Explaining needy relationships – why relationship based on need are no relationships at all

Generally, people get into relationships for one of two reasons:

  1. because they simply enjoy being with and sharing their lives with someone; or
  2. because they have an inner need that they expect their partner to fulfil.

What kind of needs do people often expect their partner to meet? It may be a need for approval, validation, security, identity or praise. This need may come from a place of fear, failure or rejection.

Relationships based on need tend to show excessive clinginess and an expectation that their partner will fill the needy partner's "need cup" and make them feel better about themselves.

What a needy partner is really saying is:

  • I need your approval to make me feel better
  • I need you to validate who I am and what I do so I can feel more secure and confident
  • My fear of rejection is so great that I will do whatever you want me to do - even if it goes against what I want or believe in - so that you won't reject me
  • I will lose my identity and become the person I think you want me to be, so you won't leave me

Clearly, this is not a healthy relationship, and will ultimately hurt both partners and likely destroy the relationship itself.

But why is this type of relationship so bad?

In a relationship based on need, interactions with out partner are filtered through a lens of 'what you can do for me'. The impulse is to focus on pleasing our partners, by delating our own happiness, so they will love and accept us as well as demanding that they sacrifice to meet our needs. Every conversation is defined by selectively trying to hear how our partner is not fulfilling your need. You may miss what they are actually saying and what they are actually contributing to the relationship. They will often become frustrated by the fact that they are speaking and not being heard, leading to fights and misunderstandings.

These situations leave both partners feeling angry and frustrated, and the unresolved problems can escalate with every ensuing fight.

The bottom line is simple and important: a partner can never fill person's needs. No matter how someone nags, begs or engages in other negative behaviour to try and get their needs filled, it simply can't be done by someone else. The need partner will feel angry, disappointed and frustrated because their needs are not being met, and their partner will be emotionally drained, angry and frustrated because of unrealistic expectations that it really isn't their role to fulfil.

Each person need to meet his or her own needs.

You need to be able to love yourself. You need to get to know and accept yourself as a beautiful and unique human being. You need to accept that you have everything you need within yourself to be who you want to be and live the life you want. It is powerful and empowering to acknowledge that you are responsible for your own life, and for how you react to external things over which you have no control. This includes your thoughts, actions and emotions and your commitment to growing closer and more connected to those you love.

This foundation allows you and your partner to build a shared vision together that includes you both. When each of you has a strong sense of self, that is when you each are looking our for and wanting the best for the other. You are able to be open, honest and vulnerable in your relationship and handle intimacy without fear. Real magic happens between you.

Healthy relationships help us grow stronger and better as individuals, and bring that strength and a 'better me' back to the relationship in a virtuous cycle of continuous personal growth.

If you recognise that you have been defined by your own needs in a relationship, or perhaps have a partner who is focused on needs, it can be a challenging to find a place to start building a healthier relationship. Let us at Metanao help you to identify the good in yourself so that you can being to love who you are and have the kind of relationship you want.

Call us on 0439 294 532 now to book your FREE 15 minute consultation.

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