How To Deal When Someone Isn't Meeting Your Needs

There's nothing wrong with having needs and wanting to see them met. Whether your needs are emotional, physical, or mental, everyone deserves to be with a partner who understands their needs and works to meet them when appropriate. Of course, this goes both ways: expecting your partner to do all the work for you while giving nothing in return isn't fair, nor is it sustainable.

But if you feel as though you're the partner doing all the work and getting very little in return, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship.

This might sound scary, but know that it doesn't mean you need to completely remove that person from your life. Rather, think of it as an opportunity to dig into why your partner isn't making you feel the way you'd like, to approach things from a different perspective, to figure out whether there's a deeper issue at play.

And while there are myriad reasons a relationship might not be working or is feeling unbalanced, one thing to consider is state of mind.

In Ayurveda, there are three qualities of energy known as gunas that exist together: sattva (purity), rajas (activity, passion change), and tamas (darkness, inertia). Just like the doshas, these gunas co-exist, but one quality often dominates the others. In all people, one of the three gunas has superior strength and is reflected in their actions and thoughts.

Since it's actually quite rare for someone to really and truly not care about the needs of others, it might be time to consider that your partner is at a level of consciousness that doesn't allow them to be dependable. Most likely, they're stuck in the murkiness of a tamasic state of mind, meaning there's a deep-rooted psychological blockage.

Some signs of a tamasic state of mind? Energy and emotions are stagnant, repressed, and denied. The inability to connect emotionally is either accepted as normal or ignored rather than acknowledging there might be a problem and working to address it. They prefer not to deal with their problems, which makes a tamas-heavy relationship a difficult one.

It's important to remember, though, that this state of mind most likely isn't a reflection of you — if, in addition to not being able to meet your needs, your partner also cannot meet their own needs, that's a sign of something deeper.

So what should you do?

While it's easy to get frustrated, angry, and take it out on your partner, that kind of reaction won't promote a positive change.

Then what?

Have compassion.

Yes, compassion. Though it might seem strange or lopsided to have compassion for the person who isn't compassionate about the things you need, it's crucial to remember that the likely reason they can't show up for you is because they don't know how to show up for themselves. When you can remember this, it's much easier to break through the anger you may experience and feel empowered to move forward.

And while you're at it, have compassion for yourself too. It takes time and practice, and some days you'll be better at gauging your needs, your partner's ability to meet them, and meeting your needs in alternative ways; some days you won’t. And that's all right.

Moving forward is an important next step, but it's much easier said than done. (Hey, even love is a discipline!) And an important part of moving forward is to figure out if you're truly okay with fulfilling some of your own needs while you work alongside your partner to "unblock" whatever is keeping him or her from being present, and also realizing that you don't need to rely on only this one person to meet your needs.

No one person is going to satisfy every single one of your needs, so we all need to manage our own emotional need library, mixing and matching the people and situations who can attend to each of them. Remember that this is a process that's constantly in flux: the things we need to feel fulfilled change, and so we'll need to change with them. It's cyclical, and the sooner you accept that, the less resentment and pain you'll have as you cycle through the natural phases of relationships.

It's all a function of how plugged in to yourself you are. For so many of us, finding alternative ways to have our needs met actually begins with making time to be aware of what it is you desire. Then we can effectively communicate what we're looking for and attract the things and people who will meet them with greater ease.

We can all deal with or suppress the consequences of not have our needs met for a while, but after a while, it's all going to boil over. If we can learn to shift the way we approach our needs, taking the entire burden off one person and instead redistributing it more evenly, all of our relationships — not just our romantic ones — will benefit.

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