Peter and Eleni’s Infinite Conversation: Needs vs neediness – Part 2

You can read Part 1 on Eleni’s blog!

Dear Peter,

Ha! I’m fairly certain that some woman DID start this “needy is bad” movement. Do you think she trolled around her male friends whispering stuff like, “She asked you to respect her time when you were an hour late to meet her? Who does she think she is? The President?” or, “What the what? She has so much fun with you she wants to spend TWO days in a row with you? What a loser! Like, get a life, girlfriend.”

Seriously though, since you’re unclear about what “needy” means, I thought I would enlighten you. I’ve been called “needy” so much in life I’m surprised there isn’t a picture of me in the dictionary biting some guy’s neck and draining all his blood. (Someone should make that happen!)

But it’s a good visual because that is what “needy” basically is. It’s when someone is unable to sustain themselves without someone else. In romantic case, they are unable to function “normally” without their lover.

So yes, “needy” is, as you said, expressing your needs to the extreme. But it also starts with simply having extreme needs.

And this is what I want Angela to consider. Are her needs extreme? Is it really extreme to want to spend “every day” with someone you’ve recently just fallen in love with? I think that is a perfectly normal need that most people feel in the honeymoon phase of a relationship. Has Angela quit her job to spend “every day” with him? Has she asked him to quit his? Has she stopped sleeping, taking showers and eating to spend “every day” with him? Has she asked him to do that?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say: No, she hasn’t. Ergo, her needs are not extreme. And she need not worry about being “needy

Angela, enjoy this feeling while it lasts because, well…it doesn’t last. And remember, you can’t be independent without the word dependent. Just be honest with yourself: Which needs do you know he can fulfill (and want him to) and which needs do you know he can’t? Do other people fulfill those that he can’t? Which ones do you fulfill all by yourself?

As long as you’ve got those answers straight in your mind, you can never be needy. And don’t let anyone make you feel any different.

All my love,
Eleni

—–

Dear Eleni,

It’s funny but I’ve known women with a lot of male friends who do seem to spend a great deal of time pointing out that some women are going to be “drama.” (And have poor fashion sense, as if that matters to us.) I thought that it was so they wouldn’t have to share the male attention. But maybe they are part of the “needy conspiracy!” How deep does this thing go??

I find your “hour late” example interesting. I am quite sure that no one I’ve ever dated would put up with making them wait for an hour without a very good reason. And I don’t think I’d want to date someone who would. Maybe a willingness to express her needs is something I look for in a woman? (And found in my girlfriend.)

Oh yeah, we’re talking about Angela!

I’m still a bit confused about her initial question. To whom is she worried about seeming “needy?”

To him? To herself?

Either way, if she’s spending time worrying about this, that is time she isn’t using to bask. Bask!

My advice?

Sit him down and say something like, “Hi. I am not sure if I’ve ever wanted to spend this much time with anyone before. (Our egos love this.) But I’ve been a solo artist for a few years and it is a bit of an adjustment. So if you need a night off to be with your friends, or whatever, just let me know.”

Or better yet:

“Hi. I am not sure if I’ve ever wanted to spend this much time with anyone before. But I’ve been a solo artist for a few years and it is a bit of an adjustment. So if you need a night off to be with your friends, or whatever, just let me know… I’ll be chilling at home in my sexiest undergarments. ”

You know, just for fun.

Sincerely,
Peter

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6 Responses

  1. Angela says:

    I don’t think I need to add anything else to this half of the conversation (see my comments in part 1!) but I do want to point out that Peter’s suggestion is EXACTLY what had happened when I brought this suggestion to him.

    We had the situation of him saying “look I just want to be alone, I’m stressed out from work and I don’t want to have to figure out what to do with you and have to solve your problems right now” and I responded with “holy crap I just need you to be ok with me telling you my problems and you can have alone time whenever you want! Just tell me when. I’ve got xbox to play and bathrooms to clean. I’m just totally new at this ‘I love you’ relationship thing and I want to spend time with you whenever I can.”

    And then we were ok, and told each other when we needed alone time, and made plans with other people without feeling guilty, and when we were apart I text him I was thinking about him in sexy undergarments, and now I think Peter can read my mind and I’ve gotta go freak out.

    Thanks for entertaining my idea/situation on the blogs!

  2. Felisa says:

    My first thought was: The differences between being needy vs being in love/being in the honeymoon stage is similar to the differences being alcohol-dependent/an alcoholic and being a heavy drinker.

    No, seriously!

    I think I’ve covered most of what I wanted to say in the first one. I just had to add that as unpopular as it is because we all like to be the judges of what is healthy, I’ve found that it is an unhealthy exercise to overthink who healthily needs and who overdoes it. (see what I did there?)

    There’s always so much talk about “well that’s just unhealthy” when it comes to the dynamics of relationships. Health is a condition with reference to something soundness — who are we to judge the health/soundness of the relationship of others?**

    For some, being able to eat, drink, sleep, poop, work and pay bills independent of your romantic interest is not being needy. For others, not being needy entails being able to last a few days without freaking out over the absence of your lover. There’s quite a range and it’s a matter of matching up people who require equal amounts of what is needed and equal amounts of what is willing to be provided to the one who needs. We don’t want to burn out a person from whom too much is being asked and we also don’t want to make someone feel neglected from having the fulfillment of their needs be withheld.

    **There are exceptions such as abusive relationships obviously do not fall under gray areas, of course.

  3. Kate says:

    So… I”m confused… In relationships… whats (I’m loathed to use this word) normal? Is it normal to assume you’re going to spend time together unless otherwise specified? Or is it normal to “make space” in your life for that someone special? I’m of the later camp… which may explain why I’m still single… is this where the penny drops?

  4. Ulli says:

    There is a lot of overthinking happening. Usually I would overthink situations and those relationships never lasted…if I had to “think” about wanting alone time, having to explain or what not…..having to explain that I WANT to be with him a lot….that never worked out for me.

    The relationships that have worked are the ones where I don’t have to think at all. I don’t worry and I don’t think. it’s all really natural and mutual.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I think the need/neediness issue is complicated by societal factors as well as relationship history. We’re all affected by our past experiences, in ways we don’t always realize, and that plays into current relationships.

  1. September 10, 2012

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