It's time to recognise the "I'll be happy when..." syndrome!...
Are You Too Needy In Relationships?
Here's how to stand on your own two feet!
Have you jeopardised relationships by doing crazy things when you first fall for a new man? Perhaps you give him a lovey-dovey nickname that turns him off, or worse tattoo his name on your bottom! Are you the ultimate Bridget Jones who ends up alone after one needy antic too far, scaring off a good man? 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 the dating game has taken all sorts of twists and turns that desperation can increase if you're not careful. It takes a strong will to cope well with things like speed dating, dating-in-the-dark, and to tackle Internet sites specialising in different types of singles. It feels like meeting someone special has turned into a battle of wits then a fun "dating game" and this feeds into many women's insecurities.
Even if insecurities and desperation themselves don't prevent you getting into a relationship, the problem is once with someone being too needy in the relationship 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. Listening to comic actress Jessica Stevenson discuss honestly her neediness in relationships on television recently was a prime example of how even a talented, attractive and intelligent woman can fall victim to this state of mind.
If you don't want him to drive him to change his phone number (or leave the country!) try these tips, tricks and techniques to stand on your own two feet:
Stage One - when you first met someone:
* Don't give away too much, too soon. Your life may read like a Greek tragedy but resist telling him all about it early on. Imagine how you'd feel if he told you everything about his past. You'd think he's desperate for someone to listen to his tales of woe. Much better to be positive and selective and slowly let your guard down. He’ll be left wanting more of you, not less!
* Don't make it too obvious you've been waiting for his phone call. Resist agreeing to the very first date he suggests. 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 a good man 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 his assumption will be that you want to escape it through him! 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 he does. Be polite about his interests but don't be false. He'll see through fake efforts to suddenly support his football team.
Stage Two - in your relationship:
* Be part of his life but equally he needs 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 - he may not be!
* If you continue to struggle with issues of dependency and neediness, be honest with him. Ask him to help you keep these impulses in check. He 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.
Published in The Express Newspaper
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