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Needs vs Wants

Written By: Nadinna Guerrero


We all have relationships in our lives, and we all need to find ways to keep those relationships healthy and strong.


One key to having healthy relationships is identifying needs vs wants.


We may have similarities in what our needs are; however, we won’t know until we explore them.


Let’s Discuss Needs

Think about something very important to you in relationships.  This is a need.  For example, something that you cannot live without might be loyalty.  If you meet someone who is not looking for a steady relationship, then this is something to communicate early on so that you will not waste more time and energy on something that is not for you.  If you ignore this, you will be compromising your needs and regret it later.


Some other needs include affection, spending time together, communication, safety, and security, etc.


How these needs get met might not always be a perfect pattern and that is where communication comes in.  Communicate what works for you and compromise on how it can be better.  This is where relationships need work and effort to continue to grow!


Let’s Discuss Wants

We may want someone who is wealthy, or drop-dead gorgeous, however, does the partner need to be wealthy to satisfy our needs? Or does the partner need to be a certain height or weight?


 If we are looking for just outside appearance or materialistic factors, would this matter if there is no concern for our needs, such as loyalty or being treated with respect?  


Not that we can’t have any of these wants, we just need to make sure that our needs are our priority and that we do not compromise those for our wants only.


We will not be satisfied in the relationship if we only have a few needs met.  We can identify in abusive relationships that an abusive partner may meet a few needs, however, is it ok to overlook the need to treat someone with respect and care?  This should be a priority.  If we see that a partner shows dominance and jealousy, these would be signs that need to be addressed.  We need to always make sure that our need to feel safe and secure is a top priority.


What I often hear from clients is that they ignored the “red flags” or “gut feelings” because they did not make their needs a priority or they did not know what their needs were until they were already in the relationship.  If we learn early on that someone struggled with being loyal in previous relationships or someone was interested in the opposite sex or someone was not ready for a relationship, these are signs or clues to helping us understand them and whether they are going to meet our needs.


We cannot go into relationships assuming or expecting they will change for us; this is so important!


Another important point is are you willing to accept this partner as is?    Relationships will not thrive if we are not willing to accept people as they are.  And if we don’t accept them as they are, we will need to find someone that we do accept.  This will be a lot easier in the beginning rather than continuing to struggle for years and not being able to move on.


Clients will often say that it scares people away to have these discussions early on.  How about trying to have a casual conversation once you have had several meetups?  I am unsure of the exact timing, however, it’s important to find out early to save time and heartache after getting too attached and not being able to break away.


This may not be a perfect solution or predictor of healthy relationships, yet it is so vital and helpful to identify and communicate our needs to avoid getting into unhealthy relationships in the future.


Our compassionate team of therapists is here to support you on your journey to healing and growth. Don’t wait any longer to prioritize your mental health. Reach out and schedule your appointment now. Your well-being matters. (954) 769-1285

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