A friend was relaying a story of his 29-year-old son’s dating life. His son was having a hard time meeting young ladies who weren’t needy or clingy. My friend suggested his son date women 3-5 years older. His thinking, older, more experienced women would be more self-assured and less clingy.
His son met a woman who is 32 and they begin to date. Within two weeks this older, more mature woman was texting him repeatedly during the day. Texting or calling on the weekend asking where he was and why they weren’t together.
Needless to say, the relationship ended within a month and from what I understand this young woman thought my friend’s son was being unreasonable when he expected her to not text and call him at work.
There is nothing wrong with being vulnerable in a relationship, especially with someone you consider or wish to be your lover and partner. But vulnerability must be a two-way street. Relationships work when both partners can count on each other and the power dynamic is more or less equal. When one or the other is too needy or clingy, relationships don’t last long.
What Can You Do To Keep From Being Needy in a New or Established Relationship?
Be an Adult: Respect your partner the way you expect to be respected and treated. If he needs space sometimes, find the strength to give it to him.
Give Space: If you have an issue with a person who is not a great talker, then strike when the iron is cold. He may be open to a discussion when you are both less regressed and angry and the atmosphere is more relaxed. So, just because you feel the need to talk doesn’t mean you have to talk RIGHT NOW. Heavy conversation go better when both parties are open to engaging.
Get Therapy: If you are needy and in love, look closely at your family of origin which may have been a source of hurt that is being triggered now that you’ve entered the field of intimacy. He can’t fix your wound, only you can.
Watch Out for Depression and Anxiety: Depression and anxiety are more common than you may realize and can interfere with stable thinking. Both can injure your self-esteem and make you needy — and both can be treated; it can only help your relationship.
Your Partner May Be Part of the Problem: Most relationship issues are created by two people. Does he have narcissistic tendencies that make you feel second best? Or, perhaps, he’s simply not into you, and it is time to grieve this relationship. Facing hard facts is often better than feeling tortured day in and day out.
Abuse is not Acceptable: If your partner is physically, verbally or sexually abusive, you must get help and find safety. Your neediness may be part of a dependency that gives him terrible power over you. Under these circumstances, you will probably need outside help. Get it.
The Good News: Most neediness is small and annoying, not life-threatening. If you are in a terribly malignant relationship, get out. But, if your partner is more or less normal, neediness can be a burden that he simply can’t handle.
If you are willing to save your relationship, acknowledge that your excessive possessiveness is detrimental to the relationship. Seeking the appropriate professional help can help guide you onto the right track to save your relationship or marriage.
Do your personal work. Give space. And, love him for his needs as well as yours.
It may just work out.
This article originally appeared on Divorced Moms
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