Core relationship needs refers to the needs in your relationship that are non-negotiable. It’s important to be aware of what they are because they are ‘deal-breakers’. What this means is if your partner or potential partner can’t meet these core relationship needs, it’s unlikely that your relationship will survive in the long term. Here’s a list of our basic core needs in any relationship:
Emotional needs include the need to feel loved, valued and a part of your partner’s life. They are about the need to be respected, special and accepted by your partner with all your flaws. This is a basic ingredient that needs to be a part of any successful relationship.
Physical needs include touching, caressing, hugging and holding. They also include non-verbal communication that lets you know that you are being loved and cared for. The need for a rewarding sexual life is also important and to be considered under physical needs.
This is about support and respect for your spiritual values and beliefs. This includes the need for a shared spiritual life. Even if you have different spiritual beliefs, it’s important that your partner respects your spiritual beliefs, even when they may be very different from theirs.
These needs are about calls, notes, letters or emails that acknowledge your relationship and the care and love you feel for one another. It also includes social activities with the need for appropriate tenderness, support and attention from your partner when you are in public. Sharing joy and laughter with your partner is another important social need.
These needs are about feeling confident, support, loyalty and commitment from your partner. It’s about the relationship not being at risk, even when you have disagreements. You feel confident that your partner is there for you in times of conflict with others. And you know that your partner is always a soft place for you to fall on.
An awareness exercise
As an exercise, begin to get in touch with your core needs. Take a pen and paper and write down your needs under each of these categories. Don’t miss anything out. Write in a completely uncensored way, knowing that no one will ever read this.
What needs are you discovering? Which ones need to be included in your relationship vision?
Fear gets in the way
Often what keeps you from meeting these needs is fear. You may fear risking being vulnerable, feeling inadequate, rejection, abandonment or disappointing your partner.
Write down another category of fear. List all your fears that get in the way of you having your core needs met.
Once you have completed this, you now have a list of areas that are your growing edges for personal growth. Whether you are single or have a partner, you will be clearer about what you need in a relationship and what gets in the way of having your needs met. As part of your relationship vision, you are developing clearer goals that you and your partner can head towards. This can give your relationship purpose and meaning.
Your next task is to see if your core relationship needs are in alignment with your relationship vision. If so, great! You are heading in the right direction to have your needs met. If not, consider what needs to change in your relationship vision, so that you can incorporate the needs that are essential for you. Once you bring your core needs and vision into alignment, you are on the path to creating an amazing relationship.
If you need help with relationship issues, Australia Counselling has relationship counsellors and marriage therapists based in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and regional areas of Australia. Visit our relationship and marriage counsellors page to search for relationship counsellors and marriage therapists in your local area.