Learning How To Ask For Your Needs To Be Met

Episode #622

Are you getting your needs met within your marriage?

Do you communicate those needs to your wife clearly? 

Although it’s important to communicate your needs to your wife, it’s also crucial you fulfill your own needs by doing what makes you happy. If you don’t you might feel disconnected from your wife if you’re being needy.

In this episode, Tim talks about how to know if you’re being needy in the relationship and what you can do to communicate your needs with your partner.

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Tim: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the TPM show. I’m your host, Tim Matthews. And I wish I could say with my co-host, Mr. Dougie Fresh, however, Mr. Dougie Fresh is not with me today. So, if he is your favorite, then I apologize. You may just have to persevere with me for now. So, I hope you guys are having a fantastic start to your day, or enjoying your day wherever you are listening to this. What I want to talk to you about today is learning how to get your needs met. In particular, it’s within your relationship with your wife, or your partner.

It’s a constant conversation that I find myself in with the men in the movement. And also, it’s one that I find myself in with myself as well. Quite frankly, because I think as guys, especially as business owners, men who are used to solving their own problems, men who are used to being able to take control of things, and like I just said, solve problems. It can be a tricky one, understanding and learning how to get your needs met. Because I think, in my experience, both personally and professionally working with 1000s of men by this point, there’s a narrative that exists within a lot of our heads, that having needs is needy. Having needs is a weakness. I should be able to figure this out rather on my own.

Maybe you relate, maybe you don’t. If you don’t, then I’m envious, because this is something that I’ve had to learn to navigate over the past few years, and it’s something I’m always learning to improve on. And there’s always that trepidation, when we realize that some of our needs are not being met. And look, there was a long time when I didn’t even realize that a lot of my needs weren’t being met. And the way that that then showed up in my relationship was, typically I would withdraw and then erupt. And what I mean by that is, I’d find myself doing things that would withdraw my presence, my physical and emotional presence in the relationship, almost like a little bit of a teenager, quite frankly.

But I’m gonna give myself a little bit of grace here, because if I knew then what I know now, I would have behaved differently. Reality is, when I was in that mode of being a bit like a teenager, I would either pull away and throw myself into work more, I would find excuses and reasons to work later, or to work on a weekend. I would often then tell myself stories that would build up a hell of a lot of resentment between me and Amelia. She doesn’t get how hard I work. She doesn’t appreciate how hard I work. She doesn’t get that I’m doing this for us – you know, all the typical stories, I’m sure you can relate. And I know the men in the movement relate to this.

And over time, other dysfunctional habits would then creep in. I’d then start drinking more than usual. I would just become more irritable as well, and less pleasurable to be around. And I also stopped doing things for myself as well. Because typically, back then, when I didn’t even realize that some of my needs weren’t being met by Amelia, I also didn’t realize what my needs were that I could meet. I didn’t even realize what needs of my own I wasn’t meeting for myself, and I could meet. And whenever we don’t have our needs met in a relationship, we become needy. It’s just the reality.

Now, the flip side of this is, having needs is completely healthy, completely normal and completely natural. Quite alarmingly, if you try and pretend like you don’t have needs, be it independently or interdependently, outside of a relationship or in a relationship, then that would be quite worrying. Because, from a primal sense you essentially cast yourself out from the pack. You would experience a ton of loneliness if you didn’t admit to yourself that you desire companionship.Iit reminds me of a TED Talk that a professor once gave. This will always stand out to me, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about it before on the podcast. And essentially what this professor was talking about was, what are the keys to happiness? He dived into three things: money, marriage and kids.

And what he found, in short, was that typically anywhere up to about 75k a year take-home, there were proportionate increases in happiness to the increases in income. Anything above that level, the amount of effort you had to put in to earn more money wasn’t proportionate to the amount of happiness you got out of it. So the conclusion there was, you know, 75k-ish take-home. Marriage was another one, and what came out of it was, whether it’s marriage or a long-term relationship doesn’t really matter, but one of the keys to happiness actually is companionship. It’s the ability to create and share memories and moments with people you care about. Because then, when you share them, it’s amplified, and you can reminisce, and it gives you something to bond over. Equally, you can share problems as well, right? There’s a famous saying, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. That’s why surrounding yourself with key people around you, be it men, a partner, whoever it may be, people you respect, who you admire, who you look up to, is key, if you want to make things easier and more fulfilling for yourself.

So, point being is, you know, recognizing that you have needs, and in particular you have needs within your relationship, is a huge piece of learning how to communicate so you can get your needs met. You have to overcome that narrative that wanting some kind of connection- doesn’t just have to be sex, right? It could be a hug from your partner when you walk in through the door. It could be her asking you how your day was, right? Yes, granted, men typically feel more connected with their partner through physical acts of intimacy, touch, sex, whatever it may be, right? At the same time, we all want to feel respected, admired and desired by the woman that we are in a relationship with. And that doesn’t always show up in the form of physical intimacy.

So, overcoming that narrative that having a need is a weakness is one of the key things you’ve got to do. Overcoming and letting go of the story that you’re less than for having these, and that you’re not a failure for not being able to figure this out on your own. So many men struggle in silence, like I used to do, throwing themselves into work, or drinking a little bit more, or whatever it may be to try and fill that void. Because they tell themselves they should be able to figure it out on their own. It just never works. That’s where it resentment kicks in, and distance comes between you and your partner.

And the reason why this came to mind this week, and I wanted to share this with you guys, is because there’s been a lot of conversation around getting needs met within the men in the IC over the past few weeks. A lot of them referenced the masterclass that actually led the guys through this time last year. In fact, the beauty is that you can go back and continue to recycle and revisit the information. But more importantly, I actually had to have a minor surgery this week. I think I had it on Tuesday, and today is Sunday. So, this will be the sixth day I’ve not been able to do the things for me, either in or out of the relationship, that allow my needs to get met. And like I said, part of my pattern in the past has been to withdraw, and then I will erupt. I may come out in the wrong way, I may say the wrong thing or in the wrong tonality or whatever, at the wrong time as well. When that used to happen, Amelia used to think that I’d been lying to her, because for weeks I was essentially talking with her, or doing things with her, whatever it may be, and beneath the surface there was this simmering volcano that was ready to erupt. So, for her, that that then reduces the emotional safety that she experiences, because she wants to understand that she can trust what she sees from me is what she actually gets, and I’ve actually been honest with her right, and I actually have the courage to speak up when something is off.

So, this week when I had the minor surgery, that meant that we had to sleep in separate beds. So, for the past six days we’ve been in separate beds. We’ve had to keep a little bit distance because I’ve been quite sore, so I’ve not wanted her to really come near me a great deal. I then have been struggling to get up and do my routines. For those of you that are brand new to the podcast, we give the men something called ARS. It’s a form of a morning routine. And it is influential in getting the men into movement, ARS. Alpha is an acronym for attune, learn, prepare, honor, accelerate. There’s different things that dive into that.

So I’ve struggled with my ARS, I’ve been in a separate bed, I’ve kept Amelia at bay, I felt foggy headed, I felt groggy, I’ve not been able to work out. So, a lot of the things I usually do to meet my own needs, I’ve not been able to do them, or it’s been very, very difficult for me to do them. And what that has led to this week is, today, which is Sunday, it started about yesterday, but definitely today I could feel it bubbling- it’s that old trigger coming up for me. That trigger is that feeling of being disconnected from Amelia, my mood being lower. And in the past, what would have happened is, I would have been looking to her to give me something I wasn’t giving myself, and that would have then come out in some form of argument. But luckily, I was able to catch it. I’ve gotten better at catching it. So I was able to catch it today and share with her what was going on for me. And I’ll share with you in a minute how you can go ahead and do that.

Now, I’m going to walk through some of the needs that we have in relationships. So you may or may not be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. So essentially, the hierarchy of needs is if you imagine a pyramid. I’m just going to bring it up here on Google, those of you watching it on YouTube will be able to have a look at this chart that I’m bringing up. If you were to imagine a pyramid, you guys listening. So previously, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs were understood to be something that we essentially transcend through, we elevate through. So, the base of the pyramid, as you can see here on YouTube, is physiological needs. So that is the need for air, water, food, shelter, so on and so forth. Now, in theory, once we have had our physiological needs met, we are then able to transcend and start to focus on our safety needs. So, personal security, employment, resources, health, all that kind of stuff, shelter. Then, once we’ve got that second layer, we can then move to the love and belonging needs: friendship, intimacy, family, sense of connection. Once they’ve been achieved, we can move to the esteem needs: respect, self esteem, status, recognition, strength and freedom. And then, once they have been met, the top of the pyramid, the fifth level of the pyramid, is the self actualization needs. So, the desire to become the most one can be.

Now the previous thought within a lot of psychology in the relationship space was, like I said, that we transcend these one level to the next. However, there’s a lot of theories coming out now, which actually state that instead of transcending one level to the next, we actually straddle them, almost like a ladder. Okay, so we have one foot on this physiological needs, the other foot on the safety needs, the top hand on the esteem needs, the lower handle of love and belonging needs. So, we kind of need a lot of these needs to be met all at the same time, right? And there are certain needs that we just can’t have met when we exist on our own.

So, I’m just gonna read out some of these needs. And obviously, again, if you’re watching this on YouTube, you’ll see the PDF that I’m sharing with you. So, some examples of the physiological and safety needs. We’ve got some obvious ones there, like I’ve mentioned before: food, health, hygiene, laughter, movement, orgasm, physical shelter, physical strength, physical pleasure, play, reproduction, rest, safety from physical harm, sex, sexual desire, sexual pleasure, right? Because, again, you know, if we look over at the previous model of this, love and belonging, a sense of connection, they are basic human needs. We were given sexual organs for a reason. There’s nothing shameful in having sexual needs or sexual desires, especially when you own them and you’re able to communicate in a healthy way with the woman you love, where you’re at, and what’s going on. Again, in the physiological and safety needs. We’ve got touch, affection, comfort, and then we’ve got verbal expression.

Some examples of the emotional needs, we’ve got some that can only be met in relationship with others. So, acceptance, affection, appreciation, belonging, being important to one another, cooperation, communication, connection, closeness, community, companionship, compassion, consideration, consistency, empathy. All of these are incredibly important. And we think about what I said a moment ago about wanting to be respected, desired and admired. That’s where some of these come in. The desired ones can be sexually, but also to be heard, as well.

And then we’ve got meaning, which is, you know, oftentimes, why we can pour ourselves into work more if we’re not having our needs met in the relationship, include things like accomplishment, celebration, challenge, clarity, competence, contribution, creativity, discovery, dreaming. Right now, as I share these with you, some of them may stand out more to you than others – purpose, for example, mastery learning. And that’s okay, it’s not like a list an exhaustive list where every single one of these will connect with you and relate to you as strongly as others. You will have some that stand out to you more than others. So it’s important for you to understand, so you can then align your requests essentially, to actually what you want. And I know for me, it was really hard to understand what I actually needed or wanted in the beginning. I used to think it was just sex, quite frankly. But then, you know, when that need was met, there was still a sense of closeness and belonging that I found that I wanted to experience through having honest and connected conversations about what’s going on for me, or where I’m at, or vice versa for her.

Anyway, the transcendent needs are beauty, communion, flow, harmony, inspiration, ecstasy, purpose, surrender. So just coming back to the topic at hand here, learning how to communicate so you can get your needs met. Like I said, the first thing we have to become aware of is having needs is a healthy thing. It’s not a weakness, it doesn’t mean that you are less than. You have to overcome those stories, whilst also overcoming the idea that you should be able to figure this out on your own. For certain needs, you can only have met within the relationship. So today, for example, when I was communicating this to Amelia, there were three things, essentially, that I boiled it down to and shared with the men for how to do this.

The first thing you’ve got to have in place here from a tactical standpoint, is the awareness that something is wrong. Okay. So, this is going to come from repetition. This is where your ARS is very important. Because you can journal about this, it’s gonna give you a space every single day to reflect. If you do your weekly review, as well with the COIL, the chart of intentional living, another tool that we give the men, then that’s also going to give you a chance to write down your lessons for the week. So, it’s only in reflection that you’re going to gain awareness on the signs, the stories and the symptoms? Right? So, what are the signs, the stories and the symptoms that come up for you when your needs are not being met?

So, some examples are, for me, I begin to go on my phone more often. Essentially checking out. I begin to become more critical, both of myself and of Amelia. I begin to have stories going on for me that are all about basically victimhood. Poor me, she doesn’t get how hard I’m working, she should just want to meet my needs, she should get it – all those kinds of things, right? The symptoms that show up – a symptom is something you can see, touch, feel, hear, like when you go to the doctor, right? Hey, I’ve hurt my elbow. Well, describe the symptoms, he’ll touch it or feel it, ask you to describe those things you can touch, feel, see or hear. So, the symptoms for me, the phone is a symptom. Turning to alcohol more often than I usually would is a symptom. Wanting to stay at work for longer is a symptom. Not wanting to honor the promises that I’ve made to her is a symptom. Just really ways to get back at her, quite frankly.

So, first step for you to be able to learn how to communicate to get your needs met is to be aware of the stories, the signs, and the symptoms that come up for you when your needs are not being met. And you’re only gonna get to do that reflection. And the second thing is to create the space to actually communicate that your needs are not being met. Don’t make the mistake that I’ve made in the past, where you realize this. You sit in reflection one morning, on your ARS or your weekly review, you realize something, you are eager to fix it, and to communicate, and then all of a sudden, Amelia walks downstairs, she wakes up. And obviously, I’ve been up for a few hours doing stuff. And I almost vomit what I have discovered onto her, and it’s all too much.

Women are very emotional creatures in a really amazing, beautiful way. Therefore, for Amelia, and for a lot of the women, the wives of the men in the movement, essentially, a space has to be created. They have to basically be prepared and ready to go into this space of communication about the particular topic. That’s what I found to work better for us. So, we have a weekly check in, right. So, for example, I knew this was coming up for me, so I said to her yesterday, are you still up for doing our check-in tomorrow? Yep, she said, by all means. This morning, I brought it up again. I want to make sure we do the check in today. When is going to be a good time for you? And that isn’t asking her for permission at all. That’s me leading the conversation, wanting to gauge where she’s at. She suggested a time, that worked for me, so we created the space.

Now, in the check-in, which is the third tactic here, which is communication, there’s a couple of things that I did in the check-in, both before and during that you can do too. As I share this with you guys, I hope it doesn’t come across that I’m acting as though I’m the oracle and I have all the answers. To be abundantly clear, I am not perfect, by any means. I am a student of this stuff as much as you are, and I commit to being a student for as long as time will permit. Because it’s a dangerous place to be when you think you’ve got it all figured out.

So, the weekly check-in. Here are the questions that we like to go through. We change the questions, we make it fun, we make it light. The more often we do it, the more consistently we do it. Again, we’re not perfect with this, we do a good job of it. Could we be better? Yeah, for sure. I get different things work for different relationships, for different people. This is just what works for us. We have found that if we have a point in time throughout the week where we’re going to sit down and talk about our relationship, typically, it struggles to happen. I mean, to be fair, when we go out for a hike together, when we have some quality time together, it will happen then. Be it in the drive, be it on the hill, whatever it may be. Date nights are not a great space to talk about these things. You want to keep the date night light and fun, exciting and adventurous. So, you have to find what works for you. But here are some examples of something you could do, along with some questions.

So, we have revisited and rewritten these a few times. So again, this can be a malleable process for you guys. So, the first question is, what are some wins we’ve had together this week? So I’ll ask the question, and I will go first and answer and answer it. the second question which I’ll ask, what are some wins you’ve had this week? And I’ll let Amelia go first in answering that question, because I’ve gone first on the first one. It often sparks some really good conversation. What do we want to acknowledge about each other this week? So, essentially, what do we want to acknowledge about how we have been with each other this week? Whether it’s been supportive, caring if some of your needs have been getting met, it’s a great place to acknowledge those, right? Because the more you praise the things that happen and the things you want, the more they happen. That’s how the feminine tends to work.

What stumbling blocks came up this week? Maybe it was a struggle to communicate, maybe it was a lack of communication, whatever it may have been, right? Maybe it was not spending enough time in the relationship, working too much. Fifth question. What are we learning about ourselves, each other, sex, or intimacy this past week? So this week, this is when I actually shared about the realization that my needs were not being met. And I did it in a light-hearted way. I started by just complaining. But I said, hey, these complaints are not aimed at you, I want to be clear, this is just some of what’s coming up for me. I realize it may sound irrational, and I realize it may sound like I’m being a bit of a manchild right now. But at the same time, I’m just gonna share where I’m at. And I just moaned, quite frankly. I got the frustrations off my chest, and she just listened. And she tried to solve them, and suggest things, and come back at things, hey, look, I’m not looking for these to be solved. This isn’t about that. These are not aimed at you. I get that these don’t make sense, but I’m just letting you in because this is a story that’s going on in my head right now. And what I’m realizing is, this past week, there are things that have been taken away from me that make a massive difference on my mood, my ARS, my workout, listening to audiobooks on the drive, being able to be playful with you, being able to go out for a hike together, being able to sleep together and be intimate together, all of the things that make a massive difference may have been taken away.

In the past, what I would have done here is, I think I wouldn’t realize this as quickly as I have. And I think I’m getting better at realizing it faster. And you know, what I need from you moving forwards, I think I just need a little bit more connection. You know, I need a little bit more intimacy. I get that, you know, I’m still healing so it can’t go to the extremes, both of us, but you know, I just need a little bit more. And she said, like what? Do you want more hugs? When you say it like that, it sounds a bit weak, more hugs. See the narrative in my own mind. But yeah, I think I just want a little bit more playfulness, laughter, connection between you. I want us to have a sense of adventure, some excitement, I’m lacking that right now from the past few days.

So, this is a great place. If you’ve got the awareness, you’re doing your ARS, you’re doing your weekly review, you’re having reflection, you’ve got a space in the week where you’re going to be able to share this stuff, for me and Amelia, that has proven to work really well. Again, it depends on what works for you. Now the next one is a random question. The random question is something I change every week, it just depends on what I want to ask. Today. I asked, What’s one thing you appreciate about me this week? What turns you on the most about me? There’s all sorts of different questions you can throw in here. I just like to add a random one just to keep it fresh and exciting.

Next one, on a scale of one to five, how satisfied are you with our relationship this past week? I love to get that I want to understand where she’s at. Sometimes she scores it lower than I do and vice versa. It’s a great way to just talk about what’s going on and we’re both at. On a scale of one to five, how satisfied are you with your life outside of the relationship this week? I think that’s very important. Amelia this week was high on that, but she was low on the relationship side. Equally with me, which makes sense, a lot of the things have been taken away. And what do we agree on moving forwards, right? What have we learned in this check-in about what we both need, that we are then going to make an agreement about moving forwards? So, for me, coming out of this one, transparently it was about communicating better, and taking Amelia more seriously when she was upset about certain things. And for her it was around the intimacy piece.

So, to wrap this up, overcome the narrative. It’s healthy to have needs, completely normal, completely healthy. There are certain needs you can only have met in a relationship with another person. And as I said, that TED Talk, one of the keys to happiness, based on a large study, is a relationship long-term. So, overcome that narrative. The truth is, women want us to tell them what our needs are. in a strong, confident manner as well, not in a way of victimhood, not in a way of, hey, you’re not doing this for me, you should do that, you should do the other. That’s coming from DEER, that’s reactivity. Defend, explain, excuse, react. Whereas doing it in the way I was described is more like the WOLF – wise, open, loving and fierce.

Three things you need in order to learn how to communicate so you can get your needs met. One, the awareness of what’s going on for you, the stories, symptoms, and signs that your needs are not being met. You have to have some space to reflect. Number 2, create a space where you can have this conversation. Again, for us, weekly check-in works well. I know it may sound mechanical, but there’s a way you can make it fun and light, whether it’s a glass of wine, whether it’s music playing, there’s tons of ways you can make this really light and fun. Third thing is communication, making sure in that space you actually communicate what’s going on fo you, taking total ownership, because it’s important that you both take responsibility for bringing your best selves to the relationship.

And I get that some of you listening to this, you may be in a position where your wife may not be forgiving you for certain things, you may be in a position where having these kinds of check-ins and conversations are just completely off the cards, I totally get it. I really do. And if that’s the case, then I think you just need to have the awareness, have that moment of reflection, make sure you’re doing your best to meet the needs that you can meet for yourself. So for me, it was working out, excitement, adventure, fun, I can do a lot of that for myself as well. But you may not be in a position where you can make a request from your partner. The emotional bank account may be overdrawn. If that’s the case, I would strongly recommend that you consider joining the AM or some kind of program that’s going to teach you how to become in the black in your relationship instead of being in the red. In the AM we give the guy the triad of connection,  there are some very specific tools in there, the Live As A King System, HMT and CSM that help to bring the relationship back into the black, put you in a position where you can make more requests like this.

And then the third piece, like I said a moment ago, communication, taking complete ownership, no victimhood, and communicating in a clear way. So guys, I’ve covered a lot. If any of this has resonated with you whatsoever, I would highly recommend you go back, watch it again, journal. If you have any questions about this whatsoever, head over to our free Facebook community. Ask it there, I will respond, tag me in it. For you guys that are in the movement, if have any questions, reach out to me in our private community over on workplace. Guys, thank you for being here with me. I appreciate all of you. See you next time.