As many of us know from experience, wanting to be in a relationship in order to be "happy" or feel "whole" is one of the worst reasons to be in one. There are just some emotional needs you should never expect to be fulfilled by your relationship or a partner. Happiness, is just one of them.
Many of us go into relationships with a set of expectations we want met. For instance, a healthy relationship should make you feel connected and safe. So your sense of security, support, and love are just some emotional needs you can expect your relationship to fulfill.
But in any relationship, no matter how healthy or long-lasting it may be, it's important to understand that one person can't be everything for you. "Our partners end up playing a lot of roles in our lives, but we must strive to understand that they can't play every role at all times and this is perfectly fine," Britanny Burr, Editor at Large and Love and Relationship expert for Psych N Sex tells Bustle. "It takes a lot of energy, both mentally and physically, for them to always be there for you."
So what emotional needs should you never expect to be fulfilled by your partner? Here are eight things, according to experts.
1. Your Self-Needs
No relationship or partner can fulfill any emotional needs that must come from within. The big three you absolutely can't expect to be fulfilled are self love, self-confidence, and self-esteem, says dating and relationship coach, Rosalind Sedacca,
"Most people search from partner to partner to find someone to help them fill the void within related to these inner self-needs," Sedacca tells Bustle. "But they end up disappointed and frustrated because they have erroneous expectations that someone outside of them can give them what they need. The truth is these needs must be met from resources within us based on personal growth, awareness and the desire for a better life. Once we stop expecting others to fix or heal us we can take steps toward creating a life that works from the inside out!"
Instead of looking to your partner, try practicing self-affirmations each day. You might find yourself feeling much more confident and happier with no outside validation needed.
2. Your Source Of Motivation
Sometimes our goals don't exactly line up with those of our partners. For instance, if you want to get out more, make new friends, and just be more social, it can feel difficult and unmotivating for you if your partner isn't enthusiastic about doing the same. But it doesn't have to be.
"If we are seeking motivation and our partner isn't able to provide us with it, we need to seek it elsewhere and be aware that it's not always their responsibility to give us motivation," Burr says. Instead start a new hobby to make friends or look to new sources of inspiration to keep you motivated.
3. Your Source Of Inspiration
The same goes for feelings of inspiration. Your relationship can be a great source of inspiration if you're a writer, artist, or musician. But you can't always expect it, nor should you get upset or think there's anything wrong if it's not happening.
"If you and your partner don't share identical passions (i.e. you're interested in the arts while they're interested in the sciences), it may be difficult to draw inspiration from one another," Burr says. "Though this may not seem ideal, if all other aspects of your relationship are going wonderfully, perhaps you can simply seek inspiration in other things, other individuals, and yourself." For instance, if you want to create something but your partner doesn't inspire you, go to a conference or a communal space with like-minded individuals to find a little inspiration.
4. The Feeling Of Being "Complete"
One need that absolutely can't be fulfilled by your partner is expecting them to "complete" you. Instead, you have to recognize what you're missing, and then work towards filling that need yourself.
"Although there are romantic stories about finding your other half, we need to be complete a human being before we go into a relationship," psychologist Dr. Michelle Arnold tells Bustle. "No one else can complete us. When we show up for ourselves, we can truly show up for our partner. When we are in relationships out of desire, not need, that's where the magic happens!"
5. Fulfilling The Fantasy Life You've Always Wanted
We all have fantasies of what we want our lives to look like, whether it's our career goals or hopes for the future. But expecting it to just "happen" once you get into a relationship is super unrealistic. "Your relationship needs love, support and work to thrive," Davida Rappaport, Speaker, Spiritual Counselor and Dating Expert, tells Bustle. "If you want your partner to fulfill your fantasies, that will never happen. They can emotionally support you in your quest to fulfill your dreams. But you should be realistic."
6. To Sympathize With You Every Single Time
If you've been together for a while, it might feel like you and your partner are one person. Because of that, author and women's life coach, Claudia Vidal tells Bustle that there's an expectation that your partner should sympathize with every single one of your emotional experiences, both good and bad. However, that's a problem because you then have a tendency to make it all about you. "We either become infuriated when we received the exact opposite of what we want or we expect our partners to ease the discomfort we are feeling," she says.
While your partner should show empathy and have your back, you can't expect them to always feel the same exact way as you do, nor should you expect them to help explain your feelings or fix them. You are your own person and they are theirs.
7. A Source Of Healing From Past Baggage
Many of us enter relationships with some kind of baggage from the past, which can cause you to close up and become guarded. While the right person can make you feel more comfortable about letting your walls down, you can't expect them to do it for you. "I really believe that everything we see and experience can be a mirror for us to go deeper within ourselves to see how we might be willing to shift, heal and forgive, to open up even further," spiritual empowerment coach, Kelsey Patel tells Bustle.
You also can't expect your relationship to fully heal you from your past. While you can try to forget, it's always going to be there if you don't take the time to work it out. You partner could even help you out. "When your heart is fully open, shift perspectives, it changes everything in your emotional state," Patel says.
8. To Be Your "Everything"
It's a sweet and romantic ideal to be someone's "everything" and to have them be yours. But just think of the amount of pressure you'd be putting on your partner. It's pretty unfair to expect so much from one person. This type of love is commonly placed on a pedestal and is actually extremely unhealthy for all parties involved, says Burr.
"Of course, our partners must fill some of our needs (i.e. sexual and romantic), but we can't expect them to fill all of them," Burr says. "When it comes to our emotional needs, it's important to understand that we must seek relationships apart from our romantic partnership to fill others."
Being in a relationship can be wonderful, but it's not always easy. Sometimes expectations, like emotional needs you think should be fulfilled, can just lead to frustration and disappointment if they're not met. Remember that a healthy relationship should add to your happiness, not create it.