5 Ways to Become Less Emotionally Needy in Relationships

How has needing someone or expressing your needs become such a bad thing? Is it so bad that we are hardwired to need people and feel connected? When we use the word ‘needed’ most people say, but I don’t want to seem needy.

However, feeling loved and needed is far from being needy.

But then again, feeling needed gets a bad rap. But, let’s set the record straight.

Being overly emotionally needy – too demanding, clingy, annoying, fragile – can spell disaster for your relationship.

Who want’s that? Being with someone who is excessively needy is excessively exhausting. Those relationships either burn out fast or take a slow burn and get to a place where a person feels suffocated. The need to run grows exponentially every day until, one day they run. They leave the relationship because they simply cannot keep up with the neediness or the demands of the other person. This is NOT being in a healthy relationship nor expressing your needs in a healthy way.

Being a healthy person means standing on your own, being able to tolerate aloneness, and manage your own ‘sh*t.

Simply put, that’s how healthy relationships thrive and grow. Our ability to express our needs and being independent inside of a relationship and thus creating an interdependent relationship is key. And our personality and attachment style – our style based on how we learned to relate to our parents and how emotionally available they were – is critical in our ability to express our needs in a healthy way and not create an overdose of neediness.

So, to understand the ‘neediness negative factor’ in relationships, it’s important to understand our attachment style. After all, first things first.

Three attachment styles: secure, anxious, and avoidant help create how secure or insecure we feel in relationships. Secure people present themselves as warm and loving and were most likely raised with caregivers that were consistently caring and responsive. Avoidant people often come across as dismissive, often minimize closeness and were raised in an environment that was less emotional and one in which insecurity and neediness were not tolerated.

 

Anxious people are the ones that present and who more often than not seen as overly needy. Some of the key characteristics are:

  • They minimize or deny their needs and look to others to fill their emotional gaps and emptiness in a way that often becomes manipulative.
  • They worry about their partner’s love and ‘search out’ for all the mannerisms and nuances that might indicate that their partner doesn’t love them.
    They are often emotionally overwhelmed and will reach out and ‘need’ their partner more to make them feel secure or constantly remind them of how they feel.
  • They are insecure and overly sensitive to any slight.
    They typically had parents (or a parent) who was inconsistently nurturing. This created inner angst and turmoil and contributed to their anxiety – especially around relationships.

 

For the partner? They feel emotionally tapped out and overwhelmed by their neediness. They are worn out. And yet, anxious people do the very thing they know they shouldn’t do – they push their partner away. But it’s like they cannot stop themselves. In their mind, they might be screaming, ‘stop doing this’, ‘don’t be so needy’, ‘don’t keep asking he/she the same question’. Their behaviors are very counterproductive, yet in the moment, it sounds like a good idea and feels so comforting – for them. However, their partner experiences something very different. What is their partner saying to themselves? RUN. RUN. RUN. Because no matter how much their try, it just isn’t enough. It never is. You cannot encourage growth, compliment them, or reassure them – enough. They have an insatiable and exhausting emotional ‘neediness.’

 

Not quite sure? Ask yourself these questions:

• Do you look at your romantic partner to make you happy?
• Do you look to your partner to fulfill all your needs in love, sex, and support?
• Do you look to your partner for constant reassurance and validation? Are you looking for others to make you feel good about yourself – always looking outside ‘self’ for reassurance? And even if you get it, do depend on it all the time? Do you feel abandoned if your partner is not available? Are you afraid your partner will not be there for you?
• Do you get upset if your partner doesn’t react in a certain way, doesn’t meet a need?
• If you are alone, do you do things to fill the void with other distractions? Or when alone, do you go over past conversations or worry that he/she might leave? Is it difficult to be alone?
• Is your relationship the center of your universe? What about your relationship with other friends or family? friends or your kids?
• Does it bother you if you are not included in your partner’s plans?
• Do you get jealous of things that he/she is doing without you?

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Kristin Davin, Psy.D.https://kristindavin.com
Dr. Davin is a Solution Focused Therapist and Coach. She specializes in couples counseling, personal and work related relationship and dating challenges. Helping her clients focus on solutions rather than problems, helps people get to a healthier place, faster.
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