Emotional Needs to Consider in Relationships

Emotional Needs to Consider in Relationships

The need for love, affection, and connection is one of the most basic human emotions. Without it there would be no happiness or fulfillment.

However, when these feelings are not met with appropriate emotional support from others, they can become problematic and even harmful. When relationships fail due to lack of communication between partners or because of a lack of mutual understanding, problems arise which may lead to divorce or break up altogether.

There are many different types of emotional needs. They range from those which are strictly physical (food, water, shelter) to those which relate to other aspects of life such as self-esteem and personal growth (self-confidence).

Some emotional needs are very specific while others may be broader in scope. For example, some people feel a strong sense of belongingness within their family and community; however, they may have a stronger desire for independence than others do. These two desires may be expressed differently depending upon the individual’s personality type.

When it comes to emotional needs, each person develops them in a unique way. While some people develop their own particular set of emotional needs during childhood, others learn through experience how to meet certain emotional needs in various situations.

People vary greatly in their ability to meet certain kinds of emotional needs. For example, some may be very good at meeting certain emotional needs, but entirely unable to meet others.

Emotional Needs Questionnaire

If you want to know which are your most important emotional needs and those that you struggle to get met, you can assess yourself using the following questionnaire:

What are my three greatest emotional needs?

What stops me from getting my emotional needs met?

How do I feel when my important emotional needs are not met?

What do I do to cope when my important emotional needs are not met?

How can I go about meeting my important emotional needs in the future?

The answers to these questions may prove to be fruitful when it comes to assessing your own personal emotional needs.

What Are My Three Greatest Emotional Needs?

The first thing you should do is identify what your three greatest emotional needs are. The following list contains a few sample emotional needs. You may find that some of these fit your circumstances better than others:

Acceptance: The need to be liked or admired by others.

Affection: The need to experience tender physical contact (e.g.

Hugs) with others.

Appreciation: The need to experience recognition of one’s worth or value.

Authenticity: The need to express oneself without reservation or restraint.

Confidence: The need to experience a sense of personal capability or mastery over one’s life.

Contribution: The need to give or lend things to others.

Creativity: The need to express oneself freely in an artistic manner.

Discipline: The need to organize or impose a system of order upon one’s life or the lives of others.

Encouragement: The need to experience support, understanding and guidance from others.

Fairness: The need to experience treatment that is in accord with certain rules of conduct.

Forgiveness: The need to be pardoned for wrongs that one has committed against others.

Fun: The need to experience joy, delight or amusement.

Harmony: The need to experience a state of concord or harmony between oneself and others.

Help: The need to ask for, or otherwise receive, assistance from others.

Imagination: The need to experience something that is not necessarily real (e.g.


Independence: The need to act on one’s own without being told what to do by others.

Knowledge: The need to gain knowledge by acquiring ideas, facts, or information.

Leadership: The need to direct or advise others in a particular direction.

Love: The need to have a close relationship with another person.

Praise: The need to experience a verbal or written expression of a favorable assessment of one’s character or actions.

Respect: The need to experience a formal acknowledgement of one’s dignity or worth as a human being.

Safety: The need to experience a secure state of existence, both physical and emotional.

Security: The need to know one’s needs will be met.

Significance: The need to feel important, special or worthy of attention.

Understanding: The need to experience another person listening to you and attempting to comprehend your point of view.

Validation: The need to experience an affirmation of the correctness of one’s beliefs or opinions.

Vengeance: The need to experience getting back at someone who has wronged you.

When you have identified your three greatest emotional needs, then the next step involves contemplating how effectively your parents met those needs. It is normal, and even beneficial, to experience a range of emotions when you think about this.

You may experience sadness, grief, fear, anger and even disgust during this process. It is important to acknowledge, accept and give words to these emotions in order to heal from them. This is your chance to address your anger with your parents on a deeper level than you ever have before.

Do not be afraid to get upset or cry.

Sources & references used in this article:

Emotion and attribution of intentionality in leader–member relationships by MT Dasborough, NM Ashkanasy – The Leadership Quarterly, 2002 – Elsevier

The relationships between perfectionism, standards for academic achievement, and emotional distress in postsecondary students. by N Arthur, L Hayward – Journal of College Student Development, 1997 – psycnet.apa.org

Emotional regulation, self-control, and psychopathology: The role of relationships in early childhood by MT Greenberg, CA Kusché… – Rochester symposium on …, 1991 – books.google.com

Orphanage caregivers’ perceptions of children’s emotional needs by JE Bettmann, JM Mortensen, KO Akuoko – Children and Youth Services …, 2015 – Elsevier

Predicting the onset of emotional recovery following nonmarital relationship dissolution: Survival analyses of sadness and anger by DA Sbarra – Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2006 – journals.sagepub.com

A review of sex differences in peer relationship processes: potential trade-offs for the emotional and behavioral development of girls and boys. by AJ Rose, KD Rudolph – Psychological bulletin, 2006 – psycnet.apa.org