All kinds of relationships can contribute to our lives in a positive way, whether they’re child-parent relationships, friendships or sibling relationships. But something about being in a romantic relationship makes it much more desirable.
A few years ago, my boyfriend of four years had to move to another country. We decided to stay in a long distance relationship because we were just not ready to let go. Three years have passed since his move, and regardless of the hardships of the long-distance relationship, neither of us wants to end it. Although we are both displeased by the lack of physical contact, the advantages of being in a romantic relationship seem to overcome this issue. Our situation seems ridiculous to a lot of people. Why don’t you just break up and enjoy being single? You’re wasting your time with him.
Being in a romantic relationship satisfies certain psychological needs that no other relationships can fulfil. Friends and family may surround you all the time, but you may still feel like there’s something missing in your life.
The reason we feel this void is that we like to confide in our romantic partners about things we don’t feel comfortable sharing with any other person in the world. So our partners learn about what’s important to us, and are the only people who are able to use that knowledge to make us happy. And when our romantic partners go out of their way to make us happy, we feel satisfied. Here are the most important psychological needs romantic relationships can fulfill:
Romantic relationships increase our self-esteem
If you’re currently in a successful relationship, you might think your partner is an angel sent from heaven. You might think your partner is the greatest person alive. But many people may not agree with this statement.
Research has shown that we perceive our partners better than other people perceive them. In fact, even our partners don’t think they’re that amazing. But you know what? That’s not bad at all.
Having a lot of faith in our partners increases their self-esteem. When they realize how much we love them and how great we think they are, they return the favor. When they communicate with us and other people, they minimize our faults and highlight our good features. They talk to others about our positive assets, and keep our faults to themselves. As a result, we also get a boost in self-esteem.
Another way our partners increase our self-esteem is when they achieve something great.
My boyfriend recently got a great job at a business firm. I was not even a tiny bit interested in anything business-related, nor did I have anything to do with him landing the position. But I still felt proud when I heard the news and couldn’t wait to tell all of our friends. Somehow his accomplishment made us both feel great.
It literally makes us happy to see them happy. Now, isn’t that sweet?
Our romantic partners help us have a clear sense of who we are
Since romantic partners communicate with each other a lot, they know each other’s personality traits. They know the kind of person their partner is, their strengths and weaknesses, needs and interests. So it’s natural that we would want our partners to show that they understand who we are.
My boyfriend and I talk and text on the phone a lot, since that’s one of the few means of communication a long-distance relationship allows. We share our latest experiences, thoughts and feelings with each other and he knows almost everything that interests me. What’s even sweeter is that he sends me pictures, videos and poems that he knows I will appreciate. Also, whenever I need advice on something, he speaks to me in a way that he knows will be most effective. This shows that he has grasped a sense of the person I am, and he appreciates that person. And I try to understand and appreciate him as well.
By being understanding, our partners show us that we have done a good job getting across the type of person we are. Their responses help us get to know ourselves even better. When we feel like we know ourselves, we feel in control of our lives, stable and satisfied.
In fact, research has found that couples’ agreement about each other’s traits is associated with relationship well being.
Romantic partners help each other improve in life
Remember those late night conversations between you and your partner? You probably spoke about your dreams and aspirations at least one of those times. What if I told you that might have been one of the smartest things you’ve done in your relationship?
You and your partner have the power to shape each other in a positive way. That is by supporting and encouraging one another to turn both your dreams into reality.
This is called the Michelangelo Phenomenon. Imagine you and your partner as two master sculptors, like Michelangelo. Just like a sculptor can bring out a masterpiece from a piece of rock, you can also bring out your partner’s dream self. Isn’t that amazing?
You partner’s goal might be to get fit, but maybe you’re already in a good shape and don’t necessarily need to work out. However, by participating in their fitness regimen you can help them improve. As a bonus, your relationship will also become stronger and they will love you even more since you’re showing unconditional support.
We often think it is high levels of conflict that are responsible for break-ups. But researchers have found that the decreasing number of positive interactions is responsible for long-term break-ups. So it’s important to participate in activities that are important to your partner and to help them improve, for the sake of your relationship. You can literally “make them a better person”.
Being in a relationship provides us with a sense of security
During high school I had a special clique of friends. We shared secrets and would hardly let a new member in. I knew they would always have my back, even if I were going through some rough patches.
Being in a romantic relationship, we also feel like a member of a very exclusive club. We have become included in our partner’s life and that makes us feel extra special. We include our partners in our lives as well, so we expect them to be there for us when we need them.
The members of this very exclusive club then feel protected and secure since they know someone will support them, no matter what. They know that their partner does not think comforting them is a chore.
Since my partner and I are apart, we experience life in very different ways. We are growing older and wiser separate from one another, so it’s safe to say that we have both changed a lot. However, one thing has not changed; whenever I’m feeling blue I know I can count on my boyfriend to listen. I know that he’s one of the few people that cares deeply about me, and wants to help me. Sometimes he’s the only person that actually can help.
Remember that a relationship is not a one-way street. Your partner has these needs as well as you do. If any of the above needs are not being met in your relationship, you can start with yourself and work a little harder to make your self and your loved one happy.
Or you can just share this post with your sweetie.