Are you feeling stuck in your relationship because your partner is not making the changes you need to feel loved? End neediness to be more effective in getting the love you want from your partner.
A needy person is someone who does not have good skills for choosing partners, resolving conflict, keeping attraction, and using good boundaries. Instead, needy people are driven by their fear of losing their partners to become controlling or punishing. Although they believe they are doing this to save their relationship, their behavior actually drives their partners away. When they ultimately lose their partners, they re-create the same problems in new relationships. If you are part of such a cycle, you can learn to end neediness, become secure, and get the love you want.
Three Stages of Secure Relationships
Communication is more than giving information. In a relationship—every relationship—it is a way to regulate emotional distance or closeness. You can tell by the way a person talks to you if they are trying to become closer, more distant, or to maintain the same level of closeness/distance. New relationships go through a honeymoon period when talk is more affectionate, there is greater desire to be together, and less desire to be with others. This period is temporary and gives way to a period of adjustment if the relationship continues.
After the honeymoon period is over, communication becomes less affectionate. People feel more secure about the relationship, and start to focus on differences rather than similarities. It is a period of adjustment. The more similar and secure people are to begin with, the less intense and prolonged this period will be. The greater the differences, and the less secure the people, the longer this period will be–sometimes dragging out so long that the relationship dies in the process.
After the couple has accepted each others differences, they normally settle into a less intense, but more comfortable period of stability in which they can begin to work together on raising a family, having a business, or other ventures requiring trust and cooperation. They also will continue to date each other, talk daily, and have a good sex life. Needy people may never reach this stage because they remain stuck in the period of adjustment, lacking in acceptance, and continually trying to change their partners.
How Neediness Affects This Process
Needy people have a tendency to commit to people quickly, without shopping around for the best partner. As a result, they often have relationships with people who are significantly different from them. While this does not affect the honeymoon period, it makes the period of adjustment more difficult. Needy people are more bothered by differences and exert more emotional pressure to make their partners conform to their standards.
When needy people complain, control, or withdraw in efforts to coerce their partners into becoming more like they were during the honeymoon period, partners pull away. If the partner is also needy, the partner will also complain, control, or withdraw–escalating the problems. The result is a more distant relationship. The result of this distance varies depending on the personality and security of the needy person’s partner.
Common Patterns of a Prolonged Period of Adjustment
A secure partner will often make attempts to work on the relationship. When those fail, he or she may end the relationship outright, or have an affair. A secure partner is not likely to continue indefinitely in a relationship that he or she does not enjoy and in which he or she is made to feel not good enough by the needy partner.
A needy partner is less likely to end the relationship because of fears of being alone, just like the needy partner. These relationships are characterized by an intense period of conflict when each person is fighting to get their needs met, followed by a period of relative calm and making up, followed by intense conflict again. This creates a roller-coaster style of relationship that may go on for many years.
A roller coaster style of relationship is unlikely to go on indefinitely, and is usually ended by one of the needy partners getting their needs met by having an affair and achieving a new honeymoon period with someone else. The needy partner who is left behind will be ready to become affectionate to meet the adulterous partner’s previous demands, but by then it it too late.
End Neediness to Preserve Relationships
Secure dating, without committing quickly to any one person, and taking the time to shop around for a partner who is a good fit are some of the most important steps that single people can take to end neediness. The better the match, the fewer adjustments will need to be made later on. Contrary to popular belief, marriage does not smooth over differences–it makes them more pronounced.
Once in a committed relationship, it is very important not to become controlling, a complainer, or to punish your partner by withdrawing. Rather than change your partner into the way you want him or her to be, this will just push your partner away. Instead, it is important to learn how to end neediness by continuing to attract your partner while allowing acceptable differences, and using good boundaries for unacceptable differences.
Relationships Result from Good Relationship Skills, Not Luck
Needy people have a number of skills deficits which result in their not being able to attract secure partners, not being able to distinguish good potential partners from bad potential partners, not being able to manage conflict in a constructive way, not knowing how to keep a partner attracted once in a committed relationship, and not knowing how to use boundaries for unacceptable differences.
Each of these skills can be learned individually or together as a set of behaviors to end neediness. My book, Overcome Neediness and Get the Love You Want, is a good place to start to make the transformation from being needy to being secure. I have also included a chapter on how to help a needy partner to become more secure. If you would like more intensive help, I also offer a coaching package for overcoming neediness.
Neediness is not a disease or a disorder. Everyone is born needy, but most people have life experiences that result in their becoming mature and secure. If you did not, you are not stuck as an insecure person who immaturely handles relationship problems. You can begin to learn the very same skills that secure people use to have close, long lasting, loving relationships. Even learning a little can make a world of difference to your life satisfaction.