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Happy couple on summer holidays relaxing on jetty at sunset

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Figure Out What You Really Need

Yes, some of us desire daily love notes, weekly peonies, and the perfect surprise-birthday extravaganza attended (on time) by all of our closest friends. Well, as Mick Jagger taught us, you can’t always get what you want. Still, if you’re feeling unsatisfied in a relationship, put some serious thought into what’s truly missing. If you want more fancy date-night dinners, think: Is it about getting the impossible reservation? That’s a want. Or is it about needing to feel special and prioritized? The pettier-sounding wants are probably secondary emotions to something real.

Be Honest And Open

It’s key to communicate your needs with grace. I once dated a workaholic who never looked up from a computer during his 14-hour day, which left me feeling neglected most waking hours. Over a lovely dinner one night (a weekend, obviously), I said, “Listen, I’m totally turned on by your work ethic, but if we’re going to be in a romantic relationship, I need you to flirt with me at least once a day: Call, text, whatever floats your boat.” He did, with delight, and it ended up benefiting both of us because feeling heard made me a better partner. That said, sometimes the answer will be no, and you need to ask yourself which sacrifices you just aren’t willing to make. It’s important to listen to other people’s truths, like it or not. Maybe that means reevaluating your needs, maybe that means turning the page, or maybe that means finding satisfaction another way. And on that note…

Learn To Fulfill Your Own Needs

Self-reliance is a strong word, but it actually has soft edges. The ability to know yourself well enough to provide the pleasures, answers, and inner balance you require is a beautiful thing. Relationships, romantic and otherwise, enrich our lives in many ways, but don’t underestimate the unique power of self-support. To test how self-reliant you are, simply try it. Work through an issue all by yourself. (This is where long walks rule the world.) Be your own date to the movies. Only another person can give you that back rub, but your heart and mind are capable of taking care of so much else.