Communication vs. Being Needy… where is that fine line.

relationships are perplexing. and scary.

relationships are perplexing. and scary.

Every where you look there’s relationship advice for everyone, being shouted from every medium you can imagine. The internet, television talk shows, books, magazines even Buddist podcasts will sometimes broach the subject. So much of this advice stems on communication. Speaking to each other, saying what’s on your mind and and how you feel. Don’t be afraid to voice your doubts or tell your new love what is bothering you the experts, bloggers and writers tell you. The more you talk about these things the better your connection will be with your significant other. You need to communicate they say.

But then there’s the other side of this coin. The side of the “needy” partner who is always doubting. Always unsure and uncertain. Someone who needs to hear from you 24/7 and needs to be constantly told what they mean to you. Often these people are jealous and slowly they start to manipulate your time and your energy. The relationship becomes all about their needs and soon you loose yourself to them. At least this is what I have seen in the relationships of friends… and what I’ve experienced in a few of my own romantic encounters.

Thing is – where is that fine line where you can communicate what you are feeling without being needy? For fear of being seen as needy, I’ve always erred on the side on not voicing my thoughts or concerns, just going with the flow until there’s no balance in the relationship anymore. It’s just all for the other person and I’m left voiceless and drained. Even when I try to say what my head is thinking it falls on deaf ears since the boyfriend is used to me not having a real voice. Until I eventually snap out of it and sometimes snap out loud, my passionate side demanding to kick out the 50’s housewife wanna be that’s taken over my body and that is the end of things.

This has been pretty typical of the handful of real relationships I’ve had, with one going a bit too far into the world of a Law and Order SUV episode… and one a potential Criminal Minds season finale.

maybe if i close my eyes and make a kissy face my knight will find me....

maybe if i close my eyes and make a kissy face my knight will find me

So I always wonder, in a healthy open relationship how do you communicate the things that are bothering you or the things you’re wondering about without being perceived as “needy”? How do you tell your lover it bothers you when you don’t hear from them when they say they were going to call? How can you express your fears that come from the place of raw scars that are still pink and healing? How can you bear your soul to the person you feel is closest to you without scaring them away because your emotions are real?

This perplexes me to no end. Yet, I’ve heard this is a thing. That we can talk about the hard things and ask the questions that keep us up at night without pushing this person you have feelings for away. And you have to say these things. When you don’t tell them what’s bothering you, that’s only going to get in the way of any communication you might have because it’s there, lingering, keeping you from truly opening up. Then the relationship is doomed anyway.

So where is that fine line of communicating but not being seen as needy? Romance novels don’t help because the needy are always the ones who win the prince. In real life, the prince might have been scarred by a needy psycho bitch who’s made him fear anyone who asks any questions. Guess I’ll stay perplexed and try tip toeing that line, hoping I’m more on the open communication side than the other.

Any thoughts? I might sound needy but I’d love to hear them.


4 thoughts on “Communication vs. Being Needy… where is that fine line.

  1. A thoughtful piece… It stands out to me that “sounding needy” is characterized as a negative thing when having needs is what makes us human. Here are a couple of other thoughts.
    First, disappointment is always the difference between what you expect and what you get. I suggest that holding back, even if it’s from a questionable desire to not appear “needy,” helps to create the false expectation that you may not want a lot of communication. Then, when you can’t hold back from having contained yourself, there is potential for disappointment (by the partner) because the outburst was unexpected. I suggest that, early in a relationship, efforts be made by the partners to understand what to expect of each other.
    To achieve successful communication, the size of the subject to be explored must fit the available time, so I suggest that relationship partners need to set aside time, yes schedule time, to communicate. Big subjects will need more time, little ones less. I’ve known it to work well. I suggest maintaining a meeting time as well as a continuing agenda (a notebook in a private but shared space). I believe that it helps to begin with “business” items (household issues, bills, sharing of responsibilities, schedules) and an “other” section in which you talk about issues of an emotional or spiritual nature (issues influenced by your history, trying to achieve understanding on something important, handling relationships with family and others).
    What I’ve seen happen is that the meeting becomes a safety valve for the relationship. Because the partners agreed to talk about their shared agenda at a mutually acceptable time, there are fewer instances of having feelings of being rejected – because you know there will be a time to talk. There is less difficulty bringing up stuff and, because the agenda is shared, there are no surprises. I’ve seen it happen where a partner says “let’s talk about that in our Saturday brunch meeting,” and an argument is avoided because the partners know they will have the time needed to deal with the issue later at the mutually agreed time.
    The trick in getting to this place is building agreement with your partner, preferably early in a relationship, on the importance of communication: talking about how often and how long and how in depth works for each of you. I think “early” is a pretty good time to bring it up. Early in a relationship I believe a prospective partner is more eager to please, more open to hearing what will please you. It’s not a first date topic. This is a 3rd or 4th date topic, I think. This approach prevents problems before they happen or before they get too big to handle. Anyway, I appreciate your openness and hope you find something helpful here.

    • that makes so much sense… when you get insecure about someone’s intentions then you do start to feel needy as you start to questions things.

      I have also seen the other side and experienced someone who was needy from the start, to a point it was controlling… but that is definitely the far end of the spectrum.

      thanks for reading:) and taking the time to comment.

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