6 Basic Needs

“It’s complicated.”

Love is a beautiful, dangerous, inspiring, and complicated kick in the ass. I’m in open relationships. In the past I was non-consensually  non-monogamous… aka I cheated, a lot. In the past five years or so, I’ve been learning how to communicate honestly, which included being more truthful to myself. That might be the hardest part — knowing what you want.

Every month or so, I go to a group meeting with my friends and lovers, and listen to what others have to say about love. Last night, we shared these two lists, which I’m completely fascinated by. I thought I’d put them here, in case they’re any use to any of you — sometimes I get questions about being poly, though issues around open relationships (time management is a big one) pertain to anyone regardless of our relationship style.

Six Basic Needs

We each have a desire to meet our basic needs; how we meet them is up to us. Will it be sustainable? Attainable? Destructive? Healthy?

1. Certainty – relates to security and safety

2. Variety

3. Connection / Love

4. Significance

5. Contribution (to something larger than ourselves, to community, etc)

6. Growth (personal growth, self-actualization)

Everyone has a different threshold for where this need is met. Ultimately, it’s about how the need gets met.

(Adapted from Tony Robbins and Vanguard Leather)

The Five Love Languages:

1. Words of Affirmation

2. Quality Time

3. Receiving Gifts

4. Acts of Service

5. Physical Touch



  • Essin' Em

    I first learned about the 5 love languages at camp in 8th grade (welcome to smart kid camp). We all wrote our top two ways we best received love on our arms, so that people in our groups understood how to best demonstrate their love for us (again, gifted kid camp).

    I loved the concept, and made of poster of them for the wall in my bedroom. I literally just took it down from my mother’s house the other day…and had a conversation about them with a woman who is in Vagina Monologues with me.

    It may seem silly, but those 5 concepts have helped me so much throughout my life. I know that I am best loved through physical touch, quality time and acts of service (like my best friend bringing me soup when I’m sick)…and I also know that I have trouble with receiving gifts, and words of affirmation. Knowing these things has helped me explain myself to my partners…and also realize that I need to know their love languages in order to best demonstrate my love to them in a way that they understand.

    Woah. That got long. A feel a blog post of my own coming on. Thanks for sharing this.

    In hind sight, I wonder what Dr. Betts and all the gifted kid counselors would say if they knew how well discussing love languages helped poly relationships…

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