When it comes to love, there are many contributions as to what attracts you to one person over someone else. Partially these choices are made on a conscious level, a set of criteria that is more concrete such as wanting to be with someone with a certain level of education or religious background. These are conscious selections and essentially dating preferences that are of importance to you. However, even more of your love life is determined on a subconscious level in which it is not something you can really control unless you really examine your childhood and your past including past relationships. This leads me to the concept of “psychology of unmet needs.” I would describe this term as a psychological need(s) that holds value to you but has never been obtained before or it was and might have been taken away at some point of your life which has lead to you longing to fulfill it again in some way.
The psychology of unmet needs can overlap into many areas of your life but it can especially relate to your dating life and would explain why you gravitate towards a certain person or fall into a pattern of being attracted to the same types of people in your lifetime. I will provide a few examples to further illustrate this.
– Examining a Person’s Childhood – No one comes from a perfect childhood so if you really examine it, you can discover a person’s unmet needs and as a result, knowing this will help you better understand what they are looking for within a relationship to compensate or make up for what was missing.
Example #1: If a girl grew up in a household that was very unstable and included some financial insecurities, chances are she will either become very motivated to become rich or she will desperately be seeking a partner who will be an exceptionally good provider and have a career that will ensure financial wealth. Typically, anyone who suffers from a lack of resources (basic necessities such as food or shelter) or has severe money problems (incapability to pay bills on time or keeping a steady job) will naturally be drawn to someone who has established wealth or is on the path of becoming very rich to compensate for this lack of financial stability. Many people like to stereotype all women as “gold diggers” but the truth of the matter is, if a woman grew up with resources where all her basic needs were met and/or she has her own successful career without ever facing any real money problems, she is not going to be as likely to be looking for a man to provide for her because it was never an unmet need of hers to begin with.
Example #2: Let’s say a boy grew up not feeling very good about himself and suffered from confidence issues due his perceived physical unattractiveness, his inability to receive validation from women, and neglect from his own parents. This is a pretty lengthy list of psychological unmet needs but by knowing all this, it makes it rather clear what he will most likely be seeking when he is looking for a potential mate. For starters, this is definitely the type of guy who is most inclined to be in search of a “trophy wife.” Due to his perceived physical unattractiveness (I say “perceived” because physical attractiveness is heavily influenced by one’s own perception of it), he will most likely develop a stronger need to find a woman that is very physically attractive and perhaps one who attracts a lot of attention from the outside world (remember–he never received enough attention growing up). This would further explain why he is more attracted to a “flashy” woman as opposed to a girl-next-door type because if he is associated with a girl who provokes much attention, then as a result, he will gain more attention and validation simply by dating her. He will also be most attracted to a woman who exudes a ton of confidence because he never felt confident in his youth. By being with a confident woman, he can ultimately elevate his own confidence level and this will make him feel even better about himself.
– Talking About Past Relationships – It is healthy and normal to discuss reasons why a past relationship did not work out and you can usually find out the answer by directly asking someone. However, not everyone is as open about their past while others tend to hold things very close to their heart without disclosing too much of that information. In other words, the person can just be more private in nature or simply not want to talk about it openly in the event it was too painful or negative of an experience. If the direct approach does not work, then there is still an indirect way of still getting a sense as to why a past relationship did not work out.
Instead of straight up asking someone why their last relationship ended, by asking the person what qualities they are looking for when in a relationship, pay close attention to the given response because I guarantee you, some of the things mentioned as a necessity stems from a psychological unmet need from one of their past relationships. By reading between the lines, you can easily figure out what was missing from their last relationship just by asking what they are currently looking for.
Example #1: A guy has been dating a girl for a few weeks and the subject of past relationships comes up in conversation. He asks why her last relationship did not work out (direct approach). He finds out that her last boyfriend was not only selfish but that it was very much a one sided relationship. He never wanted to do the activities she wanted, he did not go out of his way to do things to make her happy, and everything had to be done his way without any compromises. The psychological unmet need was a healthy balance and equality within a relationship along with someone who possesses a caring disposition. In the future, this girl will most likely gravitate towards someone who will nurture and pamper her to make up for all the times she was not taken care of by her ex-boyfriend. This is very helpful information for the current guy as he does not want to make the same mistakes and will take the extra time to cater to her needs so that he can continue to date the girl and it will hopefully progress into a successful long term relationship.
Example #2: Often times during a first date, no one typically broaches the subject of past relationships as that is not always a pleasant topic and the initial conversations are usually more casual. Towards the end of a date, a girl asks what qualities are most important in a relationship (indirect approach). The guy’s response is heavily focused on the theme of trust and how he values that more than anything in a relationship. He begins his response by stating, “That is an easy answer: Trust. For me, if I can’t be with a girl I trust and I have to worry about what she is doing when she’s not around or she lies about both petty things and even more serious things, it just isn’t worth it in the long run. I do not believe anyone should have to go through a relationship having to question things all the time.” Translation: I have had a dating history where I could not trust a woman (and/or women) in my past because I had been lied to on multiple occasions and I often was left to wonder about a woman’s whereabouts or who she was with whenever we were apart. Think about it, it goes without saying that there needs to be trust in a healthy relationship between two people. If this guy is flat out explaining specific examples as to why “no one should have to go through this,” chances are because he personally has had to put up with this and he does not want to anymore moving forward. He does not specify cheating at all but it is possible he was also cheated on previously because often times people who were cheated on in their past have a stronger need for trust in their future relationships. Therefore, the psychological unmet need was trust and since it was unfilled, there is a much higher need for it versus someone who never experienced trust issues with someone in their past.
Taking the time to truly understand a person’s psychological unmet needs when pursuing a relationship is extremely beneficial in not only understanding the person better and creating a strong bond to each other but also as a way of gauging whether or not you are a good match for the future.