex life throughout your marriage. Are you planning on having kids? You can’t imagine how that will change your time in the bedroom. Menopause and lots of other things will change it too. Discuss how you plan to keep the spark a towering inferno of passion throughout your life together. You don’t want things to get boring. Talk about interests and fantasies together. Marin suggests each person making a list using red, yellow and green lights. “Reds are the things you know you don’t want to try, yellow are the ones you’re unsure about, and greens are the things you feel perfectly comfortable with. Making these lists can be a fun way to keep the chemistry going,” she writes. Talk about what you will do if you ever have a fight about sex. Marin says it is inevitable. Do you have a communication strategy in place? Will you decide to see a marriage counselor or sex therapist if you have to? Know each other’s feelings on these sorts of things. Think about how each of you can nurture your individual sexualities. Lastly, talk about your honeymoon with your soon-to-be spouse. What are the expectations? What will you experiment with? Does the sex take precedence or other honeymoon activities? For more on how to have great sex with your now or soon-to-be spouse, pick up a copy of Marriage And Sex: Marriage Advice On Spicing Up Your Marriage And Marriage Tips About Sex For Married Couples by Suzie Holmes.
According to a recent survey by Victoria Milan, an infidelity themed dating website, when asked which is worse, an emotional or a physical affair, male respondents stated that a physical affair was worse, women an emotional affair. 72% of men responded that a sexual affair was worse. While 69% of women thought an emotional affair was the deadlier of these two. 76% of women would give their partner another shot after a physical affair. But only 35% of the male respondents would forgive a physical affair. 80% of men would take their lover back if they had had an emotional affair, whereas only 30% of female respondents would accept their man back after straying emotionally.
Of the findings, Victoria Milan CEO Sigurd Vedal is quoted in saying in a press release, “Many people are searching for affection, a deeper connection that can lead to real feelings, not just sex. What kind of cheating is more painful? It totally depends on the individual and maybe on gender as well.” A research study that came out in the journal Evolutionary Psychology parallels these findings. So does a study out of the University of Michigan which found that the female of our species find “forming a deep emotional bond” a far larger concern than men.
This study shouldn’t be too surprising. Men put a lot of their ego in their sexual prowess. A cheating woman lowers his evaluation of that prowess, bashing his ego along with the emotional pain that comes from infidelity. It communicates to other men that his prowess wasn’t enough to satisfy her. Of course, most women cheat not necessarily out of sexual need, though there are those that do. Generally, women cheat from feeling neglected, starved of intimacy. A woman needs to feel loved, cared for, and close to someone. If she is neglected in her relationship, doesn’t feel any emotional connection and doesn’t feel appreciated or loved, she will go astray to have these needs met. Men of course have these emotional needs we well. But men aren’t as emotional as women are. Some men who aren’t in touch with their own emotions may find that having his lady seek emotional sustenance outside the relationship relieves him. Still, it is this very bonding that may lead her to stray physically as well. For advice on preventing an affair read, Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship by M. Gary Neuman.
Alberto Gallace and Charles Spence (2010) did many studies on touch and found some surprising things. People respond more positively after they’ve been touched physically. Bus drivers are more likely to give a passenger a free ride if they’d been touched. Customers are more likely to buy an item at a tasting in a grocery store if the person serving the tastings touches them, however briefly. Smokers are more likely to give a cigarette in request for one if the requester has touched them, however briefly. Physical touch has a deep emotional impact which we may not be readily aware of. Though it varies from one culture to another as to how much touch is acceptable, all humans need to be touched. It’s a psychological need. In romantic relationships, touch is pivotal. Relationship satisfaction is dependent on how often and the value of touch we receive from our partner. More physical affection actually makes conflict resolution easier studies have shown. Kissing, hugging, holding hands, cuddling and more increase relationship satisfaction, as well as feelings of positivity and well-being, higher self-esteem and better stress management. One study even showed that those with mild to moderate neurosis could be cured of it over time in a loving, long term sexual relationship. Studies have shown that those who had contact with their partner before a stressful event had lower overall blood pressure than those that didn’t.
Touching and sexual activity builds the bond between the two, helps with communication and conflict resolution. Those who are married find touch to be more friendly, loving and communicates desire more than singles. Eye contact and undivided attention is certainly pivotal in love. But touching is just as crucial. When you’ve just met someone and you don’t know whether they are interested in you or not, a brush of the hand can let you know their level of interest. Lots of long-term relationships fall into a rut. The spark dies and the two drift apart. Sometimes a marriage isn’t bad, it’s just ho-hum. But boredom alone can kill a long term relationship. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together or what you’ve been through, you can reenergize your relationship through the power of touch. Hugging, kissing, holding hands, massages, sexual contact and intercourse all increase the bonding of two people, strengthen their love and understanding and make them one. No matter how long it’s been, reinvigorate your relationship by initiating and taking part in more touching. If there are emotional issues that get in the way, talk them through. If you are scared since it’s been so long and you don’t know how your spouse or partner is going to react, realize that they are probably desiring touch just as much as you are. Talk to them about it first. Tell them what you want to do and how you feel and they will reciprocate. For more advice, read Hope Springs Eternal: How to Rekindle Sex & Romance in Your Marriage- No Matter Your Ageby Laura Beckder.
Should marriages last forever, or should they have terms and conditions (theglobeandmail)? What if you could renew the contract every five or ten years or so? Many couples today have traded passion for a low stress environment. Their relationships are convenient and centered around the children. But inside they yearn for more. Infidelity occurs and the marriage is then stressful, leading to divorce. Or perhaps one person decides to leave when they can’t take the emptiness of the void inside any longer. Perhaps then a new concept of marriage should inhabit the modern world, giving people the comfort and dependability they need, without ignoring their emotional needs. This is the subject of a new book by author Pamela Haag entitled Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses and Rebel Couples. In her view, married couples in semi-happy marriages should be able to have affairs and discuss them openly, but they should take place 50 miles or more from the home.
According to Ms. Haag 55-65% of semi-happy marriages end in divorce in the U.S. With the sexual revolution of the 1970’s, people have a lot more options today than they did in the past. Yet, marriage and relationships have not been reinvented. Polls have shown that women are less happy today than they were in the 70’s, mostly due to having to balance family and career. There is a lot of strife with the case of marriage today, even in semi-happy, low conflict marriages. Even though these look fine from the outside, when the couple’s needs aren’t being met, a growing problem threatens to tear them apart. Still, most people don’t talk about these problems. They ignore them, which is why they grow bigger without abatement. According to a Pew research poll, 50% of younger Americans think marriage will become obsolete. Marriage therefore, in Ms. Haag’s view, has to adapt in order to survive. In other cultures, such as in Europe, affairs are carried on and spouses ignore them. In the U.S. they happen all the time but are considered horrifying. Still, according to Ms. Haag, these relationships are already going on, and attitudes are changing. Non-monogamy is a special kind of relationship not suited for everyone. The jealous, insecure or anxiety ridden should not take part. But those who can mutually agree that they can have more than one relationship that is healthy, consensual and non-threatening, according to Ms. Haag are happier than the semi-happy who end up divorced.