As a follow-up to my first part on relational needs, I wanted to return to Willard F. Harley Jr.'s book "His Needs, Her Needs." One of the key points he tries to make is the following:
"Become aware of each other's emotional needs and learn to meet them."
In a sub-section titled "His needs are not her needs", he says that he's been able to classify ten major emotional needs:
4- domestic support
5- family commitment
6- financial support
7- honesty and openness
8- physical attraction
9- recreational companionship
10- sexual fulfillment
In innumerable interviews done over the course of more than 15 years, Harley discovered why it was so difficult for men and women to meet the needs that are so important to the other. When he asked couples to list needs according to their own priorities, the men listed them one way and women the opposite way. "Of the ten basic emotional needs, the five listed as most important by men were usually the five least important for women, and vice-versa."
So clearly there lies three major obstacles for two individuals to be happy together:
1- identifying the other's needs
2- understanding the other's needs
3- fulfilling the other's needs
But before going further, I'm curious to know: How are the ten emotional needs influenced or affected by the dynamics of a D/s relationship? A femdom one in particular? Do the power dynamics permeate through all ten of the emotional needs? Most of them? Just a few of them? Or only sexual fulfillment?
So the four questions I put out there for you today are the following:
1- What are the five top emotional needs in your relationship for you?
2- What are the five top emotional needs of your partner?
3- If you are living in a relation that you consider to have a strong D/s component, how are these emotional needs influenced/affected by the D/s dynamics?
4- How well are you bridging the gap to meet your partner's needs?
As a side note, you will find three polls on the upper right of our blog. I encourage each of you to take a few moments to fill out two of the three polls that would apply to you. Let's see what you come up with in terms of gender differences, and where people think there may be emotional needs that are altered in their nature by a D/s lifestyle or not.
I'm sure the answers vary as much from one specific D/s couple to another as the lists of emotional needs do from one vanilla couple to another. But considering the basic premise of the difficulty in having a man and a woman in a relationship having a similar list of priorities, and the belief that most people in the lifestyle have that a D/s dynamics adds a whole new layer of complexity to the relationship, it seems particularly important for us to wade through this attentively, otherwise there is really no chance on either side for happiness.
If you are going to fill out the polls (and I'd really like to you to do so), please do it now before reading further.
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So let me share with you some thoughts on how these ten emotional needs play into the relationship between my Goddess and I, and specifically what role D/s plays within each of those needs. Of course, this is meant only as an illustration of how one particular relationship works, and it's certainly not indicative of how any relationship should work.
Since this post is already getting pretty long and unyieldy, I will start with just one, and andI'll follow up with the other nine over the course of other blog entries in the future.
Admiration: A sentiment we both have for each other, and that we often express to each other. My Goddess is my biggest fan. She is quite vocal in her admiration of what I do in the real world, and of my personal qualities. I'm her biggest fan also, and I am unreservedly enthusiastic about both her accomplishments and her personal qualities, to her and to people around us.
In relation to D/s dynamics, I think that this element is a huge part of our play. This mutal admiration plays out in opposite direction, as her admiration for me makes me a more attractive target for her dominant desires. The fact that she sees so much in me makes it more enticing for her to control me, to dominate me, and to own me.
On my side, my admiration for her makes it easy for me to want to serve her and worship her. When given the opportunity, getting things ready or doing things for her gives me a sense of higher purpose. It's easy to want to treat my Goddess well because I admire her so much. Appreciating how wonderful, smart, funny, caring, beautiful and sexy she is, and how important she is in my life, the distance between admiration and worship is not great. Add to that the element of her dominance, and the emotional need of admiration is one that is not only an important one for us, but one that keeps up close together, and one that has become colored by the D/s dynamics of our relationship.
Am I meeting all her needs in this area? How can one ever be sure? I think I'm doing a decent job, although I keep looking for ways to do better and do more. In view of how much I admire her, it's just a matter of making sure she knows how I feel.