I study emotional responses in relationships and write about them to help others with their well-being and improve their self-awareness.
Do you feel your relationship is lacking something? I'll discuss how to get in touch with your desires and find what's missing.
Why do we sometimes get involved with someone who doesn't quite fulfill our needs? As a result, when something is missing in a relationship, we tend to hold off with making a permanent commitment to that relationship.
We may still live, love, and laugh, but both partners may feel some emptiness. We may be so uneasy about it that we fail to communicate our needs, especially if what's missing is some strong need that we may be ignoring.
Let's begin with getting in touch with your needs.
Get in Touch With Your Needs
Some people think we are commitment-phobic. In reality, we have no problem building and holding on to long-term relationships. But they go nowhere. Something important is missing.
What's missing may be some strong need of ours that we don't realize we have. It's something we would miss not having.
It’s important to know what this strong need is or else we may remain stuck. We need to either accept not having it or recognize that we can’t live without it and stop wasting time with an unsuitable partner, especially if it's not contributing to the life we want.
If you are generally happy with things and you just have that feeling something is missing, the first thing to do is understand why that feeling is there. It may be an easy way to determine what you need to change and how to change it.
Some people are powerless; they can’t make the required changes because they never get in touch with what's wrong.
What Are Your Gut Feelings?
Give this some thought. Do you end up always feeling that something is missing, but you can't quite figure out what it is? Do you have a strong need for something so vital that you can’t imagine living without it?
That might be what's in the way, but to have a better relationship, you have to know what it is. You might keep searching for a perfect partner in vain if you don't know what your absolute necessity is. That is something you would feel deep inside—your gut feelings.
You'll never know what’s preventing your success for a healthy relationship if you don't focus on this need. You’ll end up going from partner to partner without fully involving yourself in any relationship. Does this sound like the pattern of your life?
Find What's Missing With Honest Communication
If you find someone with whom you share the same understanding, someone who you can appreciate for what he or she is, and you trust one another…then you’ll find it easier to get involved emotionally, and you’ll know it. Better yet, you’ll feel it.
Use that trust and understanding to discuss the issues you might be having. Open and honest communication will help you both work on a compromise and find solutions to relationship problems. At least it may help you both recognize the limits of the relationship and accept it or avoid throwing away years with an incompatible partner.
Read More From Pairedlife
Failure to communicate can disrupt the possibility of success with a relationship. Sometimes something is just plain misunderstood. Talking about it can clear things up.
Are You Emotionally Available?
There are two concepts of emotional availability in relationships:
- You give your full attention to the relationship.
- You know when you're in an undesirable relationship.
In the first case, you'll want to be fully emotionally involved. In the second case, you need the courage to move on—to be available when the right one comes along.
Of course, you want to work on your relationship, and therefore you need to pay attention to it. Paying attention helps the relationship grow and enables you to make a permanent commitment.
Paying attention also helps you realize if you’re in an undesirable relationship that doesn’t fit with your life plan. You become available, or free, to get out there again and hopefully find a better match.
What Kind of Relationship Do You Want?
We need to be emotionally available to commit to a permanent relationship.
If we don’t recognize when we are with someone who is not right for us, then we stay anyway for any of several reasons: For sex, for companionship, a travel partner, whatever. In this case, we are not allowing ourselves to become available for the right person.
Looking back on my experiences, I've noticed that I have had relationships where we just never discussed and shared our dreams. We enjoyed being together, but we didn't work at creating growth towards a common goal—the goal of marriage.
Why I kept finding women who were so patient, I do not know. I must have been subconsciously selecting women who were so patient that they just went along with being in a relationship without needing to discuss making a future of it.
We were fooling ourselves. We were in a relationship, but we didn’t examine any plans for the future. There was physical intimacy but no emotional intimacy.
Learning what the collective needs are and what we both want from the relationship is essential. Sharing this knowledge only works when we have open communication and emotional availability. Otherwise, there may be a lack of commitment. Or worse, both partners may indeed want something different out of life, but they are comfortable with the status quo of the existing relationship. Can a thing like that last?
Consider the Things You Might Be Overlooking
What’s missing? Is it a goal for a particular kind of relationship that you never went after? Is it a dream that you never pursued?
Many feelings can get in the way of moving forward. Some of those feelings may be fear that things will turn out differently than we want. Many times we lose sight of other things that are more important to us.
Is there something you were passionate about and planned how you were going to achieve, but then never completed the mission?
Maybe you just got comfortable with the status quo and were happy with whatever came your way in life. There’s nothing wrong with that. Happiness is a good thing.
However, if it stands in the way of something significant that you know you want, then you need to stop overlooking what's standing in your way. That’s called denial. And that is one of the most common methods of avoidance.
Make a Difference With Specific Goals
Some people find their lives turning out miserably and not at all what they had dreamed of as a child. How many people do you know who blame their misfortunes on the world? They don't own up to taking responsibility for how their life turns out. I know many people who say, “That’s just the way it is.”
The problem is that many people don’t know how to focus on a dream and make it a reality. It takes a certain amount of goal setting and communication to avoid confusion. After all, each of you may have conflicting dreams. That can make it seem that something is missing or that something is wrong.
If you want your dreams to come true, you need to understand what it is you really want. You also need to know how much you want it and why you want it. That will help you get over any reasons for avoiding the goal.
Then you need to make a plan to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. Make specific goals and write down a list of steps to follow to achieve those goals. A written list is helpful since it can be reviewed from time to time.
Goals need to be specific, so you know what you want to accomplish. You need to get in touch with your passion, so you know where to put your focus.
However, each step of the way has to be attainable, or else you’ll lose your motivation to continue. You can't just make a goal and forget about it.
Confusion Causes Feelings That Something Is Missing
Feelings of something missing can be due to being disconnected from our heart's desire. We can only become emotionally available when we understand what we think is lacking.
We need to focus on what is really important to avoid being confused. We need to know when we are wasting time in an unacceptable relationship, and we need to have the determination to end it or to fix it.
We shouldn’t give too much thought to the issues though. By overthinking about it, we find all the reasons why it's no good. Sometimes that may be important to do. But if we do it all the time, we may end up missing out on a lifetime with someone we can get along with well.
We’ll know it’s right when we accept the other person as they are, despite our fears and uncertainties. When we do realize we’re in an incredible relationship, we need to maintain the concept that this is the one, and that we want the relationship forever.
Get to Know What's Important to You in a Relationship
We often think about what’s important to us, but how many of us make good use of these thoughts and actually do something about it?
That’s where goals are essential. Goals can include changing bad habits. Discontinuing doing something detrimental to our future is just as important as starting a new venture.
Many of our less critical goals tend to become forgotten. We not only fail to keep up with it, but we even forget the commitment we made to achieving that goal.
Don’t make that mistake with relationship goals! It may be the reason why you feel something is missing.
Look where you are today. Losing sight of past achievements can cause you to lose the motivation to keep pushing for more.
If you don't do anything about making all your dreams into reality, you may eventually lose the desire, and you’ll forget about them. However, the feeling that something is missing will remain with you, haunting you. It may even affect your relationship with your significant other.
I know many people who are very successful and achieved a lot in life. However, there were other things they had wanted, and they feel a void in their personal life.
They tell me what they missed out on, and I ask what they are doing about it. They say they are too busy with other things.
At that point, I ask what is more important? The stuff they are busy with, the goal they didn’t pursue, or their relationship with that extraordinary person they are grateful to have in their life.
That’s something to think about!
© 2009 Glenn Stok