Are You Needy In A Relationship?

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Our relationship expert, Dr Pam Spurr (@drpamspurr on Twitter and Instagram) shares her tips on how to stay independent in a relationship.

Have you jeopardised relationships by doing crazy things when you first fall for a new person? Perhaps you give them a lovey-dovey nickname that turns them off, or worse tattoo their name on your bottom! Unfortunately desperate acts like silly names and tattoos don't bond you to a new partner - instead you repel them with your neediness.

Most of us have felt a little desperate at times and as dating has taken all sorts of twists and turns during the pandemic, that desperation can increase if you're not careful. It takes a strong will to cope well with things like virtual dating, dating-in-the-dark, and to tackle dating online. It feels like meeting someone special has turned into a battle of wits then a fun "dating game" and this feeds into many people's insecurities.

Even if insecurities and desperation themselves don't prevent you getting into a relationship, the problem is once you’re with someone and being too needy in the relationship, it prevents you reaching your full potential as an individual - and as part of a loving couple. I've met many couples who’ve split after long periods together because one was far too dependent. At first what seems like a touchingly deep and devoted love, becomes a feeling of being smothered for the more independent partner.

So as single or in a couple, either way you look at it, being self-reliant and independent is desirable.  

Here are some tips on how to stand on your own two feet:

* Don't give away too much, too soon.  Your life may read like a Greek tragedy but resist telling them all about it early on. Imagine how you'd feel if they told you everything about their past. You'd think they're desperate for someone to listen to their tales of woe. Much better to be positive and selective and slowly let your guard down. They’ll be left wanting more of you, not less!

* Don't make it too obvious you've been waiting for their phone call. Resist agreeing to the very first date they suggest. Instead suggest a couple other dates from your diary to show (or at least pretend!) you've got a life.

* Beware of the sex-vibe you give off. Acting like a sex machine will scare the good ones off and attract the bad ones. Sexual desperation is far from attractive! Being a bit flirty and sensual will create desire. Keeping things low-key with positive thoughts running through your head will work best. Thoughts like 'I'm looking good tonight' or 'You're going to fall for me' will give you sensual confidence.

* Do you make your life sound interesting or do you drone on about how dull, grey, and uneventful it is?  Letting your life sound dismal definitely appears needy and desperate because their assumption will be that you want to escape it through them! Mention a couple interesting things that have happened to you recently. And if there's nothing in your immediate life, simply talk about the most recent film you've seen.  Everyone has something to talk about!

* Be your self and don't pretend that you suddenly 'love' all the things they do. Be polite about their interests but don't be false. They'll see through fake efforts to suddenly support their interests.

* Be part of their life but equally, they need to be part of yours. Standing on your own two feet includes doing so in a relationship. It's about give and take between both of your interests and responsibilities. Negotiate how much time you spend together, and separately, pursuing your lives. Have regular chats to plan your forthcoming week to facilitate this.

* Solve your own problems as they arise. It's great as a couple to discuss things like problems at work. But be prepared to find your own solutions unless the issues directly affect your relationship.

 * Maintain your friendships throughout your relationship. Friends are for life -they may not be!

* If you continue to struggle with issues of dependency and neediness, be honest with them. Ask them to help you keep these impulses in check. They can give you gentle reminders if you become too demanding.

 * Be aware of the things that make you feel more vulnerable. Devise strategies to cope with these. For example, when your boss undermines you at work, you fall into a helpless and dependent role at home. It's far better to devise ways to tackle the work issues and build your confidence.

* If you’ve shied away from DIY or have been a man-dependent "techno-phobe" it’s time to take an evening course or read the manual. The “know-how” is important – you can still let him fix that broken shelf if you want!

* Expect good treatment and hopefully you'll get it.  If you're loving and giving and don't get it in return - move on!

Ultimately an independent spirit is desirable. You'll attract the right man when you're living your life happily and confidently. And that relationship will stay happy as you continue to control any more desperate impulses.

Originally published on Dr Pam Spurr’s blog

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