What Is Emotional Neediness in a Relationship and How Can You Overcome It?

Updated on September 15, 2017
Filip Stojkovski profile image

Passionately interested about the arts, especially drawing and painting. Professionally works as a game designer and developer.

Having needs in romantic or platonic relationships is not by itself a bad thing. In fact, we are biologically designed to depend on other people to a certain degree, and we need to be able to trust and rely on other people for emotional support. So, when does having normal relationship needs turn into neediness and why?

To answer that question, we need to understand why certain people exhibit excessive neediness and insecurity.

The Root of Neediness

If you are a needy and a clingy person, first of all don’t beat yourself up over it. The first step to overcome that is to forgive yourself for having been that way and have some compassion for yourself.

The root of emotional neediness in a relationship is probably a deep seated distrust of other people, or a deeply rooted belief that you cannot trust anyone to be consistently loving towards you. This belief may stem from your upbringing, or previous negative relationship experiences.

If you had experiences in your life where your needs were not consistently met, or the people you have been attached to (most often your parents) acted in unpredictable and ambivalent ways (constantly switching between ignoring your needs and overindulging you) you probably learned that a way to get your needs met was to constantly seek closeness with your attachment figure. You probably were often given mixed messages by your attachment figure and were left wondering: What will they do now? Are they going to ignore me, punish me or hug me? Is this a good day or a bad day? How do they really perceive me?

What Is Activating Strategy? Why Does It Cause Problems?

If you are needy, you constantly try to reassure yourself that you are being loved, and you are hyper-vigilant to possible signs that you are going to be ignored or abandoned. The urge that drives you to reestablish closeness with your partner and to reassure yourself of their love is called an activating strategy.

Clingy people are very good at spotting any possible threats to the relationship, but the problem is that they misinterpret a lot of things and they jump to negative conclusions which often causes them to get emotionally impulsive and dramatic which causes stress and unhappiness in a relationship. No matter how much your partner loves you, they are not going to be happy if you make them feel like they can’t make you happy no matter how loving they are.

Now you might be wondering, is there a way to change this behavior or more importantly your way of thinking about love and intimacy?

There are fortunately a few things you can do to get out of that cycle of neediness and frustration with yourself for being needy and causing unhappiness in your relationship.

1. Become Aware of, and Change the Negative Beliefs that You Hold Regarding Relationships

Myth : I’m not lovable.

Reality : No one in the world carries the qualification of being lovable or unlovable. If someone wants to spend time with you, feels connected with you and wants to make you happy, it’s because that person most likely finds you lovable.

Myth : It’s difficult for me to form a successful relationship.

Reality: People form relationships with each other all the time. It’s almost as natural and common as eating and sleeping. Even the most difficult people find a partner. If you are insecure, chances are you probably are a self-aware person and you don't lack anything that will stop you from having a successful relationship.

Myth: Other people can make a better partner than me.

Reality: There is a reason your partner chose you and not someone else. It's because they found you attractive, lovable, enjoyed spending time with you and developed feelings for you. So why would you believe that your partner will replace you with someone else so easily?

Myth: My partner should be able to predict what my needs are.

Reality: Your partner will probably not be able to always predict what your needs are because no one has that ability. So it's best to communicate your needs, and guess what? Your partner will like it because they want to make you feel good.

Myth: Breaking up should be avoided at all costs.

Reality: If a relationship doesn’t work, sometimes it’s best to put an end to it. Staying in an unhealthy relationship causes pain and more insecurities, and there is no reason you shouldn't be seeking a new relationship that will make you happier.

2. Practice Mindfulness

When you feel the anxiety kicking in become aware of it and instead of jumping to negative conclusions and acting on them, remind yourself that you have an attachment insecurity that often tricks you into jumping to negative conclusions. Don’t identify yourself with your insecurity or react to it. Understand that it’s simply a strategy your mind has created to protect you from not getting your needs met in the past.

3. Communicate Your Needs With Your Partner Calmly and Honestly

This may sound scary to someone who is afraid of appearing needy and making a mistake in a relationship, but remember that your partner has needs too and communicating your needs to each other means that you are both expressing your needs and trying to find a solution that works for both of you. It’s important to be honest in expressing your needs because you if you're not, you might end up feeling resentful and angry.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Filip Stojkovski profile image
        Author

        Filip Stojkovski 13 months ago

        @dashingscorpio - you've said lots of great things. I would just like to point out that people don't always know their needs at a conscious level. They want to be loved in a certain way, but what they really need might be something slightly different. Having similar values certainly helps, but it's not the whole story. No two people have completely compatible values or beliefs. Love, respect, and compassion, I think are the basic building blocks of healthy relationships. Great, comment, thanks.

      • dashingscorpio profile image

        dashingscorpio 13 months ago

        It's important to not let people put you in a "box".

        What comes off as "needy/clingy" to one person may not be seen as such to another person. It's all in the eye of the "beholder".

        Most people love (the way) they want to be loved in return.

        If you're with someone who celebrates "monthly anniversaries" of being together, writes poems, and gives token gifts "just because" most likely that's how (they) want to be loved.

        The simple truth is we live on a planet with over (7 Billion) people on it and no matter (how you love) you are not the (only person) who loves "that way" or desires to be loved that way.

        The goal is to find someone who shares your same values, wants the same things for the relationship that you do, naturally agrees with you on how to obtain those things, and last but not least have a mutual depth of love and desire for one another.

        Compatibility trumps compromise.

        Like attracts like and opposites attract divorce attorneys!

        If you or your mate has to "change" your (core being) in order to make a relationship "work" there's a good chance you've chosen the "wrong person" as a mate for yourself.

        Truth be told when it comes to love and relationships most of us (fail our way) to success. If this were not true we'd all be married to our high school sweethearts!

        Ultimately everyone wants to be loved for who (they) are!

        Having said that if you want something different then (you) have to do something different.

        Just make sure if you decide to "change" it's for yourself and not anyone else. One could go crazy trying to be all things to all people as they go from one relationship to another.

        Know yourself, Love yourself, Trust yourself!

        It's impossible to be happy if you are not (being yourself).

        One man's opinion! :)

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://pairedlife.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)