Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Angela Vaz

Something is missing in your relationship.

At times you feel like you’re happy but those times are few and far between.

You’re not sure what it is but you have a nagging feeling that things aren’t quite right.

These are signs that your needs aren’t being met.

I know, because this was my relationship with my ex.

I was with him for 9 and a half years.

It ended with him cheating, but of course, the relationship was broken long before that happened.

I do not blame him completely for what happened because the signs were there.

Our needs weren’t met in the relationship. And we let it become worse before it inevitably broke.

Maybe you feel unfulfilled, empty, or lost.

You find yourself constantly seeking something more but never quite finding it.

Or you feel like you’re just going through the motions of life without any real purpose or direction.

Maybe you feel stuck.

Either way, I want you to know you’re not alone.

I am writing this post to tell you that your needs matter.

You deserve to feel happy, fulfilled, and content with your life. You deserve to have your needs met.

In this post, we are going to talk about all the signs your needs aren’t being met and I am going to talk about how you can work through it and create the life you deserve.

I’m going to draw from my own experiences because I feel it will be more helpful.

Alright? Let’s begin.

But before that really quick, get my free guide on how to really reset your life.

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Am I needy or do I just have needs?

are you needy or you just have needs

There is a delicate balance when it comes to having needs and having them met.

First of all, you can’t have all your needs met by someone else.

Then this is not an equal partnership and you become completely dependent on the other person for your needs to be met.

This means you are relying on them 100% for your emotional needs.

This is not a healthy relationship.

You need to be happy on your own first before you enter a relationship with someone else.

And when you enter a relationship, it is important to understand both you and your partner are going to have needs.

This is normal.

Having needs doesn’t make you needy in any sense, it makes you human.

Needy behavior usually involves constantly seeking attention, reassurance, or validation from others in a way that becomes overwhelming or draining for them.

However, expressing our needs in a healthy and respectful way is important!

And this is what builds strong and fulfilling relationships.

Now, if you are unsure whether your behavior is needy, take some time to reflect on how you’re expressing your needs.

  • Are you constantly demanding attention or validation?
  • Are you completely intolerant of them when they’re busy or unable to provide it?
  • Or are you simply communicating your needs in a clear and respectful way and allowing them to respond as they’re able?

So, now that you’ve understood the difference between being needy and having valid needs, let’s look into signs that they’re not being met.

How do you know if your needs are not met? 13 signs your needs aren’t being met

1. You feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled

you feel unsatisfied or unfulfilled

If you are feeling a very heavy feeling of dread or sadness in your relationship then it could mean that you are just not satisfied with your relationship or feel unfulfilled.

Please don’t ignore this feeling.

It could be due to several reasons:

  • Your expectations are not matched: Maybe your expectations of this relationship don’t match the reality of the relationship. Perhaps you both have different ideas of what you want in the relationship or your partner just isn’t living up to your expectations – this can lead to feelings of disappointment.
  • Lack of emotional connection: Maybe you don’t feel understood in your relationship. You feel like your partner isn’t emotionally available to you and you feel unsupported.
  • Unresolved conflicts: Do you constantly feel like your arguments or conflicts are never really truly resolved? Maybe they end with your partner shutting down or walking away from the conversation. And this can lead to tension or resentment.
  • Lack of personal growth: Perhaps you feel like your needs and priorities have changed. And this relationship no longer serves you or is aligned with your personal goals and values.

I will talk more about this in the coming points but if you are feeling unsatisfied, then this is one of the biggest signs your needs aren’t being met.

2. You feel stressed or overwhelmed by the relationship

you feel stressed or overwhelmed

Do you have feelings of regret in your relationship?

Is your relationship causing you stress and sadness and somehow impacting your overall well-being?

This is usually caused by:

  • Communication issues: This can happen when you feel like your partner isn’t listening to you or you feel like your partner isn’t being clear with you. Over time, this can lead to misunderstandings and frustration.
  • Emotional intensity: When your partner is overly demanding or needy, you can feel like you’re constantly jumping through hoops to make them happy. This kind of emotional rollercoaster can leave you feeling very emotionally drained and heavy. You may even feel like there is no stability in your relationship.
  • Attachment style: Maybe you have an anxious attachment style and you feel stressed when your partner isn’t responding to you in the way you want them to. Or you might have an avoidant attachment style and you feel stressed when your partner is emotionally intense causing you to withdraw or shut down.
  • Lack of boundaries: Maybe you don’t have healthy boundaries in your relationship. And you constantly feel like your partner is crossing your personal boundaries and you’re always sacrificing your own needs to make them happy.

You need to take some time for yourself and truly figure out why you feel stressed and overwhelmed.

If this is something that you’re having trouble with, see a therapist. They will give you so much clarity and help you understand why you feel the way you do.

3. You feel underappreciated or undervalued by your partner

you feel underappreciated

I’ve covered this topic in detail in my blog post about signs your partner doesn’t value you.

But when you feel underappreciated or undervalued, you are going to feel intense feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, or even resentment toward your partner.

Maybe they don’t acknowledge you and they don’t notice or care when you do something. This can be very hurtful and lead to feelings of bitterness or resentment.

Or perhaps they constantly find fault with you and nitpick at your flaws. This was the case in my relationship with my ex.

Perhaps both of you don’t spend quality time with each other? Maybe you don’t engage in activities that are meaningful to you or you feel like you don’t have anything in common anymore with your partner.

You crave affection, validation, and support but you feel you’re not getting enough of it.

Regardless of the reason, it is very important to address these feelings and talk about them with your partner.

Remember to not be confrontational.

Have a very open discussion.

You can work towards a solution together that feels mutually satisfying.

And if things are not working out despite your best efforts, it’s okay to seek external help.

Talk to a therapist or a counselor to help you improve your communication in your relationship.

4. You feel disconnected from your partner

you feel disconnected from your partner

This is a very confusing feeling to navigate.

It can manifest itself in several ways.

You may feel like you’re drifting apart from your partner.

You may feel like you’re not as emotionally close as you once were.

You’ll constantly replay the good times and wonder what happened.

You’ll feel like you’re on different wavelengths.

And the reasons for this are:

  • You’ve stopped communicating like before. One of the main reasons I’ve realized that can lead to feeling disconnected from your partner is lack of communication. When you’re not talking to each other regularly or deeply, it is very easy to feel like you are not connected.
  • You’ve stopped spending quality time with each other: Sitting on the couch watching tv together is not spending quality time. Quality time means talking to each other, and being actively engaged with one another – it can be immersing yourself in a common hobby or going on a date.
  • Emotional distance: Maybe you’re not expressing your feelings to one another and you’re both struggling with your own personal issues but not discussing it with each other or failing to show up for one another.
  • Trust issues: I felt very disconnected from my partner because he’d always lie to me. Eventually, I found out that all the lies were necessary for him to cover up his cheating. But trust is important. If you’ve been hurt in the past or don’t fully trust your partner, it can be very difficult to emotionally connect with the.
  • Life transitions: Mabe you both movies or changed jobs or had a child or you experienced a deep, personal loss. Either way, these big life transitions can impact a relationship and be emotionally taxing.

Feeling disconnected from your partner is not something that will go away on its own.

Please address it and work together to solve this.

Identify the root cause of your disconnection and talk to each other about it.

If it seems too big for you to do alone, you can seek support from a therapist or counselor.

5. You feel unloved or unsupported by your partner

you feel unloved or unsupported

Feeling unloved and unsupported by your partner is a very painful and lonely experience.

Honestly, I wish it on no one.

Because I have been in a lonely relationship and I’ve been lonely when I was single.

But being lonely while in a relationship is by far one of the worst things I’ve experienced in my life.

It can leave you feeling very vulnerable, abandoned, and disconnected from the 1 person who is supposed to be your closest ally and confidante.

If you feel like your partner is distant from you or cold towards you, then you need to really think about this.

Do you feel like:

  • They are very indifferent toward you?
  • They don’t respect or value you?
  • They don’t make an effort to connect with you emotionally?
  • They don’t show you affection?

I know because I’ve gone through this.

And no, you’re not asking for much. These are basic needs in a relationship. And I get all of them met in my current relationship.

If you’re going through something like health issues or a job loss and you’re doing this all by yourself while your partner isn’t supporting you – something needs to change.

They may not be realizing the impact that has on you.

So, you have to come right out and be honest with them. Communicate how you feel with your partner and tell them what you want.

You have to prioritize your own emotional well-being and make choices that are in your best interest.

6. You’re constantly giving but never receiving

you're constantly giving but not receiving

This is a sign that you’re experiencing a one-sided or imbalanced relationship.

It may mean that your partner is not putting in the same level of effort or energy as you are.

So, some signs that you are constantly giving but not receiving are:

  • You’re the one who is constantly trying to seek out your partner and spend more time with them. If you don’t initiate, it just never happens.
  • You feel like you’re always trying to start conversations or initiate intimate acts.
  • You feel like your partner isn’t contributing or pulling their weight in terms of household chores, finances, or mutual responsibilities like your children/pets.

If you genuinely feel this way, then you need to talk to your partner about this.

And if things aren’t working out even with communication, then, please don’t be afraid to seek support or external help.

Try a counselor or therapist who will help you navigate this with more clarity.

7. You feel insignificant to your partner

you feel insignificant

This is something you really need to think about.

Feeling insignificant to your partner is a sign that you’re not getting the love, attention, and validation that you need in your relationship.

It may also indicate that your partner doesn’t recognize your worth as a person.

Here are some signs you might be feeling this way:

  • Do you feel ignored or dismissed? Maybe your partner doesn’t pay attention to you and constantly dismisses your thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
  • Do you feel like you’re always their last priority? Do you feel like everyone and everything else takes precedence in their life over you?
  • Is your partner supportive? Do you feel like your partner is never there for you when you need them the most?
  • Does your partner take an active interest in your life? Does your partner talk to you and listen to you? Do they make you feel heard? Do they engage in meaningful conversations with you?

If you feel like these are all resonating with you, then you will need to communicate how you feel with your partner.

8. You feel resentful or bitter towards your partner

you feel resentful or bitter towards your partner

Are you constantly feeling resentful or bitter toward your partner and you don’t know or can’t pinpoint why?

You need to ask yourself if you’re feeling like:

  • You’re doing all the work: Maybe you feel like you’re always making an effort to maintain the relationship but your partner isn’t.
  • Your needs are constantly being ignored – You feel like your partner doesn’t give you time or take your feelings into account when making a decision
  • You’re not being heard: Maybe your partner doesn’t really listen to you or take your concerns seriously. They don’t take an interest in understanding your perspective at all.
  • You’re not being appreciated: You feel like your efforts and contributions are not being valued in any way.
  • Your trust is broken: Maybe your partner betrayed your trust in some way by lying or cheating.

If this resonates with you, chances are you’re just not happy in your relationship.

In this case, I suggest meeting with a therapist or a counselor who can understand you and give you a better perspective.

I also implore you to start loving yourself. This will help you see things with more clarity.

When you prioritize your own needs and self-care, you start to make choices that are in alignment with your goals and values.

9. You feel like you’re settling for less

you feel like you're settling for less

No relationship is perfect.

Please understand this.

But if you are constantly thinking that you are settling for less, then this needs some attention.

It’s a sign your needs aren’t being met.

If you have doubts about whether your partner is the right match for you and that you’re not satisfied with the relationship or you’re compromising on important values and goals just to stay with your partner – this could mean that you feel you’re settling for less.

So, do you:

  • Constantly second-guess the relationship?
  • Feel like your partner is not meeting your emotional, physical, or mental needs?
  • Compromise your goals and values to make them happy.
  • Feel afraid to speak up?

If most of these resonate with you, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your own needs and desires.

10. You feel like you can’t be yourself

you feel like you can't be yourself

Feeling like you can’t be yourself with your partner is a huge sign that you don’t feel safe or comfortable expressing your:

  • Real thoughts
  • True feeling
  • Behavior

It indicates that you’re afraid of being judged, criticized, or rejected by your partner or that you feel like you have to conform to their expectations of you to feel loved.

This was me.

I could never be myself or tell him about my dreams and ambitions – everything led to an argument or was used against me in a later conversation.

When I really think about it, I feel like I fell in love with a person I expected him to be. And that’s what leads to failed relationships most of the time.

We have a picture in our mind and when we fall in love, we believe that the person will change and evolve.

But that’s rarely true.

Because what you see is what you get. This is something I learned the hard way.

So, if you feel like you can’t be yourself with your partner, please explore these feelings.

Find a way to communicate these feelings with your partner in a safe and non-judgmental way.

You can also seek support from a therapist or counselor who can help you navigate these complex emotions.

Couple’s counselors are so helpful in this regard because they not only help you understand how you feel but also develop strategies for both of you to build a more healthy and authentic relationship with each other.

11. You feel depressed most of the time

you feel depressed most of the time

I do not mean that you should blame your depression on your partner.

Our happiness is definitely dependent on us alone and blaming our partner for 100% is wrong.

But you need to ask yourself if the relationship you have with your partner is what is causing your depression.

For example, whenever my ex-partner left our home, I was fine.

I just felt freer and at peace when he was not around. Especially in the last two years, I would wait for him to leave.

I felt so claustrophobic and trapped when he was around.

Some signs of being depressed are:

  • You’re constantly sad or hopeless – You’re losing interest in activities you used to enjoy.
  • You have trouble sleeping – You find yourself lying awake a lot and you’re questioning why you’re not happy
  • You have changes in appetite: Either you eat too less or you eat too much.
  • You’re easily irritable or frustrated: Depression can cause you to snap easily.
  • You just don’t feel intimately connected to your partner or you feel unsupported in general

If most of these signs hold true, please don’t ignore them. You have to give this some thought and seriously evaluate your relationship.

12. You feel like you’re not reaching your true potential

you feel like you're not reaching your true potential

I always felt like I was holding myself back in my previous relationship.

  • I turned out a Ted talk because I just didn’t feel like going.
  • I turned down multiple conferences because I felt like I’d make my partner feel bad if I went.
  • I constantly stopped myself from working more when my ex would guilt-trip me into believing that I loved my work more than him.

But right now, I’m seriously happy in my relationship with my partner.

We help each other grow – mentally, and emotionally and even inspire each other to be more physically fit and healthy.

We both have wonderful goals and are ambitious.

We support each other and help each other out when one of us needs to work late or work more.

We both love our work and even though it’s in different fields, we make it work.

  • So you need to ask yourself, are you holding yourself back?
  • In any way, do you feel like you’re compromising on your goals or values?
  • Do you feel like you’re kinda stuck?

If so, this can be a sign that your needs for personal growth and fulfillment are not being met.

This means you both need to communicate your feelings with your partner and work together to find ways to support each other.

You could set shared goals or find new hobbies and activities to do together or give each other space to pursue individual interests.

You also have to evaluate whether the relationship is fulfilling for you. This is homework you need to do by yourself.

13. You’re constantly nitpicking other people’s relationships

you're constantly nitpicking other people's relationships

When I was unhappy in my relationship, this was by far the biggest sign that my needs weren’t being met.

This is something I really had to dig deep to understand.

Even though I tried to belittle other relationships, deep down I was actually envying them.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

I’d always look at other couples and try to force myself to feel better about mine.

I’d see other couples talking and I’d think to myself, “Maybe they’re talking about something silly. But my relationship is definitely more meaningful. We don’t have to talk about feelings because we know how we feel.”

And I’d convince myself that my relationship was better, even though it clearly wasn’t.

I’d try to find fault with others’ relationships because I was clearly unhappy with mine.

So, think about it.

  • Do you sometimes look at other people and wonder if they are truly happy?
  • Are you constantly trying to feel better about your relationship and pacify yourself that you are happy even though you aren’t?
  • Are you always trying to go out of the way to prove to others that you are happy in your relationship?
  • Do you feel angry or sad when other people express their love to their partners?

My point is, if you’re happy – you don’t really think much about it.

The fact that you are doing research to find out if your needs are being met means that on some level you are questioning whether you are indeed happy.

It could possibly mean that things aren’t okay in your relationship.

When your needs aren’t being met, you are constantly searching for something more without even knowing what exactly.

This is a sign in itself.

What to do when you feel like your needs aren’t being met?

what to do when you feel like your needs aren't being met

1. Take some time to figure out what those needs are

It’s easy to blame your partner or feel like the relationship isn’t serving you. But you need to be clear with what exactly is the issue.

So, take some time for yourself and really figure out why the relationship is falling short.

Some questions you can ask yourself are:

  • What do I really want from this relationship?
  • Why do I feel unsatisfied? What needs to change?
  • Why do I feel sad/angry/upset? What exactly is going on?

And write those down.

Or talk to a therapist.

Either way, take some time to truly figure out what you really want.

2. Communicate with your partner

Now that you know what you want and you understand why you feel this way, it’s time to get real.

Talk to your partner.

Most of the time, a lack of communication can be the main reason why people feel unsatisfied in relationships.

They may have needs that their partner doesn’t even have an idea about.

Your partner isn’t a mind-reader.

So, talk to your partner.

It’s very important to be non-confrontational and gentle when you’re doing this.

And ask them about their needs as well.

This way both of you will feel heard.

3. Find a solution together

Talking isn’t enough.

Both of you need to come up with ways you can feel more supported and loved.

Let’s say you want to feel more supported. Maybe your partner doesn’t understand how to do this.

So explain to them how they can support you more and make you feel more loved.

Revisit the conversation and help them understand the importance.

Tell them in plain words what you want from them. Be very clear and specific.

You can say things like, “I want you to support my dreams. I would really love it if you were on board and gave me some encouragement.”

4. Talk to each other more

You can actually schedule dates with your partner.

Don’t go for long periods of time without talking to one another – this will create more distance and unfulfillment.

Check in on your partner from time to time and schedule time together.

Make sure that it’s just you both and keep your phones aside when you talk.

This will help both of you feel more connected to each other.

5. Seek support

If you’ve tried everything and you feel like you’re back at square one, you can always seek support.

If months or years have gone by and things are not changing, please talk to a therapist or counselor.

A professional can help both of you identify underlying issues and see things from a clear perspective.

They can help you work on strategies to meet each other’s needs.

Here are some posts you may find helpful:

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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