Need Satisfaction Dependence Model Applied

(Drigotas and Rusbault)

An adaptation . . .


  1. Take some time (usually a day or more) to write down your most important needs.  The list should be at least 6 items long, but no longer than 10. 
  2. You have 100% (think of it as a pie) to divide among all the needs you listed.  The higher the percentage you assign to a need, the more important it is to you.  The total should add up to 100% again.  Again, the added distributed percentages for all needs listed should add up to the total – 100%. 
  3. The next part is to write a percentage from 0% to 100% FOR EACH NEED.  So, say one need is sex.  You might write down that that need is being satisfied 40% in your current relationship.  You have 100% for each need on this one.
  4. Write down how well those needs (in terms of percentage again) could be satisfied in another relationship.  As in the previous step, you have from 0% - 100% for each need.  This step can be done in two ways.  For one, you can do it in terms of people you know now or people you could know pretty fast.  The second way is to rate the needs according to how well a future potential “perfect” mate might ultimately (but realistically!) satisfy your needs. 
  5. Okay, now for the math part.  Take the first percentage (the pie one) and multiply it times the satisfaction percentage (0-100), but keep the latter as a whole number (like 80) and not a decimal or percentage.  Do that for all items/needs (sum) and you get a number of your current relationship satisfaction.  Then do it again, for the other two columns  Compare the three numbers. 



% divided up

100% total

Currently met (100%)

Possibly met current (100%)

Possibly met other/future (100%)











Emotional involvement




















Same values/attitudes 











  • Intimacy - Sharing very personal thoughts, feelings, and secrets.
  • Sex - Sharing a sex life (anything from holding hands through intercourse)
  • Emotional Involvement - Feeling emotionally attached to each other; feeling good when one’s partner feels good, feeling bad when one’s partner feels bad.
  • Companionship - Doing things together, spending leisure time together, enjoying each other’s company.
  • Security - A relationship you can count on, one that makes your life more stable and comfortable.
  • Self-worth - A relationship that makes you feel good about yourself (someone likes you the way you are).
  • Values/attitudes  - Share the same viewpoints on things from politics, to people, to things
  • Physical – Find each other physically attractive and desirable

These are not the only considerations . . . there are factors such a cultural rules around separation, family complications, children, work, and many others.

Likewise, the “Possible” category likely included how it could end up if you worked on it together.  If you got professional help, and dedicated yourself to becoming stronger individuals for one another, that might significantly change what is possible in the relationship.  If your goal is to change the other person so you’ll be happier, your path is likely a very steep uphill journey.

Overall, this is a thoughtful guide/self-reflection, rather than an exact calculus and decision matrix.