What needs do I have from my partners, in terms of time, emotional availability, commitment, communication and intimacy?
That depends on the nature of our relationship.
Note: One problem with the English language (and maybe others, but I’m only fluent in English, so that’s what I have to work with), is that there are no really great ways to describe relationships with certain traits without falling back on imperfect terms, some with meanings that are beyond what I intend. So, I use them and try to make do. Anyways, back to the main plot.
In general, if we are dating, that generally means that we want to spend time with each other on a regular or semi-regular basis. So, about a once a month, at the barest minimum? With my central core relationships (Trydaen, Diplomat, and Lola), once a week or so seems to work out fairly well. With Moss, we’re still figuring stuff out, but we have gone from once a month to about once every couple weeks (depending on availability) and that’s working out well for me. My needs/wants around time are one of the main reasons long distance relationships just don’t work well for me – I desire more time together than long distance allows for easily.
As for emotional availability, this is a tricky one. I need to know that my partners (both central and satellite) will listen to and acknowledge my emotions when I express them, on a soonish basis (like within a day or two, barring extenuating circumstances). I need them also to be aware that I need to internally process stuff before I know what to do with it, how to feel about it; my raw, stream of consciousness emotions tend to not actually reflect how or what I think about things, just what emotions are closer to the surface on that given day or in that moment. I want my partners to understand that either I may need time to process things (which I am getting better at asking for) or that they will be getting feelings that may have little to do with my actually feelings and thought on the subject. As for my availability – I try to be as available as possible (because that is important to me), but there can be circumstances which make me less able to help them process or to deal with deeper emotions, such as prolonged or extreme pain flares, lack of sleep, or general emotional overload.
I define commitment as dedication to sustaining and continuing the relationship (even if it needs to change nature or substance over time). I need to know if someone is doubting their commitment to our relationship, and if so, if they think that there is I can do to help (if there is anything).
Communication is the key to everything. I want to know about my partners’ lives – the good, the bad, the ugly, what makes them tick, what drives their lives, what they need to stay the truest to themselves. Sometimes what I ask for may seem like minutiae or unimportant, but staying in the loop is important to me because it helps me build my story of people. I want to be kept in the loop about schedules (particularly anything I wouldn’t know to ask about or other out of the ordinary events, like trips or first dates or visitors), partially so I know when to bugger off for a bit or not to expect any sort of answer. Because Words of Affirmation is so high on my Love Languages, I also need to hear that I am important to my partners and that they are thinking of me, even if it just means a quick text just to check in.
I am frankly not quite sure what the authors mean by intimacy. Do they mean it in a euphemistic sense, as in to mean sex? Or alone time together, or deep, personal connection? I think this question may be a bit vague for me to actually answer it in any meaningful way. But I do need all of those things on a semi-regular basis at the very least.