We’ve all been there.
You’re seeing a guy… a guy you really like. Things were going well, but then maybe he started acting a little distant and pulling away and this triggered something in you and you started acting very desperate and needy, which made everything worse.
You try to undo your mistake and fix the situation. And usually, you make yourself look even more desperate. Maybe you apologize, maybe you try to make it up to him by being the sweetest most amazing woman he’s even known, maybe you’re overly accommodating (not realizing that once again, you’re being too needy and desperate), and worst of all, you obsess about it endlessly.
So let’s talk it through and get to the heart of what’s really going on and how to fix it.
First, let’s just talk about what neediness is. I think when we hear the term neediness we think of Kate Hudson’s character Andy Anderson in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” We picture a clingy, crazy woman making a fool of herself in pursuit of the man she loves.
But neediness is not a set of behaviors, it’s a mindset. A mindset that poisons everything
The needy mindset is “I am not OK and I need you to respond to me in a certain way in order to feel OK. And if you don’t, you will suffer.”
How it manifests is a woman is seeing a guy, things are going well, then she really starts to catch feelings, and then she starts to worry that he won’t reciprocate. Or maybe he does something that triggers these feelings in her, maybe he becomes less available (and even if this has nothing to do with her, she takes it personally), maybe he’s less responsive, maybe he isn’t taking as much initiative.
When a woman has a low opinion of herself, she doesn’t trust that things will work out for her. Now all of a sudden she can no longer enjoy her time with him, she just feels anxious and on edge, she’s always looking for signs that he’s losing interest, waiting for the other shoe to drop… waiting to be ghosted or broken up with because deep down, she doesn’t think she’ll get the love she wants.
After these feelings build up over time, she snaps. Maybe he takes too long to text her back one day and she notices he’s been active on social media… which means he has his phone, he’s just choosing not to reply to her, and then she snaps. She comes at him with a barrage of angry texts and now all of a sudden this guy is like, Woah, what’s going on here?
He feels a little put off, so maybe he’s taking a little space and she takes this as a sign that he has lost interest so now she’s beating herself up over the fact that she acted too needy and she vows she’ll never do it again, maybe she apologizes to him, and if things do get back on track, she is walking on eggshells because she’s too scared to be that need girl again
When a man feels that energy coming from a woman early in a relationship, it feels like coercion – he either has to give in and act how you want him to act or deal with you being upset.
For example, he can’t just focus on work because he has to worry that if you text him and he doesn’t see it and doesn’t respond right away, he’s going to have to deal with you being upset
So what do you do about it?
First — don’t apologize. It won’t get you anywhere, it won’t erase anything in his mind. Men hear actions louder than words.
If you did something really egregious or maybe you blew up at him in your needy state, then sure, apologize, but then move past it. Don’t keep having conversations about it.
And then just stop acting needy. Just turn it around.
Now that’s easier said than done. You need to get to the heart of the neediness.
- What am I so afraid of?
- Where is this fear coming from?
- How can I find fulfillment in my life so I’m not relying on him to give it to me?
- What will happen if this relationship doesn’t work out?
Maybe the thought of losing him terrifies you… so unpack that a little more. Why is that so scary? What will that mean to you? And if he does leave… what will happen? After the sadness and despair, you will pick yourself up and move on and you will be OK. That’s what you need to remember.
Next, make a plan for how you will go about having a more fulfilling life. This will increase your feelings of self-esteem and will stop you from relying so heavily on a relationship to fill you up.
The obsession grows in vacant space. If you have an emotional void, you will outsource the task of filling it to others. But no one can give you things like self-worth or even happiness. These things come from within. Neediness is caused by not feeling OK, but feeling like something essential is missing. So try to give yourself those missing ingredients.
A good place to start is asking yourself: what does my ideal day look like?
What time do you wake up? Who do you hang out with? What do you do? Where do you go?
Try to visualize your perfect day from start to finish. And then try to incorporate elements of your ideal day into your daily life as much as you can.
I know it’s not always easy to fit in these things because we have work and school and other obligations, but try to carve out any space you can. Tap into the things that bring you joy.
Happiness doesn’t just happen, it’s a conscious choice we make that is comprised of a multitude of choices we make throughout the day.
When a guy sees that you have more going on in your life aside from him, he will no longer feel that strain and that pressure and you will be “redeemed” for your previous needy behavior.
The mistake so many of us make is looking to him- how is he feeling? What is he thinking? Does he still want me?
But really, we need to look within- why do I feel this pull toward him? Why do I not feel OK unless I hear from him? What needs is he fulfilling for me?
Look inward at yourself and start doing the work. Focus on filling yourself up rather than on figuring out how he’s feeling.
If you have this mindset shift, everything will work out.