Why You Can’t Feel Loved in a Relationship (and what to do about it)
If you are ready to open your heart, love more deeply than ever before, and to receive, I hope this process brings you relief.
I feel defective. Sometimes my emotional needs feel like an unending black hole, threatening to devour everything in its keep. But at the same time, that’s not necessarily true. When it comes to conscious relationships, there are so many questions that arise. Sometimes, in our willingness to work on ourselves and grow self awareness, we take responsibility for more than we should. Other times, when sucked deep into our trauma, we react from irrational places that don’t make any sense. So, how do we know? Am I reacting from emotional trauma? What if I am reasonably asking for my emotional needs to be met? How do you tell the difference?
When you can’t feel loved in a relationship, it’s because no matter what your partner does, you have a block to receiving. This can sound confusing- well what does that mean? A block to receiving can show up in many ways, but the most obvious one is through the need to control. So let’s explore that.
Why do we feel the need to control?
When it comes to our emotional needs and desires, we feel the need to control because of the fear that those needs will not be met. Emotional fears run deep, and our emotional needs represent our deepest most fulfilling wishes. For example, if your deepest emotional need is attention and quality time, the moment that need feels threatened, an emotional reaction will be fuelled. This is when we resort to manipulation tactics: threatening to end the relationship, accusing them of not caring, assuming they will never spend time with us, in order to get our needs met. If these tactics do not work, then we are left with our sense of powerlessness and fear, that our needs will not be met. I want you to imagine a little baby. In order to get its needs met, it will scream and cry, because the baby is unable to feed itself. When it comes to emotional trauma, we often react in similar ways. We feel unable to meet that need for ourselves, and because we feel powerless to do it, we scream and cry for that attention. If our cries to for help are not heard, then we move more deeply into that sense of powerlessness.
Relationships can be complicated. What if it’s the perfect relationship in so many ways, except for that one very important need that keeps being overlooked?
Then what do you do? Is it the most self loving and self respecting choice to walk away? Or is that self destructive and self sabotaging because this relationship is worth waiting for? Conscious relationships can get confusing and messy. At the end of the day, addressing the root of those emotional fears, will go a very long way.
We can choose to walk away from the relationship, but we will carry those emotional wounds with us. If feeling unsure, my advice would be to explore those emotional wounds. To reflect on them, as part of your own deeply personal process. Then decide what you would like to do. You may be surprised by the new you that surfaces, the new you that you discover once you move more deeply out of lack and fear. Can you learn to trust that your needs will be met? Can you learn to trust that you are worthy of the things you so deeply desire?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I so afraid of?
- Why am I so scared that these needs will not be met?
- Think back to any time in your life when you felt the same way. What was happening? Who was I interacting with? How did I feel?
- Look for patterns in your emotional reactions. Can you find the trigger? For example, if your emotional need is quality time, and there is an intense fear around this- the emotional trigger will be a heightened sensitivity to the perceived lack of attention from your partner. In other words, you will feel extremely threatened and hurt any time you feel like that need might not be met- missed calls, unresponsive to texts, not being able to show up even if its for a valid reason.
Emotional wounds can be highly volatile and irrational. This is the nature of our deepest emotional needs. Emotional needs run deep. We often require these needs to be met just as much as we need to eat. This is why there can be so much fear wrapped around them. On a deeper level, we literally fear that if we do not get what we need, we will starve emotionally and die. Irrational? Yes. But is it true? To our fear based mind, absolutely.
Let’s go deeper.
We know logically, that if someone is not meeting our emotional needs, we will continue to survive. It simply feels like we will die. In this space, retraining this wound, and this fear to work with us rather than against us will go a very long way. We do this, by getting to the root. The root of this fear, is the sense of powerlessness that overcomes us because of the belief that “if this person isn’t meeting my needs in this moment, right now, those needs will never be met“.
On an even deeper level is the belief that, “If these needs will never be met, I will emotionally starve and die, I will never get the love and nurturing that I need“.
Healing & transforming the pain
- Create an emotional sanctuary
Soothe that scared part of you like you would a sweet and innocent child. Nurture yourself, hold yourself. Speak kindly and softly to yourself. If that emotional need is for attention, quality time and nurturing, in that moment, give that experience to yourself. Be fully present with yourself, your wounds, your fears. Tend to them with love and care. Wrap yourself in a blanket, take deep breaths. Create that safe space, that emotional sanctuary for yourself.
2. Speak to that scared part of yourself.
This is the part of you that feels like they will never have enough, that their needs will never be met. Gently start to shift those beliefs. Instead of looking for evidence of lack of love, look for signs that the world is filled with love. Train your eye to see opportunity more than lack. If that doesn’t feel possible for you, then simply meet yourself where you are. Healing is a process, and there is no need to rush. Everything happens in perfect timing.
3. Shift your beliefs around love, deserving and worthiness
Finally, it’s important to realize that you were never defective. You are not defective. You simply never believed that you were worthy of receiving the love you so deeply desire. Deep down you felt that if you could not get that love early on, then it was your fault. It was because you didn’t deserve it. In your childlike mind you couldn’t understand the complexity of adult lives, responsibilities and obligations. Children don’t think of love languages. They simply see that they have a need, that need is not being met in the way that they need, therefore it must be their fault. Either they don’t deserve love, they are not worthy of it, or they simply cannot have it. Retraining those parts of our minds, will go a very long way.