Loved, Honored and Cherished, Part II

by Reid on May 26, 2013

TogethernessIn my last article I talked about creating safety and how to determine what you and your partner(s) might need to feel safe and grounded in your relationship to create a loved, honored and cherished experience.

If you’re not in a romantic relationship right now, you can do this for yourself, for friends and family, for other people you “partner” with at work, and even in social situations. These skills are useful no matter what kinds of relationships you want to deepen and strengthen.

Remember: “Relationships” aren’t just of the romantic/love variety (though Spring might have you thinking about those more!). The communication skills it takes to make romance thrive can be just as useful in building community, fostering respect and appreciation at work, and nurturing your children (If they’re teens, well, you’re on your own. LOL!).

Joking aside, today we’ll take creating that loved, honored and cherished feeling to the next level by discussing wants, needs and desires.

First: Determine Preferences

What are your preferences in life and in relationships? You’re allowed to have preferences!

Start with the belief that most of us have grown up with a highly sophisticated system of determining and asking for what we think the other person will be okay with/will be a yes to. In honing that skill, we forget to ask ourselves what it is we actually want!

Add to this that many of us were taught to like things that would get us liked back, make us popular, and help us fit in. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be liked, losing touch with what we are truly attracted to in favor of “fitting in” doesn’t necessarily make for a happy and fulfilled life.

When we can acknowledge our preferences and wants, and ask for what we’d like to receive, we feel empowered and fulfilled, even if we only get what we want part of the time. We’re being honest and in touch with ourselves, using our voice, and sharing with the people we love more of our true selves while acknowledging our own desires.

Check-in and ask your partners what their preferences are, too. It’s easy to assume you already know what they want, but remember what you think you know they want is based on them probably asking YOU for what THEY think you’ll be a yes to! Preferences also change with mood and can often shift over time, so why not check-in? Plus: it feels delightful to know someone cares enough to ask! Be THAT kind of partner/friend to someone!

Make a game of it! Sharing wants, needs, preferences and desires doesn’t have to be a Law & Order interrogation scene (Unless you enjoy that kind of thing, of course!). Be gentle with yourself and your loved ones because neither of you may know for sure what you want or need starting off. Give yourself room to let your wants, needs and desires rise to the surface through conversation, inquiry and exploration. And make it fun! Just exploring and sharing how you each feel as you try things out can be playful and exciting, and can bring you both closer. You might even surprise yourself by finding new things to like and want for the future!

And, remember: Figuring out things that you DON’T like are wins, too. Why? ‘Cause now you know what you never have to try again if you so choose!

Second: Determine Compatibility

Sometimes you’re going to have things that you and your partner agree on, things that you want and they love to do, and things they want and you want to do. There’s overlap there. The things you both desire, those are the easy ones! Make a list of these, for anytime your relationship needs a boost or a fun, no-brainer evening! (Without the list, it’s all too easy to forget the things you share in common!) If you both adore margaritas and fajitas at your local restaurant, if going there makes you feel comfortable and taken care of, you both win! (Use the same approach for those shared, favorite erotic activities for desert!)

There are going to be times when you aren’t on the same wave length.

ConnectionSometimes there’s wiggle room. I’m okay with A, B and C, as long as I can get D because D’s really important for me. So I’ll go to your favorite restaurant and hang out with your friends, as long as you drive so I can have an extra margarita. Or I’m great going to the beach with your family, but don’t leave me alone with your Uncle Bob watching the game on TV!

When it comes to sexual activities, there’s nothing wrong with a similar approach, just communicate honestly with yourself and your loved ones. Remember that “bad habit” we sometimes have of not asking for what we really want. I’m okay with us doing X, Y, and Z, as long as we can include our Hitachi vibrator… Or I get to be on top… Or I get to wear the Wonder Woman costume this time… (You get the picture!)

Figuring out where the wiggle room is for each of you gives you space to fill each other’s needs without giving up on meeting your own. Sure, let’s go live in the country. That’s a preference for you. For me, I don’t care where we live as long as we live together.

Talk to each other and find out what your preferences are. Those things will start to inform you what people’s expectations and hopes might be.

There will be times when there isn’t wiggle room. If your partner loves Ethiopian food and you HATE it, they may have to find another dinner buddy when they’re in that mood. Being clear about what you’re willing and not willing to do can add ease, even if you’re not doing everything your partner wants. None of us match up completely, and by knowing ahead of time, we can avoid conflicts and resentments. If I know that there isn’t a chance my partner will want to sing Karaoke, I can pick a night when she’s out and invite my friends to go along. I get my needs met and my partner doesn’t feel pulled at. Win!

Of course, when it comes to sex, this is where things can get tricky. We’ll cover that in another article soon so we can go more in depth.

Third: Determine Concerns

Do you have concerns come up around your partner’s particular wants, needs, and desires? Does your partner have concerns about yours?

It’s useful to talk about concerns because sometimes people fall into a pattern. They just want the relationship to continue so they start doing A, B, C, D for the sake of the relationship. Maybe A and B are good fits for them, but C is only a good fit occasionally, and they really don’t like doing D. Or maybe they’re afraid that if they say no to D, you’ll find someone else and leave them. They might be afraid that if they try something new with you once, you’ll always expect it in the future.

Once the habit of doing A, B, C and D is established, it’s easy to coast along. If you don’t check in with them and ask them if they have any concerns, it’s not necessarily going to occur to them to share.

Coasting along works short term, but it creates a lot of wear and tear in the relationship. This is the kind of thing that eats away at intimacy little by little. Resentments build, and the next time you guys fight, it turns into a nuclear meltdown. Better to check in on a semi-regular basis to see if anything comes up. This checking-in approach also allows for the both of you to improve at being honest and communicate any new ah-has you’ve figured out about yourself.

When you figure out what a loved one’s preferences are and identify and address any concerns, you’re probably good to go, especially if those preferences start fulfilling on their wants, needs and desires. If you’re helping your partner feel physically and emotionally safe (see the last article) and helping them get their needs met, they feel fulfilled and happy and more connected.

You’re helping them feel loved, honored and cherished because you’re stepping up into the relationship wanting to help them achieve these things. In a world where most people aren’t experiencing that on a day to day basis, your relationship begins to feel/be very special.

Just a quick note from a business perspective… If your boss or your manager really wanted to fulfill on making sure that you felt emotionally and physically safe and that your wants, needs and desires were met around your career, if they were trying to honor them as best they could and were checking in once in a while if you have any concerns about the flow… How would your job feel to you? Could you create that for your boss and co-workers? Your direct reports?

You would probably feel better serviced or taken care of by that particular boss of yours and you might be more excited to show up day to day at your job. You might be more productive in your job. You might be happier in your job. Your happiness might be contagious to your coworkers. There might be more of a feeling of teamwork and camaraderie… Got it?

TendernessThis is the same kind of situation that can happen in your relationships. You’re cheering your partner on to get a lot of these things met, and when you can both be taking responsibility for getting your own needs met, when there’s good overlap on getting some needs met together, and you are happy with how your relationship’s wants, needs and desires fit together… Presto! A certain type of synergy and alignment seeps into your intimacy… There is a trust and warmth in the relationship and a sparkle in your eyes that can light up the bedroom!

So give this a thought: What do you need to feel emotionally and physically safe in your relationships? What are your wants, needs and desires? What are your preferences? What are your concerns? What are your partners’?

If you like homework assignments, grab a pen and paper spend 5-minutes per question writing out the answers to the above questions! Got a loved one, friend or co-worker whom you think would benefit from answering these questions, too? Invite them to do this assignment with you!

And let me know what you come up with via email or post it on my ReidAboutSex FB Page!

Yours in feeling loved, honored and cherished,


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