How To Ask For Your Needs To Be Met Early In Dating

Many of us experience guilt or feelings of burdensomeness when asking for our needs to be met in relationships, and doing so early on in dating can be even trickier. We all know that healthy, conscious communication is key to a thriving relationship — as is being an active listener. And while we should, of course, be on the lookout for red flags in a new relationship, these skills also take time and practice to develop.


It may not be super intuitive to ask for your needs to be met right off the bat when dating, but setting the stage for this type of communication can help you navigate the dating pool and find potential partners who are both able and willing to meet your needs. You will likely also inspire your love interest to communicate their needs back to you so you have a chance to meet their desires also. Even those in long-term relationships have a tough time communicating needs, so be compassionate and patient with yourself as you learn the language of asking for your needs to be met.

Extend an olive branch and label your need

It's natural to initially feel a bit defensive when someone expresses an unmet need. We may be surprised or find ourselves reviewing the past, unaware we weren't paying attention to our partner's needs. This is why it's wise to begin these conversations with an olive branch — reaching out with a positive attitude (via The Hearty Fig). You might take note of something kind they did for you that day or share how you feel fortunate that they listen with compassion when you talk about your work shift.


If you are feeling anxious when you don't receive a text back, for example, it's time to label your need. You might share that you prefer to check in throughout the day with the person you're dating, and longer periods of time with no communication doesn't work for you. If this person is unable to meet that need, well, now you know and can adjust your dating life accordingly. This can be a common point of conflict between anxious and avoidant attachment styles in the dating cycle. If they do want to meet your needs though, and can agree to that boundary, then great. You've cleared up the uncertainty about your texting styles.

Be specific and take ownership of what you're asking for

In order to be specific, you might share that you'd feel better if you received a quick text back when you reach out, explaining they're currently tied up but will reply to you once they're off work or leaving the gym. This should alleviate your feelings of uncertainty or rejection, and perhaps they'll share a need in return.


Part of taking ownership of your needs is not to place blame on the person who can't meet them. It simply means you two may not be compatible. However, had you not expressed your need clearly and steadily, it would have been a messier road to discovering that incompatibility. If you aren't used to expressing needs directly, it will likely feel demanding or uncomfortable at first. But, remember, communicating our needs in a conscious, open way is a kind act, and while doing that early on in dating is anything but easy, it will be well worth it in the long run.