Unmet emotional needs are the crux of countless relationship breakups. When these needs are going unmet, after all, it can seem like your partner is self-absorbed or callous. In reality they may simply be clueless.

Many marital squabbles are rooted in the fact that the man and woman don’t understand the other's emotional needs,' John Gray, a family therapist and author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venustold USA Today.

For women, Gray says, emotional needs include to feel cared for, understood and respected. Men, on the other hand, need to feel trusted, accepted and appreciated.

The problems arise not so much because of an inability to fulfill these basic needs, but because we often don’t recognize them in our partner. To further complicate matters, many people don’t express their needs, either fearing their partner’s reaction or assuming their partner “should just know.”

“Both men and woman hold back from expressing what they need in relationships for numerous reasons. One of the most common is doubt in the ability of our partner to fulfill or support us based on our past beliefs and experiences,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates.

“We also hold back from expressing our needs based on our own past disappointments and our parent’s mistakes in relationships,” he continues. “Most of us have never actually seen a viable model of what a healthy mutually supportive relationship is.”

For most couples, then, the ONLY way to make sure both people are having their needs met is to tell each other what their needs are. It sounds simple enough, but it often does not happen.

Are You Making This Vital Mistake?

Have you ever sat down and expressed your needs to your partner, and vice versa?

If the answer is no, now is the time to begin this essential communication. Ideally, do this in person and write down your needs first. This way your mind can be fully present and focused on the conversation, not on remembering what you want to say.

“The best way to get what you want in a relationship is to communicate openly and honestly -- yet not accusingly -- in a style that your partner can understand,” Dwoskin says.

To avoid the conversation turning into an argument, or one of you becoming defensive, first use The Sedona Methodto let go.

“The best way to open yourself to real communication with your partner is by letting go of your pictures from the past and your fear of being disappointed,” Dwoskin says. “Then communication can come from a clean slate.”

“Start by asking questions about what your partner is interested in giving,” Dwoskin continues, “and also how they prefer to be communicated with and then simply stay open and keep releasing.”

For the best results, share The Sedona Method with your partner as well. While you can experience improvements in your relationshipjust from using The Sedona Method on your own, some of the greatest relationshipsare those in which both partners are adept at releasing and letting go.