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Why Do People Leave?

Stacey Martino


I had the absolute pleasure today of being interviewed for an upcoming article in Soulwoman Magazine.  Towards the end of the interview the woman asked me a question that no one has ever asked me on an interview before, and she asked it in an interesting way.

She said that when she informally poled her audience to ask them what they would be interested in asking a love and passion expert if they had the chance, there was one question that people asked more than any other.

“Why do people leave?”

In fact when she asked me the question, she prefaced it with the statement, “this is a question that you probably can’t answer because it’s different in every situation, but…”

However, I absolutely can answer that question.  It’s a simple answer, in fact.  And it applies in EVERY situation.  In fact, it’s so universal, that it not only applies in every intimate relationship situation, it applies to every human relationship situation period.

People leave because their needs are not being met at high levels consistently.  They leave when they reach the point that they have given up the hope that they will ever get their needs met at high levels, consistently within the relationship.  PERIOD.

What do I mean by getting their needs met?

Human Needs Psychology teaches that all humans have six basic human needs.  These are not wants or preferences.  They do not vary by culture, gender or anything else.  They are HUMAN needs, and they are as follows:

  1. Certainty:  The need to know that you can be comfortable and safe.
  2. Uncertainty/Variety: The need for positive surprise and change.
  3. Significance: The need to be important, wanted, needed, unique and to matter.
  4. Connection/Love:  The need to be loved, or at least connect with another human.
  5. Growth: It’s a universal law, everything is either growing or it’s dying.
  6. Contribution: The need to give beyond oneself in order to feel fulfilled.

All humans have the same six needs, that’s what makes us similar.  However, there are millions of ways that we have to meet those needs and zillions of rules that we have about how those needs must be met.  All those combinations of vehicles and rules are what make every human UNIQUE.

So, back to why people leave people in intimate relationship.

When you are not getting your 6 human needs met within your relationship at high levels, on a consistent basis, and you have given up the hope of getting those needs met in that relationship…that’s when people leave (physically or just emotionally).

Think about each need in terms of a zero to ten scale. Let’s say that ten means that need is fully met and zero means the need is not being met at all (and there are minus categories).

If someone’s intimate relationship was meeting all six of their human needs at 7s or higher on a consistent basis…are they going to leave that relationship?

If they had so much certainty & security in their relationship.  And there was fun variety and surprise all the time.  They knew that they were the most significant thing in their partner’s world, above everything else.  They felt so loved by their partner, every day, beyond their dreams.  They were always growing together and contributing together.  Is that person just going to pick up and say “Nah, I’m outta here!”


Even if you weren’t getting ALL six of your needs met at high levels, but you were getting MOST of them met within your intimate relationship, you wouldn’t leave that relationship!

Studies show that ANYTHING that meets at least 3 of your 6 human needs at an 8 or higher on a consistent basis will become an addiction for you.  That could be running, eating, shopping, working, a hobby, going out with friends, a sport, anything!

So, that “unanswerable” question…”Why do people leave?”

Do you see it differently now?  People leave because their needs are not being met at high levels, consistently within their intimate relationship…and they have given up the hope that they will be.

What’s the solution?

Start meeting your partner’s needs at high levels on a consistent basis! Move your scores up!

In fact, do this quick exercise with me.  For each of the 6 needs, score YOURSELF on a 0-10 scale.  How well are you meeting your partner’s needs on a consistent basis?  What would THEY say? Be careful here.  I’m not asking you what you are giving.  I’m asking you to step into their shoes and really feel it…

  • How much certainty do they feel coming from your relationship 0 – 10?
  • How much positive variety and surprise do they get from your relationship 0 – 10?
  • Do they feel like they are your #1, more important than everyone and everything in your world? How significant do they feel 0-10?
  • How loved do they feel by you on a consistent basis, 0 – 10?
  • How much do they feel they are growing with you, 0-10?
  • How much fulfillment and sense of contribution do you feel they experience in your relationship on a consistent basis? 0 – 10

If you have scores that are 7 and higher, congratulations! These are real strengths for you and you should keep doing what works!

If you have scores that are in the 5 – 6 range, these are areas of improvement for you.  You’re most likely GIVING to your partner.   You’re just not giving what they need, the way they need it.  Most people GIVE what they want to give in relationship and not what their partner needs to receive! This might be a great opportunity for you to check in with your partner and ask them “what can I do to move my scores up!”

If you have scores that are 4 and under, these are your red flags.  Your relationship is vulnerable here and you know it.  It’s time to do some detective work.  Step into your partners shoes and figure out what you can GIVE to meet their needs at higher levels to move your scores up.

You now have what we refer to as your Relationship Map.  You know where you are (your current scores) and you know where you want to go (7s and higher in all categories).

When you are consistently meeting your partner’s human needs at 7s and higher, your relationship is “divorce-proof”, so to speak.  You will have a “love-slave”! They will be addicted to you and never leave you!

By the way, when you meet someone’s needs at high levels consistently, they will also feel COMPELLED to do the same for you! So go ahead and pour it in, you’ll be amazed at the result!

I hope this serves you today sweetie! Post a comment below and let me know what you think about my answer to “why people leave”!

Sending love,