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The Secure Desi’s 8-Step Guide to Having Your Needs Met Before Marriage, Without Feeling Selfish, Guilty, or Too Needy

As the eldest daughter in a first-generation Desi family growing up in New York, I distinctly remember my mother continually sacrificing her needs for us. Regardless of the time of day or night that my dad would return from work, she would be ready to serve him dinner and provide him company. Single-handedly, she taught us how to read and write, took us to the library, accompanied us to parent-teacher conferences and satisfied all of our needs. 

In our hearts, we knew that no matter how late it was, if we asked Mama to make us chicken tikka masala with tandoori roti (or french fries!), she would start whipping up recipes from Food Fusion on YouTube for her hungry children. Later, she would get upset at us because of her lack of sleep, and her resentment within her marriage grew as well. 

In her mind, she was taking care of all of my dad’s needs so he naturally should be ‘reading her’ and doing the same, too. Like all Desi wives, she craved affection from her spouse but was not able to receive it because she did not possess the tools to communicate her needs with my dad. It was not until decades later that their communication improved, and they were able to hold space for one another’s needs within their marriage. 

Witnessing this at home encouraged me to be proactive about knowing my needs and learning how to have them met in a healthy way within my own marriage. This is what led me to creating “The Secure Desi’s 8-Step Guide to Having Your Needs Met Before Marriage, Without Feeling Selfish, Guilty, or Too Needy.” As a single desi man or woman, it is necessary for the success of your future marriage and all of your relationships, really, for you to own your needs. Grab a journal, because I’m spilling all the secrets I share with my clients, and continuously work through myself. Here’s how:

Step 1: The first step towards healing these intergenerational patterns of ignoring our needs is becoming aware of why you (or your parents) did it.

Reflect on this question: 

Why are you denying your own needs? Is it because you are secretly hoping for your current or future partner’s approval? Or do you believe that they should be able to read your mind? 

Oftentimes, because we have not received the validation we craved from our parents as desi kids, we internalize these patterns when we are adults. 

As a result, in our relationships, we ignore our needs and expect our partners to validate us instead. When this inevitably does not happen, we might foster resentment towards our partners and blame them for not taking care of us. How can anyone take care of us if we are not taking care of ourselves first?

Step 2: Observe how you feel when your needs are ignored versus when your needs are being met.

When your needs are being ignored, you will start to feel resentful towards your partner. At its core, this is actually your resentment towards yourself for denying your basic human needs in a relationship. 

When your needs are being met, you will feel light and fulfilled within your marriage. You will be able to pour into your partner’s cup with grace, and with ease because you have a “cup overflowing!”

Step 3: Recognize your own needs to feel happy in a relationship.

The needs I suggest you focus on for now include: 

  1. Your need for being shown love (hint: take the love languages quiz for more clarity on this): the how & the when. For example, when I am on my time of the month, I need extra cuddles from you. Or, when I come home from work, I need you to smile at me 🙂
  2. Your need for consistent communication within your relationship. For example, if you are a long-distance couple, it can mean collaborating with your partner to decide a regular time for calls that works for the both of you. It could also mean setting a certain window to respond to each other’s messages, if that is what you need. Don’t be shy to ask! This is the person you may be spending the rest of your life with, after all. 
  3. Your need to have healthy boundaries with their family. For example, this could look like asking your partner to communicate with their family that you will only be able to visit ‘x’ times a year, etc.
  4. Your need to feel heard and be listened to when you are venting. For example, this can mean asking your future spouse to simply validate your emotions when you are emotionally upset, instead of offering advice or solutions.
  5. Your need for a clear timeline to marriage. This self-explanatory need is your right.
  6. Your need for space. For example, when you are feeling low, you may need physical space from your partner for an hour or so to recharge your batteries, and that is ok, too.
  7. Your need to spend time with your friends or family. Consult your heart for guidance and collaborate with your partner as a team on this one, too.
  8. Your need to be encouraged towards your individual goals. Marriage is all about growth, and having a partner makes it that much easier.

Step 4: Take ownership for filling your cup. Before you can ask a partner to take care of you, you must take care of yourself.

As you jot down your needs in a relationship, make another column titled “because I do this for myself.” It is a hack I used while preparing for marriage, and it works!

For example, if you have a need to be called beautiful by your partner, and you have not accepted your own beauty yet, that is where your work lies. This is also where I would suggest seeking professional help, such as that of a therapist or coach to guide you through this journey.

Step 5: Set Realistic Expectations of Potential Rishtas and Your Future Spouse & Have a diverse support team!

Remember that your partner is also human. They may not be able to meet all of your needs all of the time, and that is perfectly normal! 

There is a reason we have mentioned in previous posts that you are the main character in your pyaar ki kahani, so start acting like it! (what a rhyme) You will soon realize that when you are filling your own cup following this guide, your healthy partner will naturally and much more easily respond to your requests.

This is why it is crucial to have a healthy support team, which includes your friends and/or family, a therapist, coach or mentor! That way, all of the pressure will not be on your spouse to meet all of your needs, and it will be a sigh of relief for all of you.

Step 6: Be intentional about communicating your needs (+ expert tips)

Ok, this step is a big one, too! To complete it successfully, you should first breathe. Rest assured that in a healthy relationship, your needs will be met. Doing this is an art that begins with a calm mindset and non-attachment to the outcome. You are taking care of yourself already, and you are a full circle all on your own 🙂

Next, find the right time to bring up your needs. You want to avoid doing it when your partner has not had their needs met (i.e. when they are sleepy, hungry, upset, etc.). Additionally, try to preface your ‘ask’ by expressing gratitude for your partner. What 1-3 things you are grateful to them for, in this moment?

Communicate your need by owning it, and using “I” statements. For example, “I feel ignored when you do not call me at a regular time every day,” or “It makes me feel rejected or unheard when you offer me advice instead of simply listening to me as I vent,” etc.

Then, work together to create a regular and sustainable plan to meet that need moving forward.

After this…

Step 7: Create space for meeting your partner’s needs.

Check in with them regarding their needs, what they need your help with, and yes, absolutely share this guide with them to empower your dream team!

Now that you have completed Steps 1-6 and filled your own cup, you are well-equipped to create a healthy space to help fulfill your partner’s needs, too!

When you notice them feeling low, you can gently ask them what they need from you and move towards providing that for them. A relationship is a game of doubles; you are covering for your partner, just as you want them to cover for you!

Step 8: Be consistent in meeting your own needs + asking for them within your relationship

This final step in The Secure Desi’s 8-Step Guide is all about sustainability. Help your budding relationship bloom by being consistent in following steps 1-7. If, at any point, you recognize that you are feeling resentful or unfulfilled, ask yourself: 

Am I meeting my own needs? What can I give myself in this very moment to feel safe, loved and taken care of? Follow it up by giving yourself just that and witness the state of your heart afterwards.

There you have it: the Secure Desi’s Ultimate Guide to meeting your own Needs without feeling selfish, guilty or too needy! 

As a relationship expert and coach, I strongly believe that healthy marriages will heal our world. At Rishta Auntie App, we know how hard it is to navigate the modern dating world; this is our motivation for creating relationship content that provides you with tremendous value. Our goal is to make the journey to the love of your life full of self-understanding, warmth and compassion.


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Want to learn more about Ramsha? Check out her website