One of the most important areas of our lives where needs based consciousness can help is in our relationships, starting with our romantic ones.

In romantic relationships, we often try to get ALL our needs met by our partners. Obviously, this is not possible. David Richo writes that realistically we could probably expect to get 25% of our needs met by our partner, and 25% each from ourselves, our spiritual practice and our community.

One set of needs though that is pretty relationship specific, and is often the primary dance, is the one between space and connection. Some people in relationships want a lot of closeness and connection. Others want more space and autonomy. All these needs are beautiful and life serving, and no one is wrong for having them. One of the partners may have been neglected or even abandoned in childhood and hence needs a lot of connection to feel safe, while the other person may have been smothered with an inconsistent love therefore causing extreme wariness when it comes to intimacy or closeness. Both are right to have their reality around these unmet needs and both people’s needs matter. But it’s easy to see how attempts to meet both those different needs to the satisfaction of both parties might be challenging.

By being mindful of our needs, and aware of the other person’s needs as well, we step into a place where we can work on strategies that may serve both partners. In the case of closeness and space this might mean some compromise. Cultivating the recessive need may also contribute to some empathy around differing needs, as can holding other needs in our awareness, such as our need to contribute to our partner’s care and to be non-harming.

It is important to remember that although each party may have different intensity around certain needs, all core needs are universal, and therefore the other party shares those needs as well.