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Emotional Needs -- Not Necessarily Filled By Your Marriage Partner

Your Spouse Cannot Make You Whole -- That is Your Responsibility


Heart Puzzle

Ask About.com marriage experts Sheri and Bob Stritof a question.

Photo: Gary S. Chapman/Getty Images

So often we hear folks say that their spouse is not fulfilling their emotional needs. When we ask what needs are not being fulfilled, people mention things that are not emotional needs but what we consider to be wants and desires. You need to take responsibility for filling your own needs.


Four Basic Emotional Needs

  • The need to love and be loved.
  • The need to belong and have a sense of purpose in life.
  • The need to have a positive self image.
  • The need for autonomy, that is a need for some personal, private space and control.

Some may add the need for security to this list of emotional needs. We believe that people who love and are loved, who have a sense of belonging and can see purpose to their lives, who believe in themselves, and who have a sense of control over their own lives are secure individuals.

Meeting Your Own Emotional Needs

Expecting your spouse to fill your emotional needs is not only unfair, it is unreasonable. You should take responsibility for filling your emotional needs yourself.
"If you are looking to a partner to make you feel worthwhile, to make you feel happy, to rescue you from a bored or unhappy life, if you are seeking someone to make you feel complete or whole -- well then you have some work to do, because these are needs that are never going to be met by any one other than yourself," says Sugrue. To put those demands on someone else is to set up yourself -- and the relationship -- for failure."
Source: Dennis Sugrue, psychologist, Medicinenet.com

Geneen Roth: "If you operate on what you believe a good mother/partner/friend would do and you leave yourself — what you need, how you feel — out of the equation, your relationships will suffer. I'm here to tell you that cherishing yourself by making yourself a priority in your own life is possible. You can take care of your needs and your relationships with family and friends can thrive."
Source: Geneen Roth. "Feed Your Soul." 

Cathy Meyer: "The key to getting emotional needs met is the ability to identify your needs and figuring out how to get those needs met. If you are someone who needs to feel accepted, admired, appreciated and fulfilled only you know what you need to do in life to have those needs met."
Source: Cathy Meyer. "What Are Your Emotional Needs?"  DivorceSupport.about.com.

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