At one time or another, most of us have found ourselves in a relationship where we can't help but feel clingy and needy, most often because we're insecure about our partner's feelings. But this is never to our advantage. Unfortunately, this usually has the opposite result of what we want, aggravating and pushing our significant other away.
Learning how to stop being needy and clingy is more than just a decision. Clinginess is a reaction to need, and need is a feeling we can’t always control.
This is why learning how to get your needs met is so vital. So is building your own self-esteem so you can frolic in a healthy relationship instead of wallow in an unstable one.
Unfortunately, many people assume that asking a partner to meet their needs will put an unfair pressure on them, a pressure that will leave the foundation of a union cracked.
Then everything — the love, bond, and trust — comes tumbling down. But, the irony is, in order to learn how to stop being needy, you must learn how to demand that your needs are indeed met. Yep, not expressing need creates neediness.
When we don’t express our needs and ask our partner to fulfill something, we stay locked in a state of need. That’s what creates neediness in a relationship.
For example, a woman who wants to tell the man she’s dating that she loves him might find herself unable to sleep, struggling at work, or distracted. She’ll definitely find herself insecure about her relationship.
Expressing her heart, on the other hand, removes this burden and transforms the partnership. It also allows the relationship to blossom into the next stage.
Part of this is when you’re being honest with yourself, you’re allowing your authentic self to be realized and that is so important in love and life. Be happy. Be sappy. Be hurt. Be a flirt. Be playful. Be graceful. The point is: be true and be you.
When you fail to learn how to express yourself, you fail to learn how to love as well. And then the relationship simply fades quietly into the night.
Being authentic and in touch with your needs is a skill we must learn; it’s scary to put yourself out there. It’s also very, very necessary. So, in order to re-frame your relationship and your role in it, ask yourself what it is you truly want.
Do you want to be heard? Do you want presence (or presents!)? Do you want clearer communication? Expressing your needs allows you and your partner to learn where you stand with each other.
And it’s different than putting overt pressure on somebody. But why? What makes something a burden versus clear communication about one’s needs?
It comes down to this: when you’re asking someone to meet your needs, are you asking them to do something they’re uncomfortable with? When you’re asking someone to meet your needs, are you making assumptions about their intentions?
In other words, the key to clear communication is to ensure that the other person is okay and that you’re not making a request based on assumptions (or assigned blame).
Luckily, the latter is easily resolved. Assuming is a curable condition: talking is the remedy.
In other words, there is a huge difference between saying, “You never listen to me,” and “I’m feeling a little insecure and I think I could use some more attention from you.”
One elicits defensiveness; the other does not. One prevents you from owning your experience; the other does not.
It’s not just words that help you do this, either. Most communication, the vast majority, is nonverbal — it’s not what you say but how you say it (your tone, your gestures).
This is why communicating face to face is always better than doing so over email or text; technology removes nonverbal communication from the equation and sets the stage for misunderstandings.
Communicating your needs in a way that owns them and doesn’t attack or blame the other person provides an opportunity for growth. It also allows your partner to step up and meet those needs, something they’ll want to do if your relationship is worthy.
If they don’t step up (or they accuse you of pressuring them when your communication is clear and you-centric), then it might be time to reassess your union.
Maybe you have different visions for the relationship. Maybe you’re at different stages in your life. Maybe the guy or gal who works at the coffee shop and always draws a heart on your chai latte is a better fit.
If that bridge appears, it’s one you’ll have to decide to cross.
Ideally, your partner will jump at the opportunity to meet your needs (and you will do the same for them), because that’s what makes a relationship go the distance.
Clayton Olson is an international Relationship Coach, Master NLP Practitioner and Facilitator. He delivers private virtual coaching sessions and leads online group workshops. Register for his free webinar that reveals the 3 Keys to Attracting and Keeping a High-Quality Man or grab his free guide 8 Secrets To Create A Rock Solid Relationship, by clicking this link.
This article was originally published in YourTango.