I keep seeing this piece of advice & I know that I've talked about it before. Relationships rarely work when one or the other person involved doesn't feel like their needs are met emotionally. This key need goes way back to childhood-- believe it or not when you were sitting on the kitchen floor in a fit of crying rage as a 5 or 6 year old, calling out for mommy or daddy & they didn't come running to make it all better, whatever it was. Whatever the need was, it gets echoed as an adult when you feel like your significant other isn't hearing you, respecting you, or appreciating you & that big empty chasm of emotional need opens its yawning mouth in your chest. Sucks if that's where you are in a relationship & usually the outcome is eventually a break-up or divorce, if the couple doesn't try to get things back on track. I remember reading the book entitled The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman & talking with Xing Fu about it very early on in our relationship & we both took the quiz to find out what ours were. Here's a link to an online version: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ I think it's important to revisit stuff like that every once in a while--good to spark a discussion & a check-in to see how we're doing. If needs are met--great! A relationship can then build great intimacy, trust, and ultimately a wonderful commitment. I know that when I feel like we've connected well, my inner anxious child ( who just loves to taunt me) quiets a bit, & lessens her strangle-hold on my often inability to trust. Overall calm prevails & harmony in the household (cue little chirping birds & friendly bunnies).
I think this emotional need is especially important when you are in the middle of a blended family. There are just too many opportunities to feel unappreciated, resentful, & anxious. Maybe that's why so many "step-families" don't make it. The primary couple loses track of what they need from one another & then the children find the chinks in the armor to create discord. It may not be so intentional on the children's part (or maybe it is), but deep in the dark reaches of children of divorce, who wouldn't want mom & dad reunited? I know that both Xing Fu & I work hard at our relationship & try to stem the insurgencies, whatever they are. One of the hardest things to do is to remain a solid unit & we work on this a lot--because when it breaks down, I know that's when the trigger is pulled on my emotional needs. I feel that anxiety & resentfulness climb up my throat. And then my trust is shaken....vicious circle to be sure.
All of this is advice for an established relationship--and if you are feeling disconnected & unloved--start a discussion--not accusatory like "YOU DON'T LOVE ME!" But suggest that you want to re-kindle the spark or go look at the link to take the quiz. Sometimes this stuff seems silly, but ultimately, I don't think so--if your partner really is vested, at least they will try....
I began thinking about all of this because an acquaintance of mine just doesn't seem to get it--I've been watching her on again, off again, rather abusive relationship unfold on FB for about 8 months now. It reminds me a little bit about my ill-fated relationship with the Bull. She tends to run head-long into what she terms as "in a relationship" with guys who just never meet her emotional needs--and it's one after another--2 weeks on, then done, & then another dude. All the while she keeps claiming that all she wants is someone who will be with her at night & watch TV, etc., etc. You know--grow old with me kinda thing. These guys are just so inappropriate--but I guess they meet an initial need--the rush & flush one gets at the beginning of a relationship. And even after this dude cheats on her, borrows money & doesn't give it back, cheats on her again, buys her roses, & then disappears, she still wants him back. I really hope that she takes a real look at herself & figures out what she needs from herself first & also what she needs from a mature man as none of these guys is very mature. Then & only then will she be able to find her "grow old with me guy" I think. Yeah, some schadenfreude, but also my wish for her to eventually figure it out--everyone deserves to feel loved don'tcha think?