What Do You Need From a Romantic Relationship?

Photo by TNK PHOTO on Unsplash

Just as summer was ending and the autumn was making itself known with cooler nights and shorter days, one of my friends and I were sharing a bottle of rosé out on the sidewalk of our favorite little cafe. I had just shared a story of meeting my newest partner’s other partners (my metamours) for the first time.

“I could never do that. I need to be number one in someone’s life.” She declared.

I replied with my standard response, “That’s Ok. I know it’s not for everyone.”

The conversation moved on without much more discussion, but when I got home, I spent some time thinking about what she said. I really don’t have a strong desire to be number one in someone’s life. But what exactly do I want or need to be in a relationship? This is potentially a huge topic and I am sure I’ll get lost in the weeds a bit, but let’s try to cover the basics anyway.

I need to know that I am important to you.

It’s pretty simple really. I don’t have to be the only person who is important to you, but I do need to know that I AM important, that I have a place in your world. For this Words of Affirmation and Quality Time love languages girl that usually means, at minimum, I need to hear from you regularly. It’s stressful if you don’t reach out to me on your own, especially if I am reaching out to you. I hate to feel one-sided in a relationship.

You can learn your love languages here: https://www.5lovelanguages.com

I also need to see you regularly, whatever that looks like for us. Right now, except for Benjamin who is long distance, I see each of my partners about once a week. Knowing that we work to make each other a priority for at least that one time a week is usually enough for me to feel that I am important to them. It’s not the frequency so much as the effort put regularly into our relationship.

I need to know you are sexually attracted to me.

This one might seem like a given but believe me it’s not. I have to be sexually attracted to someone before I really make an emotional connection, which is opposite of someone who is Demi-sexual and needs to have an emotional connection with someone before they can connect sexually. My sexuality is a huge part of who I am and how I relate to my partners. I often struggle with insecurity if I feel like my partner is not sexually attracted to me.

If our sex drives are not the same, I still need to be reassured that there is a sexual attraction and that sex is part of the equation. I’ve had a lovely platonic romantic relationship before, but it took a lot of work, discussion, compromise, and tears on my part for it to work. I need to clearly understand the boundaries and lines in our physical relationship in order to feel fully secure and prefer to know exactly where we stand sexually.

Megasexuals are characterized as individuals who lack emotional connection toward any person or persons unless they first form a strong sexual connection with someone. The level of sexual connection it takes for an emotional bond to form is often dependent on the initial attraction to the person. It is an orientation that is not chosen but often discouraged due to sex-negative attitudes. Coined by Dr. Liz Powell and The Frisky Fairy during Atlanta Poly Weekend, 2015.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve been having discussions with some of my other poly friends. Feels like we’re all trying to find the right middle ground for these thoughts. What things are necessary, or needs, and what things are nice to have? There are a lot of things that I would call more wants than needs. If I want them, but don’t need them, how does that play out in a relationship? Can I set expectations and agreements based purely on my wants? Or do these things have to be based in needs? What is the right balance?

I want to have more sex with one of my partners. Is that a need? I have sex with other partners, so ultimately my need for sexual relationships is being satisfied. But I want to have sex with this partner more. It’s one of the ways I show my love, it’s a huge part of how I feel loved. He tells me how great I am, he feels deeply for me, and I know this. I can confidently say I feel secure in his love for me. So, do I NEED to have a more frequent sexual relationship with him? No, I don’t. But that doesn’t preclude me from wanting it, and sometimes that wanting makes for awkward, sad, and anxious moments in our relationship. But I guess that brings me to another need in my relationships.


I need to be able to talk to you about how I am feeling.

Communication is key. That sounds so trite, yet it’s true for all relationships; monogamous or polyamorous. But in anything you read about polyamory there is always an emphasis on communication. With so many “moving parts” and managing expectations and emotions in more than one relationship you really need to stay on top of the talking. So much talking!

I have always been a decent communicator but being in poly relationships has really forced me to up my game. It’s forced me to confront my own fear of being vulnerable with others. It has forced me to choose partners I can trust with that vulnerability and taught me to open up and really speak my heart, no matter how difficult it can sometimes feel. So, if I am going to be in a relationship with you, I need to be able to sit across the table from you and speak frankly about my feelings, even if I am worried they might hurt you or maybe make you uncomfortable. Believe me, it’s difficult for me too.

Of course, every relationship requires, trust and respect. I am counting those as a given. That is boundaries territory. I won’t be in a relationship with someone I don’t trust or I don’t respect or who doesn’t respect me. I am sure there are more things I need too. I am learning almost daily what is important to me and how to balance it all. This could be an ongoing post if we want it to be!

  • What are some of the things you need in a relationship?
  • Do you need to be number one? Or can other qualities in your relationship be enough for you?