Everyone knows humans have basic physical needs that if gone unmet cause us to become unhealthy and unable to sustain life. This is why we breathe oxygen, hydrate ourselves, and go to sleep each day. As we all know, if one or all of our needs goes unmet then we become unhealthy and eventually unable to stay alive.
It's important to note, however, that we have more needs than just our physical ones. Far too often humans neglect their emotional needs in their relationships with others which can lead to rather hefty side effects. Since I am an enormous foodie, for the purposes of this article, it only makes sense for me to make comparisons between our physiological need to eat food and the emotional needs that we require from our loved ones.
When our emotional needs are not getting met we suffer what I like to call "emotional starvation." Much like physical starvation, it is a long, painful process that leaves us feeling empty and perpetually yearning.
When we are emotionally fed by our loved ones, we feel tremendously happy and thus emotionally full; however, when an emotional need goes unfulfilled in a relationship it leaves us feeling unfulfilled, unhappy, and emotionally starved. Emotional needs can differ from person to person and can range from needing to be physically held, to simply needing to bake a cake with someone (again with the food examples). Some emotional needs are small and when fulfilled can make you feel content and calm, while others are large and can make you feel so euphoric that you fall in love with the person able to fulfill them.
One might ask how to know when you are "emotionally starving" in a relationship. My answer would be that it is similar to knowing if you need to be physically fed. When your body needs food it reacts by making you feel tired, angry, and dissatisfied with the nagging feeling of emptiness. When your emotional needs are not getting met, chances are you will feel the same way. It's exhausting, infuriating, and disheartening to pour yourself into a relationship with a partner, friend, or family member that leaves you feeling emotionally vacant in return.
It's important to know what your unique emotional needs are as well as those of your loved ones so that you can assure happy and mutually fulfilling relationships with those around you. A leading cause of failed relationships both romantic and platonic is emotional starvation. Sometimes we simply aren't capable of fulfilling the emotional needs of those in our lives. It is just human nature. The ability to meet another human's emotional needs it the basis for emotional compatibility. If someone expects you to emotionally feed them in a way that you are incapable of, then it's important to be honest about that because otherwise both of you will suffer.
If you don't know what your needs are, then spend some time with yourself and do some exploring. Ask yourself "when do I feel most loved?" and then make a list. Chances are, you know yourself better than you think. Ask the same of your loved ones. There is no shame in being honest about your emotional needs. The more open you are about what makes you feel the most emotionally full, then the less likely you are to become emotionally starved.