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One person, no matter how much they love you, cannot meet all of your emotional needs.

Another popular myth about marriage is that if someone loves us fully, purely, and unconditionally, we shouldn’t need anyone else’s love and support. This mistaken notion has been the source of great suffering, disappointment, and disillusionment for many couples. While marriage can be delightful, healing, challenging, and stimulating, it is sheer fantasy to believe that this relationship alone can fulfill us. We also need friends, satisfying work, healthy solitude, play, and other life experiences to fulfill the needs of our soul. Unrealistic expectations inevitably set us up for disappointment.

While there is only one word for “love” in the English language, there are over three hundred words describing different types of love in Pali, the language of ancient Buddhism, and seventy-six in Persian. How many kinds of love are there? For starters, there are parental love, filial love, platonic love, the constant love of a friend, the love of beauty, the fiery love of a new romance, and the deep and enduring love of a long-standing marriage. One person cannot possibly love us in all of the ways we need to be loved. Relieving our partner and ourselves from the obligation to provide for the full range of our love needs brings a truer, stronger, and more sustaining quality of love into our relationship.

The many varieties of love fulfill many different needs within us. A need is anything that is essential to our health and well-being. Some needs we can meet within ourselves, some can only be met in intimate relationships or committed partnerships, some through other relationships. If we believe that we can or should be all things for our partner and vice versa, the relationship is probably headed for disaster. That’s an impossible burden that no single individual can fulfill, and the expectation itself sets us up for disappointment and failure. This expectation may be a thin disguise for the desire to possess and control the other person, a manipulative strategy that stems from a feeling of insecurity or unworthiness within us. As we become more affirming of our own essential worth and lovability, we no longer need to limit the people with whom we share our love.

The more secure we feel within ourselves, the more able we are to grant our partner the room they need to include other loving relationships into their life. Offering this generosity of spirit and the underlying trust that it demonstrates is likely to make us more attractive to our partner and make them appreciate us more. This gratitude recycles back to them, as we appreciate their appreciation and feel affirmed as

worthy and loving beings. Thus we complete a self-affirming, positive cycle that replaces the vicious cycle of mistrust that may have previously been operating. Although such transformations may seem unlikely, we are living proof that they are possible and without question worth the time and effort they require.

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One person, no matter how much they love you, cannot meet all of your emotional needs.


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2019). One person, no matter how much they love you, cannot meet all of your emotional needs.. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Mar 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.