- in Commitment
“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were."
~ Richard Bach
We each want to be loved, feel accepted, and connected.
We want to come home to someone who has our back, to someone who we can share in life’s joys, to create a sense of belonging and family – in whatever way we define it.
And yet relationships are one of the most challenging things we must manage throughout our lifetime. We are side-swiped with self-doubt, anxiety and fear.
“Is it me? Why do I feel crazy? Why am I questioning my every move and his every in/action? Am I communicating too much? Too little? Why isn’t he responding?
It’s happened to so many of us…the litany of questioning, self-doubt, that painful place of worry and anxiety.
Often we’re afraid… of reaching out… of our partner’s reaction… of what the consequences might be if we speak freely… afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing.
But the irony is that it is only by facing our fears, digging deep, sharing our heart and communicating honestly that we actually are able to create the type of partnership that fuels us and that we are able to connect on the deeper level we crave. Sharing ourselves in a loving and compassionate way is critical.
Keeping quiet or just hoping things (or he) will change is always ineffective.
So, when you’re wondering if it’s you or him, it actually could be both of you! We tend to attract a partner, or find ourselves attracted to partners, who trigger in us our “undone” stuff, the emotional places within us that need attention, often remnants from earlier experiences in childhood or our youth.
When you find yourself worrying, first ask yourself:
How do I feel about myself? Do I feel secure in who I am in the world (regardless of my relationship status? Am I happy?
It is YOU if:
- You do not feel happy or whole within yourself, by yourself
- You hope and expect that once you achieve that great relationship, you’ll feel better
A relationship is a place to arrive to as a whole person, share yourself and your love, and create partnership together. No person or relationship will never make you happy in any sustainable way (no matter how perfect the first few months are).
Also, nothing turns a man off more than emotional neediness. Need comes from insecurity and insecurity comes from lack of confidence. If you are feeling needy, do what you need to do to heal yourself. Find a mentor, a coach, a therapist, journal about it, talk about it, pour yourself into activities that you enjoy. Even if you find yourself in a satisfying relationship, without doing the inner work, the insecurity will seep out eventually, and often in ugly ways. You can count on it.
Once you have a honest assessment of where you are, only then ask yourself:
Does he have an open heart? Is he able to express his emotions freely? Can he share his feelings about topics of substance (and not just how traffic was aggravating or the mechanic overcharged him). Do you hear him take responsibility for his life? His relationships? How does he talk about his past girlfriends?
Does he ask you how you are? Does he appear to genuinely care about you, your life, your family or friends? Has he worked on developing himself into a stand up guy?
It is HIM if:
- He can’t express himself or his emotions calmly or openly
- He has a hard time having conversations about difficult topics
- He does not take responsibility for where he is in life
- He talks down about his previous relationships, noting how badly they treated him and what a victim he was
- He doesn’t ask you how you are
- He doesn’t seem to care about your life, family or friends
- He talks about himself the majority of the time
- He runs away at the first sign of your emotional nature
An emotionally available man is secure in himself.
This is not arrogant and it isn’t ego. His character is strong, he listens to you and others when they are talking, he cares deeply about his life and those in it. He doesn’t have to posture himself as the cool guy. He’s got nothing to prove.
Men are dealt an interesting and challenging lot in life. While I don’t mean to absolve any one gender of their personal responsibility, the socialization of men stacks the cards against them when faced with matters of the heart.
As a coach for men with relationship problems, the men I talk to repeatedly mention a deep fear of failure and a sense of confusion about what their partners want or expect from them.
They talk about how they try their best, work hard at doing what they think they should, being an attentive, supportive partner and suitable provider. They often talk about how frequently they squash their own needs, bite their lips in fear of speaking up, afraid of making things worse or appearing weak.
Ask a man to identify the areas where he does not feel competent and you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about.
It’s not always that “male ego” or “narcissism” that we can (and often enjoy) pointing our fingers at. Our boys have been taught to swallow their pain, their hurt, their fears, in order to shine as tough leaders. Admitting any weakness (=emotion) would have grave repercussions. So the shut down occurs. They close their hearts off and plough through.
They want love and connection and a warm, loving partner just as much as any woman.
But an “emotionally unavailable” man has this going on inside. Their humanity, their souls and hearts that are meant for loving others, are locked away or left only for a select few. And while this is not the story of every man, being a man in the world comes with its own set of limitations and cultural expectations that put them at risk for suffering silently.
If you find yourself in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable man, a few words of advice.
- Don’t push him. That will only work against you and result in him retreating further. Allow him to be who he is. If he steps up, and if he shares himself, you will have the information you need to decide if the relationship is for you.
- Don’t expect him to change, or (even worse!) try to change him yourself. We hear this all the time and it becomes cliché – but that’s because it’s true.
- Accept things as they are. If he does not meet your needs, move on with compassion for him and most importantly with respect for yourself.
Wishing you all the love and happiness you deserve!
Margaret Gavian, PhD – www.bluepeak.one
When you’re looking for someone to spend the rest of your life with, it’s good to know the morals, values, qualities and characteristics you’d like for them to have.
If you have no idea in mind, you’ll probably end up settling for whatever shows up. And if you wait to do that, problems are bound to show up as well.
So that this doesn’t happen to you, take some time to think about who you would like to spend a lot of time with
- What type of person is he? Does he like the same things you do, or does that even matter to you? Is he taller or shorter than you? Is he outgoing and talkative, or is he reserved and more the introverted type?
There are no good, bad, right, or wrong answers here.
It’s all about what you like and what you want to show up in your life.
After all, you do want to be happy, right? So, have an idea what makes you happy or feel good.It’s very important that you stop and take out the time to ponder over what you would like in a partner. You don’t want a duplicate of you, do you? If not, then don’t wait around for whatever just shows up.
Have an idea in mind of the guy you’d like to be with, and what life will look like for you, with him.When you’re not proactive, or haven’t taken the time to do the above, you’re likely to find yourself in a situation where you’re wondering which one of you is the problem. If you’re in this situation right now, you may want to get some outside help or support; like a relationship coach or counselor.If you’ve been in a situation like this before and find yourself reflecting on what happened so that it doesn’t repeat itself, I commend you. Here are a few things that might be helpful:·
Know who YOU are first.
This includes your strengths as well as your weaknesses. The better you know you, the better you’ll be able to help him understand you during challenging times. If one of your weaknesses is being a needy person, you might want to get a handle on this before you’re in a serious relationship. Also, if this is a problem for you, it will become an even bigger problem for him.
If he is emotionally unavailable, you should be able to pick up on this early in the relationship. You can then decide what to do from there. Do not ignore what you see or sense. It doesn’t make a person wrong or bad for being who they are. You just have to decide if this is something you want to deal with.·
Take your time in getting to know, like, and trust him before over committing.
Don’t move too fast. Allow the relationship to go where it goes without forcing anything to be, that’s not meant to be. If you have resolved your own “stuff”, it will be easier to see his when it shows up.If you have not resolved your issues before he shows up, then his “stuff” will inevitably clash with yours. This can make it a little more challenging for the relationship.
A sharp polished person tends to want someone similar. You know. Like attracts like. Be a role model for what you want to show up, rather than expect a knight in shining armor to rescue a damsel in distress. It’s not happening. Represent what you want.·
Be clear on your Requirements, Needs, and Wants.
You wouldn’t purchase a house based only on what it looks like on the outside, would you? Go on inside to see if the floor plan is what you would like. Can the furniture you have or want, fit in there? Check the measurements. Are the colors good for you?
Well, the same is true for the guy you’re looking for. You don’t want to just look at him and say, “Wow, he’s tall, dark, and handsome; just what I’m looking for” do you? Wait and let him open his mouth and see what comes out. How does he communicate, and respond to you? Is he clear? Does he have a sense of who he is, or what he likes and wants for himself?
These are things you want to be clear about yourself first, because it will help you to know just what to look for when he shows up.
These are just a few helpful tips on becoming aware of who you are, what you’re looking for in a partner, and how to address any current or past issues. This will also help you to possibly avoid additional future issues.
Barbara Ann Williams, LPC, MS – www.barbaraannwilliams.com
What is the difference between obsession and love?
These two concepts can get easily confused if we do not know the difference. Women can often think they are in love with someone they met two weeks to one month ago. “It was love at first site”.
There have been couples who stay together for several years who fell “in love” after meeting once. There are also many more couples who stay together after they said it was “love at first site” and they discover that there is an addiction within each of them and that it was not discovered when they met. They were attracted to each other because of their underlying addiction of feeling void without being in a relationship.
We can mistake the feelings of infatuation with love and think that someone is “the one”, invest days, months and years and realize they are someone who you do not like. Obsession usually goes along with not knowing how to have a healthy relationships.
The following are 7 simple steps to having the relationship you are looking for without feeling obsessed.
1. Be your own best friend before getting into a relationship:
You will not be alone forever! It may feel like you will be alone forever; if you are not in a relationship, your family is telling you that “you should already be in a relationship”, and/or you have had several stinky relationships and you just want to be in one already.
Take your time. You will look back on the time by yourself longingly; like an old pair of jeans you used to love and do not fit into anymore. I know it can be difficult to believe if you just want to be in a relationship and “move on with your life already”.
It’s okay, be okay with getting to know you. Find the amazing, quirky, unique parts of yourself and then commit to a relationship. You have something incredible to offer the world. If we go into a relationship before we know this; we will obsess, feel empty and alone, even though we are in a relationship. If you do not like yourself, you will find someone who will eventually not like you either or themselves.
2. Before falling for someone, become their friend:
Have several dates with them, get to know them for several months to one year, get to know their friends, likes, dislikes, other people they have been in a relationship with and the real reason why they are not with that person anymore. Get to know who they are. Falling for someone out of infatuation without knowing these things can end up disastrous. Everyone knows what that can mean.
3. Get to know who they really are, dark, light, etc.:
The song “Dark Side” by Kelly Clarkson is not just a song. It is true. Everyone has a dark side. Can you love the one in your partner? How do they act when they get angry? How do they express love when the infatuation has worn off? Abusive relationships do not start off abusive, they start off loving, amazing, the best intimacy ever, etc. Then as the darkness comes into awareness, the abuse happens.
4. Have your own hobbies and be active in them:
Part of stopping the obsession and thinking about someone else is to have your own life. Establish who you are. When you know who that is for now, introduce someone else into it.
5. Focus on yourself:
Focus on yourself for the rest of your life. Seriously. The only person you have any control over is you. Obsession about anyone else is interfering with your ability to do what you can do something about. If you need help with this or figuring out how to do so, get some assistance therapeutically. You are worth the time and investment!
6. Give yourself permission to leave the relationship or to stay in the relationship, based on your intuition:
If your intuition thinks your partner is unfaithful, then listen and get some help in figuring it out. If your intuition and obsessive thoughts are wondering what is wrong with you and why can’t your partner love you the way you want to be loved, then delve further. Woman’s intuition is powerful. Trust it.
7. Be in the moment and allow yourself to have feelings and thoughts come up:
Use mindfulness in order to know what your intuition is telling you. Obsessive thinking can create anxiety and anxiety is based on the past or future. Not the present. Mindfulness helps us to connect with the moment and be aware of our true feelings, thoughts and intuition. One of the best ways to be in the moment is to use our 5 senses and meditation.
Meditation is focus on your breath and/or focused intention and when your mind wanders, bringing it back to the focus. Horse therapy is extremely effective therapeutically to assist in getting into the moment. If you would like to chat about any of this and more, I look forward to speaking with you!
Dr. Heather Gaedt – www.drheathergaedt.com
The key here is to be mindful of how you feel needy and getting in touch with what you are experiencing.
If your man was initially attentive and is now pulling back, then there may be some factors to consider.
Neediness is a form of control.
When a woman is needy, they are seeking attention and connection that is from a depleted state. She is indicating to her man, fill me up, I am empty. That is a very draining energy to be around whether it is with your man or other friends.
If you are whole, and realize it is essential to be whole, and avoid depending on your man to fulfill all your needs, then the likelihood that neediness is going to occur is much lower. However, let's face it, we are not all rocks and self sufficient all the time, we are human and can be at times, vulnerable and a bit needy, so don't be too hard on yourself if you find yourself needy, it is when it becomes a pattern of behavior that one should take the time and explore the reason further.
Ironically, needy women tend to gravitate toward emotionally unavailable men which exacerbates the feeling of emptiness, creating blame and fear which creates more neediness.
If you are needy, and seeking attention from a man that has not demonstrated the capability to respond to you in a healthy and fulfilling way, then there is a reason you are still with him.
Remember, personally fulfilled women are not women that don't need men, they rather enjoy them and feel good around them and have ways to maintain their own fulfillment whether he stays or leaves.
Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT - www.lcbahar.wix.com
When dating, it’s important to look at your expectations in romantic relationships.
Typically, women want a deeper connection than men do. However, if your man is quiet or aloof, it may be unrealistic to expect a lot of in-depth conversation. If he’s a macho type, he probably won’t dive into much his emotions. In addition, if he drinks a lot, he may not be emotionally available. So what do you do?
Ask yourself: based on your partner’s personality, are you expecting him to be different than who he really is?
If so, you’re in for a mountain of frustration. Dating is like interviewing. You need to take the time to decide if he is a good match. Seeing how he handles emotions will give you valuable information. Watch how he handles stress and disappointment. If he shuts down emotionally or uses substances to numb out, you are in for a tough road. These are signs that he is emotionally unavailable.
Notice when the conversation gets too emotional, does he avoid them?
He may have a blank look of confusion. That’s because men focus more on resolving problems than on processing them. That’s how they’re socialized. Look for a willingness to be open about their feelings.
The difference between a man being emotionally unavailable and your own neediness can be difficult to decipher.
Typically, women have a stronger need for emotional sharing and connection than men do. That’s why you cannot have them be your entire support. It’s a set up for disappointment.
Consider whether you are asking too much or not enough of him.
If you consistently find yourself making excuses for why he can’t be supportive, it might be the latter. Expecting him to be “your everything” indicates a need to reassess expectations. Instead, strive for a healthy balance that will help you create healthier relationships.
Michelle Farris, LMFT – www.counselingrecovery.com
The question of if you’re being too needy or a man is emotionally unavailable cannot begin to be answered without first understanding your particular patterns in a relationship.
Because chances are that if you notice a man pulling away, this is not the first time it’s happened to you in a relationship.
I know that when I was dating it happened to me on numerous occasions and I had to take a hard look at myself and my dating patterns.
The truth is, as is often the case, that the answer is both!
You are being needy and the man you are seeing is emotionally unavailable.
The reason for this is because often times women will specifically go after men that are emotionally unavailable, if not consciously, then unconsciously. There is a reason you’re doing this – because it actually gives you something.
You might be thinking, “Why the hell would I purposely go after a guy who’s emotionally unavailable?”
There are multiple reasons: low self-esteem, being addicted to the chase, thinking that if the emotionally unavailable guy will just come around then you’ll know you’re good enough.
If you are going after men who are emotionally unavailable, then chances are you’re also going to be needy, because you feel you have to be in order to have any kind of connection with this guy who really didn’t want a long-term commitment to begin with.
If you’re currently stuck in this cycle then I feel for you girl, it’s not easy. But do yourself a favor and choose dignity and respect. If this guy that you’re into simply isn’t coming around, it may be time to go another direction.
Alexis Meads, MA - www.alexismeads.com
Yes. To both.
But is it a bad thing that you are needy?
Half of the population recognizes their emotional needs; the other half pretends they have no needs, but they are just as in need of emotional connection. They just don’t know it.
Common knowledge tells us opposites attract.
If I have determined it’s too painful to display my emotions or if I’m shut down emotionally, I’ll be sure to find someone who has no problem talking about how they feel. If I’m agonizingly aware of my emotional needs, the only guys showing up on my radar will be emotionally unavailable. I won’t give a second glance towards the emotionally aware guys. There’s just no attraction.
So, what can you do about this sorry situation?
A famous line from the movie, Jerry Maguire, “You complete me,” sums it up. We are in search of balance. Realize that our subconscious is looking for balance, understanding, love, and unconditional acceptance for every single needy cell in our bodies. The same is true for those whose emotional cells are shut down.
The difficulty in achieving this balance lies in our desire to receive it from the other person before we are willing to dole out understanding, love, and unconditional acceptance.
To further complicate things, we often have a very distorted view of what it means to love and unconditionally accept another. Too often we believe that loving someone means we must put up with whatever they dish out and give up who we are and what we want to make the other person happy.
Or, we could be stuck in the opposite extreme of believing that it means the other person must satisfy all our needs, wants and desires. Or we fluctuate between the two extremes alternating between trying to please the other and insisting it must be on our terms.
The first step in shifting relationship dynamics requires identifying the extremes in our own relationships.
It is helpful to take a good look at the relationship patterns of your caregivers. What did you see? How did they relate to each other? Who named and expressed their emotions, who tended to be shut down? If it went back and forth, who tended to be dominant and who played more passively?
We tend to identify more with one parent’s relationship style and pull into our lives a person more like the other parent’s modus operando. However, we also take on characteristics of both parents and our love interests are just different enough from the way our parents were that we don’t pick up on it for like 10 years after marriage. Unless we open our eyes to the subtleties of the pattern, we miss it.
The second step is to pack up those emotional bags and make a beeline to someone who can help you unpack them for good.
Those of you who travel light with seemingly no emotions also need help to find where those emotions were stashed, drag them out, and heal from the pain. Emotionally unavailable means emotions are locked up and inaccessible, even to that individual themselves!
Our feelings provide us with valuable information.
They lead us to reveal the lies we believe, they help us make decisions, they provide a depth and richness to life when we know how to use them properly and not let them run the show.
I didn’t deal with my emotional stuff for 30 years after I left home. I had no clue how much the events in my childhood affected the people I was attracted to, the relationships I got into, and the decisions I made. I had a boat load of lies, fears, and negative beliefs driving my ship. I was living as though those lies were true and reaping lots of misery along the way.
Once I found a therapist who could help me identify my emotions, heal from the pain, learn how to communicate how I felt, and become internally strong (it took a long-term commitment to healing), I was able to engage in relationship in a much more balanced way.
The level of balance you have will be reflected in the person you attract.
The greater the extreme of neediness or disconnect, the more your choice will be the polar opposite of you. You can change your relationship dynamics by learning better ways to relate. This is the perfect place for you to make the first move!
Charlene Benson, LPC, NCC - www.bensontherapist.com
Feel like you are always waiting or wanting more from your relationship?
Whether it is time, validation or communication there is never enough to make you feel secure in your connection.
So what is the source of this disconnect?
Is it something you are doing or are you trying to have a relationship with someone that is not open to connecting on an emotional level?
Do you recognize these common traits shared by those who are emotionally unavailable?
1. Makes promises they rarely keep. This is an easy way for them to shut down uncomfortable or unwanted conversations.
2. Makes you feel defensive or needy when you ask for more time together. This allows them to deflect from personal agendas and maintain some emotional control.
3. Will often engage in hot/cold behaviors. One minute they have no time for you, but if you start to disengage from the relationship they suddenly amp up efforts to be with you. Either way they seek to control the emotional strings of the relationship.
4. Avoids discussing emotions or showing vulnerability. This is a way of keeping emotional distance and avoiding potential to engage in deep connections and therefore avoid the potential of being hurt.
Too often we settle for potential and focus on what we ‘think’ the relationship can become rather than accepting it ‘as is’.
Because of this, we find ourselves putting a great of energy into relationships that are going nowhere fast. A key component to a good relationship is having two engaged and connected partners. This is impossible to have when one or both individuals are disconnected.
Learning to recognize emotional disconnection is a key component in finding appropriate partners who are willing and capable of being fully engaged in a relationship that will fulfill your needs.
Stacey Shumway Johnson, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, BCC- www.2xlcoach.com
Neediness is relationship poison.
But rather than focus on the relationship, let’s put the focus on you, at least to begin with.
So, here is the real question for you: am I needy or are my healthy, legitimate needs not being met in this relationship?
You see, there is a difference between neediness and having needs. Therefore, let’s talk about the nature of neediness.
Everyone has needs, but not everyone is needy.
A core difference is that, at its base, neediness is fear—a devastating fear that you, for whatever reason, will never be loved unconditionally. Sadly, neediness is a bottomless pit, because no one will ever be able to give you the assurance that you seek.
Neediness expresses itself in various ways, for example:
- Your focus is consistently on your lover – their feelings, needs, wants and desires. What you feel, need, want and desire (if you even know) doesn’t rate a mention.
- When you do express your feelings and needs, it’s done indirectly or in through emotional manipulation e.g. in a way that begs for pity or through ultimatums.
- You resent your lover when they don’t pay sufficient attention to you.
- You consistently look for ways to make them love you more.
- You believe it’s your job to fix your lover – their faults, problems, addictions etc. You are caught up in caretaking them or attempting to control them.
- You believe that if you adjust your behavior or expectations you might get what you want.
- Your world revolves around your lover. You’ve given up pursuing your own dreams and goals. Everything hinges on them -- their moods, their desires.
It might seem contradictory, but the needy person is both self-focused and, at the same time, self-abandoning.
We all need acceptance, safety, belonging etc. Everyone has the honest, human need for reciprocated love. But the difference between healthy needs and neediness is that gnawing fear and the mistaken belief that the void within can only be satisfactorily filled by someone else.
So, let’s talk about how non-needy people get their needs met:
- They know their legitimate, healthy needs and can articulate those needs to important others.
- They are discerning. They only invest in relationships, romantic and other, where those needs can realistically be met.
- They don’t exclusively rely on others for what they need. Most especially, they know how to source safety within themselves first and then within relationships second.
- They exercise healthy boundaries in relationships. They know their limits --physical, emotional and psychological and can thus protect themselves from being used and abused by others.
- They have a solid sense of their own worth and, when their legitimate needs are not being met, they make sensible decisions about the future of the relationship.
Let’s now consider the emotional unavailability side of the original question. We’ll start with a definition:
Someone who is emotionally unavailable avoids talking about their feelings and needs or is difficult to connect with at an emotional level, especially when the going gets tough. In other words, they are emotionally evasive. We could also call them love-avoidant.
A relationship with a love-avoidant is painful.
So, if you are experiencing a insecurity in a relationship, then it may be that your lover is unavailable, meaning that they are unable or unwilling to give you the assurance that you crave.
And I use the word crave advisedly, because this kind of loving, based in co-dependency, is addictive. It becomes a relationship pattern for certain individuals, particularly those with needy tendencies -- they routinely attract emotionally unavailable lovers.
But it takes two to tango. The more the needy person pushes, the more the love avoidant person pulls away and so it goes.
The love avoidant and co-dependent need each other to perform the dance. It is an excruciating pattern, because, for the needy, co-dependent person, the inevitable rejection reinforces a deeper belief that they are unlovable. And we might ponder if that in deed is the point.
Of course, non-needy people can become involved with emotionally unavailable lovers, but usually they don’t stay there for long. And non-love avoidants won’t stay long with an emotionally needy person. Both seek healthier relationships.
No one can tell you if you are needy or not. But I invite you to consider the following questions:
- Do some of the characteristics of needy people ring a bell for me? When it comes to love, are my choices, actions and beliefs fear-based?
- Do I have a pattern of attracting emotionally unavailable or love-avoidant partners?
If you believe you are needy and you’re through with relationship pain, then reach out for help from a qualified professional.
Graduating out of neediness is possible, relationship patterns can be changed and happy requited love can be yours.
Mary Rizk, Transformative Coach - www.maryrizk.com
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