My friend Rajesh created what he calls the Relationship Hierarchy of Needs...
Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, his framework illustrates the components to a thriving romantic partnership.
At the base, you need to enjoy spending time with the person. Great conversations. Laughs. Lovely sex. Kissing, hugging, nushing. Romantic attraction. The one-on-one relationship feels nourishing. This need is foundational for all other aspects of the relationship.
The middle section is the need for integration. You can explore the outside world together –hobbies, interests, adventures, mutual friend groups. You can also bring your world back home to the person – talk about what excites you, work, and life independent of the relationship. Your partner listens and engages, even if they don’t share your interests. You feel like you can express your full authentic self.
The next section is the need for growth – growth in emotional connection, trust, communication and personal development. Life is not stagnant. Things change and you need to learn and adapt with the person next to you.
Finally, the top is a radical pursuit of honesty. You can identify your deepest needs and communicate them to your partner. You can have the hard conversations to strengthen your relationship. This takes a tremendous amount of introspection. Often, we may need a framework to make our thinking more productive.
The ideal romantic relationship, in my mind, earns high marks in each of these categories.
A friend can excel at one of these categories and not in others.
Hopefully, this framework can give you another lens by which to look at your relationships.