Want vs. Need in Personal Relationships

Posted November 22, 2011 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five
We all know there is a difference between wants and needs. I want a candy bar. I certainly don’t need one. I know this logically to be true. But our illogical selves are powerful and persuasive beings. They say, “You do need this. You must have it to survive.” And they say it far too often.

The same is true for relationships you want, but don’t need. Anyone would say you should leave a relationship – a friendship, a marriage, a job – if that relationship isn’t what you need. If you need romance and he won’t provide it, leave. If you need understanding and comfort and your friend only talks about herself, cut her out. If you need a supportive boss who won’t stab you in the back, quit.

So here’s the big question – what if you don’t get what you need….or frankly, what you want…from relationships you cannot get out of? You parents, your siblings, your in-laws? What if those relationships prove to be frustrating and difficult and hurtful? Can you just leave? Can you just….cut them out?

What you want in these people is a heart – one that has two round humps at the top and a point at the bottom – a heart that says, “I love you. I respect you. You mean something in my world.” Sometimes, what you get in these people is just a heart mass – it isn’t soft or cuddly. It isn’t reassuring or caring. It’s just….there.

The photo above struck me deeply. No pulse, no chance. And it reminded me that while some of the people I desire less of in my life aren’t soft or loving or respectful, they are there. Have you ever been asked, “how’s your job?” only to respond, “it’s there.” Can the same be true of people? They’re there. Can you cut emotions surrounding that existence.

Somehow I’m unable to do that…I’m physically, emotionally and mentally incapable of saying, “they’re there.” Because something inside me says of love, “You do need this. You must have it to survive.” Is it love? Is it acceptance? Is it forgiveness? I don’t know. But of all these things, I realize now, I need something. I suppose where there still remains that sticky, gross heart mass – there remains that chance that it may someday turn into a loving heart shape. And that, my friends, is just a tiny bit of hope that someday those people aren’t just “there.”

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."