Recognizing When Your Relationship Isn’t Fulfilling Your Emotional Needs

(3-4 minute read)

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Emotional needs are those deep, to the core needs, that each person has. Feeding those needs is like keeping one hydrated and fed. However, when those needs go unmet, one hypothetically is dehydrated and starving. It can be difficult to successfully do even simple things when you are dehydrated or starving.

What do unmet needs look like? Here are a few basic ideas:

Lack of Communication

What kinds of communication do you and your spouse have? Do you simply talk about what’s for dinner and who’s going to get the kids ready for bed? Is it hard to bring up the important things?

Being able to communicate allows you and your spouse to express your needs and desires with each other. Good communication helps a couple work things out before getting into an argument. A lack of communication leads to misunderstandings and arguments.


Avoidance in a relationship can range from avoiding each other to avoiding conflict.

Avoiding each other is when a couple withdraws from each other and is not intentional about spending time together. Conflict avoidance is when couples avoid taking care of the important things and big conversations. They pass up opportunities for expressing their concerns or things that need to be done in their family.

When a couple is able to spend time together and express their feelings, they are naturally closer in many aspects of their relationship. Avoidance makes it difficult to show commitment and care between the couple.

Lack of Intimacy

This isn’t only in the bedroom. In general, are you and your spouse less affectionate with each other than you used to be? Do you still hold hands, kiss, cuddle, give a flirty smile, or put your arm around each other?

Affection and intimacy are great ways of reducing stress and feeling more comfortable and open with your spouse. Without it, you’ll likely feel more stress and closed off with your spouse.

Easily Frustrated

Frustration can be a mix of pain, resentment, hurt, disappointment, anger, misunderstanding or neglect. It is an unresolved negative feeling that often comes when one can’t make the changes needed or achieve what they hope to in a relationship.

When a couple can’t make the changes they need to, it hinders their relationship from becoming stronger and healthier. When a couple learns how to overcome these negative feelings, they are better able to work together and accomplish the things they want to as a couple.

Lack of Trust

Trust is when you have confidence in someone. Trust is important in a relationship because it brings openness and reliability between a couple.

When one feels they don’t get enough acceptance or care from their spouse, it may reduce their desire to trust their spouse with their thoughts, feelings, and other important aspects of their relationship. Without trust the couple will lack openness and confidence with each other.

When needs go unmet, it typically results in bad behaviors in the relationship (such as anger, anxiety, jealousy, and those listed above). With that, it is important to note that unmet needs are not an excuse for the bad behavior – instead, bad behavior is a symptom of unmet needs.

If a relationship is full of unmet needs, it is likely happening because the couple doesn’t know what each other’s needs are or how to meet them. Rather, learning how to meet each other’s needs can bring better trust, openness, intimacy, the ability to work together, and enjoying each other into the relationship.


They say it takes two to tango, each spouse has needs and feelings that will either be met or unmet. If you want to learn the “dance” of meeting emotional needs, the counselor’s at Cache Valley Counseling are specifically trained in helping couples with understanding each other’s needs, learning how those needs can be met, and setting healthy relationship patterns.