It is helpful to have desires from your partner in the relationship. These wants help you focus on growth as a couple, and give you more ways to feel completed within the relationship.
But focusing on these wants and needs can also cause relationship challenges, especially if you allow those desires to change the perception of the how the relationship stands currently.
Are Your Needs Affecting the Perception of Your Partner?
For some couples, the perception of what we want from their partner changes (for the worse) how we evaluate your partner in the present. An example might be wanting a partner that is better at making decisions. If we want that from our partner, we may assess our current relationship based on that desire: “Our relationship is not great yet because my partner doesn’t make good decisions.”
When you find yourself focusing on what you want out of a relationship and what we want to see in them (rather than who they really are), it may cause problems such as:
- Reminding us of someone that we know.
- Causing them to fall into the category of someone we don’t want to affiliate with.
- Deciding our happiness based on whether they fill a need we have.
It’s also possible that the opposite holds true – that the partner fills a need, so we see them in a positive light, but we do not evaluate the actual status of the relationship because we associate them with someone else, not who they really are.
One of the things we do in therapy is try to see if the issue lies in this misevaluation based on needs and wants. Sometimes, we see people that literally have a list of things that they want from a partner, and then they are either in a relationship because the person meets those needs, or they are not in a relationship because someone else did not.
Then they find that they are either frequently surprised to find out they’re unhappy in a relationship where someone meets their needs, or they’re unhappy because they ended a good relationship because someone did not meet their needs. Either way, the individual loses.
Developing a better understanding of this habit, and trying to learn to evaluate each and every relationship by how we feel currently, allows us to feel better about our relationships, make better choices, and ultimately find yourself in a happier space.