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Reviewing your needs

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kg201 posted 10/5/2013 07:50 AM

I have decided that one of the things I want to look at in my IC sessions is understanding what needs of mine weren't being met during my marriage. So much of the focus over the years was on the needs of my WW (her cancer, her anxiety, her reactions to my emotions or perceived emotions, etc), but it isn't entirely clear to me what needs of mine she wasn't meeting. So much of our old MC sessions were on what I was doing wrong, but it was hard of me to figure out what I wasn't getting from her.

Has anyone else had a hard time identifying those needs? What sorts of things did you do or questions did you ask to figure it out?

I am hoping that this exploration will help me be more assertive with my needs in future relationships.

sunsetslost posted 10/5/2013 08:08 AM

Good morning kg,

That very issue is something that became very apparent early on in counseling. For eight years my focus was on her. Her needs, wants, happiness. When we got together she was broke, stoned mad coming off a series of bad relationships. I helped her through college, bought her two cars, a house I didn't want. We traveled. All at the expense of my own personal and professional growth. In the last year when I started to stand up for myself is when she began to withdraw.

I am a simple man. The things I want an need out of a relationship are equally simple. I want kids. She said she did but never went to the doc to find out why we weren't having them. Maybe she was taking birth control behind my back. I don't know. I want financial peace. She likes shiny trinkets and going out to eat. I seek peace, she thrives in chaos.

No specific questions help me understand what I want and need out of a future spouse. Writing has helped. I like to light a candle and put pen to paper and see what comes out. It's almost like meditation for me.

Even beginning to explore what is important to you is a good step I think. Shows progress and that you are working on yourself.

kg201 posted 10/5/2013 08:30 AM

Good morning!

Sunsetslost, are you the one moving to FL? Can I come with you? The solitude you speak of sounds very appealing.

sunsetslost posted 10/5/2013 08:44 AM

Yeah I am. STBX is in the process of refinancing the house. 36. Debt free. Cash in my pocket. Condo on the bay. You are welcome anytime. There is no peace like floating on a noodle in the Gulf of Mexico.

StillLivin posted 10/5/2013 20:50 PM

Omg Sunsets, You Were Married To My Husband!!!! Maybe We Should Point The Two In Each Other's Direction And Let Them RUin Their FinAncial Security And Destroy Each Other!

Nature_Girl posted 10/5/2013 21:09 PM

No, my needs weren't met. Some were in the beginning, but as time went on... I so very much wish we hadn't married...

dmari posted 10/6/2013 01:33 AM

Has anyone else had a hard time identifying those needs? What sorts of things did you do or questions did you ask to figure it out?
Hmmm ... interesting question. I know that none of my needs were being met. I was so focused on meeting the needs of stbx and my children.

Now that I am single, I try to make an effort to do something nice for me. Usually it's buy a new nail polish, have coffee with a friend, go back to school (love it), splurge and eat out with the kids once in a while.

It's going to be a while before I even think about another relationship as I don't want my needs to be pushed aside. I need to continue to work on me, value me. Once I heal and rebuild more, then I will be able to think about future relationships. Exciting and scary!

CharlieFoxtrot posted 10/6/2013 08:37 AM

This is very inspiring... I am not sure where or when I abandoned my own needs, could be when I *needed* XH to stop dating other people, but I digress. The fact is, I did abandon my own needs throughout the past few years, and am very slowly regaining the insight and forward motion to reconcile that within me. Any future relationships will follow suit and not be overshadowed by pain and unmet needs from my former relationship, mainly because I am damn well determined to never be the author of self betrayal again.

yillk posted 10/6/2013 10:48 AM

I think I what struggle with is not so much identifying my needs, but recognizing that they are not unreasonable. I would express what I needed & STBX would make it seem like I was asking for the impossible (like financial security, bills being paid on time, follow through when he said he would do something). Like many others, I spent most of my marriage focused on his needs because he was always in some sort of emotional crisis. My main need is a chaos-free life.

dmari posted 10/6/2013 12:22 PM

yillk: "...recognizing that they are not unreasonable." GOOD ONE yillk!! Thank you! You worded what I was feeling perfectly.

sweetcrusader posted 10/6/2013 21:48 PM

"I think I what struggle with is not so much identifying my needs, but recognizing that they are not unreasonable."

That. Exactly.

I too was made to feel like I wanted something extraordinary. Apparently a husband who doesn't look at porn constantly or expect me to be onboard with his fixation with a threesome is actually normal. Who knew?

I've found that if I look at the things that made me unhappy in the marriage, things that caused tension, it helps me figure out what my needs were. There was tension because my needs weren't being met. For me, a lot of issues surround STBX's emotional availability - or lack of. He was never able to be there for me in a truly meaningful way, because he was always so focused on himself. He also had unrealistic sexual needs, which I only realized after learning about sex addiction. For all these years, I thought I just didn't enjoy sex and was avoiding it because of it. Turns out I LIKE sex, but I like it with someone with whom I have a deep emotional connection and who doesn't treat me like an object.

breakingpoint posted 10/14/2013 08:21 AM

My husband now admits that I wasn't meeting his needs but is still trying to figure out exactly what they are. I think the first step is to identify the negative feelings from the relationship and then really explore each one individually. Did you feel lonely? unappreciated? smothered? Then identify the specific instances/dynamics that let to those feelings.

If a need isn't being met, it starts off as a bad feeling. REALLY unwrapping those is a great place to start. Journalling has helped me quite a bit.

PhantomLimb posted 10/14/2013 08:57 AM

Coming at this from a slightly different angle, I think the key is going to be working on what you know gives you peace (e.g., establishing financial security), but making sure: (1) you work on the tools to really communicate what you need with your partner, (2) you are able to assess if they are not compatible or receptive to those needs, and (3) that they consistently and openly communicate their needs as well.

I say this because I was more or less content in my M, but my WS is now running around telling people that we were "fiscally incompatible" and that's why we broke up (naturally he skips the part about sleeping with his coworker). He now acts as if I was trying to bankrupt him because he took me out for a nice dinner twice in 2012 and we splurged on a vacation at the place where we got married for his birthday.

He literally told one of our mutual friends that he had the A because he had been "miserable" for a long time because I "made" him buy a couch last year.

In any event, I get that a lot of that is blameshifting and him just being a schmuck. However, I also don't discount that he had some very real, delusional, but real, ideas that he was being forced in some sense to meet my expectations that were beyond his... but it was never openly addressed in the way it should have been. By that I mean I should have refused to buy one more thing for the house until he sat down with me to make that budget I was always asking him to make with me.

Next time, I will want to make sure there is equal control and everything is on the table. Part of that has been working in IC on how to express myself. For example, rather than say "I'm worried about the budget" I'm realizing I should have said to him "When you don't clue me in on our financial situation until it's too late, it makes me feel X" and, if he wasn't receptive, I should have seen that as a huge red flag.

A little rambling, but I hope there is some sense in this...

[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 8:59 AM, October 14th (Monday)]

realitybites posted 10/14/2013 08:58 AM

My main need is a chaos-free life.


Its not that we don't have needs, we just stopped asking the WS to "see" our needs because we know how to take care of ourselves. What gets unbalanced is when we are doing WAY too much for the other person in our life and we STOP doing what we want. We know what we want, we just start catering to the other because they become so needy. And we buy into it. We think we are "helping and loving" when we do stuff for them and before you know it you are running the household, doing all the chores, taking care of the kids and you have no life.

I remember in one of my first IC's after my WS walked out and the IC asked me what I do for fun, just for me. And I thought it was an odd question. He asked would I ever book a vacation just for me, leave the kids home with my WS and I said that just wasn't me. And he said why? And I really could not answer him. Meaning if I took a vacation it would be with my family and not by myself.

I got really good at my job and really good at being a housewife and mother and wife and forgot about me. All along the way like water torture.

PhantomLimb posted 10/14/2013 09:01 AM

I remember in one of my first IC's after my WS walked out and the IC asked me what I do for fun, just for me. And I thought it was an odd question.

Heh. This happened to me last week.

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