List Of 10 Basic Emotional Needs In A Relationship & Their Importance

Last Update on August 4, 2022 : Published on July 9, 2021
Emotional Needs In A Relationship

You must be wondering what are emotional needs? I mean, we all know the basic needs like water, air, shelter, and food but are they similar to emotional needs? Having basic needs means survival but what does meeting emotional needs mean?

Sure, we need basic needs to survive but we need emotional support and nourishment to live. Needs like affection, companionship, privacy, space, etc. are not tangible but they are as important as basic needs.

When we talk about sustainable and healthy relationships, our emotional needs, the bonds, and the companionship – they all can make a difference.

But What Are Emotional Needs?

Emotional needs – whether in a relationship or not – are feelings or emotions we need to feel at peace, happy, and content. Without meeting our emotional needs, we feel frustrated, unhappy, and dissatisfied. Emotional needs examples can be feeling appreciated, feeling safe, feeling a sense of belonging, etc.

Humans thrive on emotional and social support. We seek emotional sustenance as much as we seek physical sustenance.

We all have emotional needs that we need meeting and each of us has a different set of needs. Here, our emotional needs may depend on our childhood experiences, our personalities, our identity, and other factors that make up our individuality.

Below are 10 basic emotional needs in a relationship that – when met – can result in a happy, and healthy relationship.

List of 10 Emotional Needs In a Relationship

1. Affection

One of the basic emotional needs is affection. Affection comes in different ways, some of them may include:

  • Physical intimacy
  • Loving gestures
  • Affectionate words
  • Acts of kindness
  • Showing gratitude

Affection is needed to strengthen the bond. Each person has a different way of showing affection depending on their personality, previous experiences, etc. If your partner is not able to meet this emotional need, talk with them. You won’t know what’s holding them back if you don’t ask.

2. Acceptance

We all need a partner who accepts us as we are. This need for acceptance can create a sense of belonging that we all need to thrive. Acceptance not only means accepting only you, it means accepting every aspect of yourself along with family and friends and vice-versa.

Acceptance in a relationship can look like this:

  • Introducing you to their friends and family
  • Planning and doing activities together
  • Sharing goals for the future
  • Asking for advice and support

Remember, not all people open up at the beginning of a relationship. Some people may have reasons for not introducing you to the different aspects of their life. To meet this emotional need, you can try taking the first step if they are hesitant.

Also Read: The Power of Self Acceptance : Ways To Accept Yourself

Introduce them to your family and friends, communicate with them on how you’d like to include them in your life, and vice-versa.

3. Security

Security and feeling safe are some of the basic emotional support that we need to meet. A healthy and happy relationship equals safety – emotionally and physically.

There are many ways security can look like in a relationship:

  • Respecting each other’s boundaries
  • Feeling safe to share emotions
  • Feeling physically secure with your partner
  • Knowing that your partner supports you

Setting boundaries can enhance your sense of safety and security. This way you know what you need and your partner knows that there are some lines they cannot cross with you. Even if your partner is not physically or verbally abusive, that doesn’t mean that they are not being emotionally abusive.

4. Autonomy

When our relationship grows, we grow with them. Partners, often, begin sharing interests, hobbies, and other activities. And while it may be important to share and grow into a unit, it is important to maintain a sense of self.

Don’t forget, you’re a separate individual with a different personality, goals, hobbies, friends, etc. Having autonomy is an important emotional need that should not be ignored. If you feel you’re losing your sense of self and identity, take a step back.

Spending time with your partner is important to get to know them but so is maintaining your sense of self. If you have a different interest than your partner, follow them. Don’t lose yourself or rather your identity in the name of your relationship.

5. Validation

We all need to be heard and while it’s not possible to avoid conflicts, it’s important to know that your concerns are heard and validated.

Your partner may fail to see your viewpoint; this can make you feel unheard or misunderstood. If they disregard your feelings, it can result in you feeling disrespected and hurt.

Also Read: Time to Take the Thought Pill of Self-validation | Be Your Own Support

If your feelings and concerns are not validated, sit down with your partner and have a conversation. Let them know that this emotional need of yours is not met. If your concerns are left invalidated and dismissed, it can turn into resentment.

6. Trust

Trust and security are two emotional needs that are closely linked with each other. I mean, if you don’t trust your partner, how will you feel safe in their company?

Trust doesn’t come automatically. It develops with time, patience, and lots of effort but it can be broken in a heartbeat. Once you lose trust in someone, it’s hard to rebuild it. Meeting this emotional need is one of the most important aspects of any relationship.

If you feel that you’re losing trust in your partner, talk to them. Communicate. Make sure your partner understands that lying, cheating, or other such deal-breakers will not be tolerated. Don’t feel guilt over letting your partner know about the deal-breakers.

7. Emotional Connection

Emotional connection is as important as a physical and social connection when it comes to sustainable relationships. Feeling lonely in a relationship is possible even if you’re together all the time – more when one or both partners are emotionally unavailable.

Even if you have been living together for years, without an emotional connection a relationship can fail. If this emotional need is not met, no worries.

Here are some simple ways you can reconnect with your partner:

  • Ask them about a different aspect of their life (ones you’ve never explored before)
  • Engage in an activity together
  • Change your routine and go on a trip together
  • Share childhood stories with each other

8. Social Connection

Humans are social creatures and we have an innate desire to feel a connection to something bigger than ourselves. Social wellness is one of the most overlooked aspects of overall health and wellness.

Feeling connected to others in a social setting can make us feel appreciated, connected, accepted, and give us a sense of belonging.

Apart from feeling emotionally connected to your partner, you need a connection to a community to feel completely happy. Meeting this emotional need is not difficult though. You can try spending quality time with your friends, volunteering, and doing random acts of kindness towards your community.

10. Space Or Privacy

For mental and emotional wellness, all of us need space to regroup from time to time. Enough privacy to be left alone with our thoughts so we can self-reflect and learn. Connecting with your partner is important but so is having some space.

Privacy and space in a relationship mean both partners have the autonomy to be free and do what they like, individually. Emotional privacy is also important, not just physical privacy. If you need emotional space so you can self-reflect, talk to your partner and ask for the space you need.

If this emotional need is not met, it can result in you snapping at your partner and vice-versa. To meet this emotional need, you can take a few minutes out every day to yourself or create your space at home – whether it’s a separate room or a small nook.

11. Empathy

Empathy means understanding how your partner is feeling. Empathy is important in relationships – especially in romantic relationships since this emotional need can help strengthen bonds and understand each other on a deeper level.

For example: If your partner forgets about your anniversary, you might feel disappointed at first but after you consider their side, you’ll see that their emotional energy is spent working on a big project for work.

After considering this, you understand how they forgot the anniversary and you know it wasn’t intentional.

This is what empathy means in a relationship. Understanding each other’s situation and feelings. Showing compassion and understanding can strengthen your relationship and bring you closer to each other. However, if you continue to brood over a small situation, then it can lead to an argument.

Emotional Needs And Their Importance

Understanding our emotional needs can help us navigate through life’s many challenges. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction can get worse if our basic emotional needs are not met – excluding other factors such as stress, genetics, etc.

Meeting our emotional needs is as important as meeting our basic physical and psychological needs. If you feel off-balanced in your relationship or life – instead of saying “What’s wrong with me?” as yourself;

Which emotional needs in my life are not being met?”

Once your emotional needs are met, you’ll experience the balance restored and your health get better. We don’t realize but compassion, empathy, affection, connection, acceptance, etc are important to make us feel alive and complete.

I hope the above list of emotional needs helped you understand their importance in our lives. Follow us on social media to stay updated on our content.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.


  1. Pam Breeding
    Pam Breeding

    Great advice and the idea of these emotional support and needs is what I need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

As Seen On