Had you asked me when I was married if I was getting my needs met, I would have told you decidedly no. But had you asked me what needs weren’t being met, I would have had trouble voicing that. I knew my needs weren’t being met, but I couldn’t necessarily tell you what my needs were either. Then I met Stacey Martino.
Trained and certified by Tony Robbins, Stacey and Paul Martino have dedicated their lives to empowering people to transform their intimate relationships – and single people like me transform themselves to attract and keep their forever love relationship.
I can’t pretend that had I met Stacey before my divorce, my marriage wouldn’t have ended because I think we were too far gone for saving by that point. But I can say that looking back, I understand so much more about what went wrong and why. And it really all boils down to this: I wasn’t meeting his needs and he wasn’t meeting mine. The difference is now I know what my needs actually were and why he couldn’t meet them.
Stacey taught me that according to Human Needs Psychology, there are 6 fundamental human needs that must be met by your partner for your relationship to truly soar. While I was getting all of my needs met – we have to; we gravitate to whatever will meet these needs because they are so important – it wasn’t by my ex-husband. It was through work – his chief topic of complaint about our relationship. He wasn’t my number 1; work was – and for good reason – work was meeting my needs, he wasn’t. By the same token, I wasn’t his number 1 either – his mother and grandmother were. Again, they were meeting his needs, I wasn’t.
So what are these needs and how did not getting them met lead to the downfall of my 21-year relationship with my ex?
Certainty – Are you certain about your partner or do you fear he or she will leave you? – Of all of the fundamental human needs, this is one my ex was actually meeting – although maybe not for the right reasons. I knew – in fact, he told me on many occasions – that he would never leave me. He was miserable – we both were – but he couldn’t bring himself to leave me. I was the sole breadwinner and we’d been together 21 years when it was all said and done. Between our history together (I’d spent more of my life with him than without as I was 39 when we divorced) and his uncertainty about being able to support himself, I was certain he would never leave me. He was less certain about me. He knew I loved him – still do, probably always will – but neither of us were ‘in love’ with each other and hadn’t been in a long time.
Variety – Are you stuck in a rut? I’m a romantic at heart; my ex wasn’t. While we both were bored in our relationship, attempts to ‘spice things up’ usually didn’t work as we didn’t like doing the same things. So there again – we were both getting our need for variety met, just not by each other. As a teacher, no day is ever quite the same – so once again, work met my need for variety. He liked to go out and do things. I did too, but not all the time. After a long day at work, I usually wanted to put on my cozy clothes and relax, whereas he wanted to go out and paint the town. Then again, he didn’t have to get up early the next morning and I did. So variety – yes; just not with each other.
Significance – Do you feel important and special in your romantic relationship? I knew my ex loved me, but this isn’t what significance is about. Did I feel important to him? No. Did he make me feel special? No. And I didn’t make him feel that way either. By the end of our marriage he was an annoyance to me, and I a bitter reminder of what could have been to him. Were we getting this need met? Of course – but there again, I got it at work and from my friends; he got it from his mother and grandmother. Consequently, he put them first just as I put work and my friends first. Lesson learned: We prioritize those who meet our needs…
Connection/Love – Do you feel a deep soul connection with your partner? I didn’t; never really did. Didn’t even know it was possible. I thought that kind of love was fiction – it made for a great romance novel, but didn’t happen in real life. And then I started meeting couples who seemed to embody this and it made me sad because I knew in my heart it wasn’t possible for me to achieve that kind of love with my ex. There was one particular couple we met while on our last vacation together that really hit it home for me. They were so connected, so in love; we weren’t and hadn’t been for a long time. That’s when I finally admitted to myself that we weren’t going to make it.
Growth – Are you and your partner growing individually and together? This one need was perhaps the one that bothered me most. I am highly vested in personal growth. It is important to me that I continue to evolve and grow as a person. My ex didn’t get that. Why would I want to change? If it’s not broken, it doesn’t need fixed… And yes, for a while I did think I was broken and was looking for a fix through personal growth and development. But ultimately it became more about the fact that I highly valued my own personal growth and he didn’t – for himself or for me. That ended up being a deal breaker for us.
Contribution – Are you making a difference in the world? I decided to be a teacher because I wanted to change lives. My ex had no aspirations, no goals in life, no need to make a contribution. He felt he had nothing to offer. For a while I tried to change him; help him identify ways he could make a contribution. But ultimately you can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do.
Bottom line: Last week I talked to you about making a commitment to myself. One of the ways I am embodying this is by making sure I know how to be a really good partner – to myself and to a potential SoulMate – before I step into another relationship. So I enrolled in Stacey & Paul’s 8 week Relationship Quick Start program (I just finished week 4-so halfway through and learning so much!) And I’m going to their Relationship Breakthrough Retreat in July!
Until next time, make sure you’re getting your needs met in whatever way is healthiest for you. And if you are in a current romantic relationship, you might assess these needs from your partner’s perspective too. You might be surprised at what you find.