Love Doc

Plumbing the depths of the psychology and neurobiology of love.

The Art of Getting Your Needs Met

Communicating your needs effectively is part of intimacy.

"Michele, this is hard for me to say, but I'm not in love with you anymore." Nick looked sad.

With eyes wide in surprise, Michele said "What do you mean you're not in love with me anymore? Things are so good between us. Why now? Where are you coming from?"

"It's not just now. I've been telling you over and over that we have problems." Nick's body went limp.

"We have a great life, two wonderful kids, fabulous vacations, lots of good friends, and we enjoy concerts and movies. And we've gone through a lot together; our daughter's heartbreak, my breast cancer, your career insecurities, and we're still together. I'm suddenly not good enough." Michele pleaded.

In a low voice, Nick said "It's not that."

Firing once question after another, Michele asked "So what's it? Did you fall in love with another woman? Is she younger, hotter, or what?" 

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"There is no other woman." Nick said calmly.

Michele's voice grew louder "If not that, then what? "

"You don't hear me when I talk. All you do is talk, but you don't listen. You're just like your blabbermouth mother." Nick spat out the words.

Tears welling up in her eyes, Michele whimpered, "That's so mean. Why can't you be nice?"

"I am nice; it's you that's not." Nick responded.

I intervened "Nick, what do you need from Michele?"

"I need her to listen to me." He said.

"Michele, what do you need?" I asked.

She responded, "I need Nick to treat me with respect."

"It seems that neither of you are getting your needs met. I think we should work on your communication." I concluded.

And indeed, Michele and Nick did not communicate in a way to get their needs met..
Constantly worried about the children, her health, financial issues, and her appearance, Michele spent a lot of time in her own head. She was so immersed into her thoughts that when Nick spoke to her she did not hear him.

Not that Nick spoke up too well either. Unlike Michele, who gave free rein to her emotional life, Nick kept his close to his vest. His style of communication entailed suppression of his feelings only to explode and attack. When he did attack, Michele tuned him out and went back to her concerns.

This time Michele listened and heard him loud and clear. In therapy with matching mirror neurons, they recalled how madly in love they were, the good times, and the hurdles they overcame together. They had so much history together. And they were determined to bring back the romance, the intimacy, the passionate love they once enjoyed.

 We began our therapeutic journey by working on their childhood scripts that were locked into the brain. The knowledge that the brain was plastic and that Michele and Nick could rewrite new scripts provided them with hope that they could bring love back. Learning how to communicate in ways to get their needs met was an important new script that they rewrote. A set of simple exercises on verbal and non-verbal communication was helpful in each getting their needs met.


If like Michele and Nick, you have problems in communicating in ways to get your needs met, read my new book. It is called The New Science of Love: How Understanding the Brain's Wiring Can Help Rekindle Your Relationship (Sourcebooks, Casablanca, 2011) on preorder at Amazon . In this primer on love, you will learn about the power of mirror neurons on your love life, how love comes, goes, and how you can bring it back.


Email: drpraver@cs.com
Web : www.drfranpraver.com
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Frances Cohen Praver, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and relational psychoanalyst and author.

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