Hey, You – Stop calling your partner "Too Needy!" (...and here's why)


Stop calling your partner "Too Needy!" (...and here's why)

     Are you feeling like your partner is asking for too much?  Are there too many demands being placed on your time and energy?  Are you feeling the urge to tell your partner he or she is Too Needy?  If so, slow down and think for a moment, please.

     Calling someone Too Needy can be a very judgmental and harmful thing to say to someone. 

     Everyone has a right to feel what they feel, and to pursue and ask for the things they want and believe will make them happy.    Sure, there is a difference between asking someone to do something and making a demand – But, everyone is entitled to advocate for what they want and need in a relationship. 

     What we are often trying to say when we label someone Too Needy is that we either can’t or don’t want to comply with a request from that person.  When we don’t want to accommodate, it’s our responsibility to be honest and direct with how we feel.  We have as much right to advocate for ourselves as any other person.  But it is OUR issue, not the fault of our partner.  It’s best to take responsibility for our own choices and our own needs.  If your partner is asking for more than you can give, maybe it isn’t the right relationship for you.  In that case, be mature and responsible, and call things off instead of blaming.  If you stand your ground and let your partner know your limits, then your partner gets to decide whether he or she is able to stay.  If your partner doesn’t change or leave, then it’s up to you – still your decision.

     I’m not saying our partners have no responsibility to try and make a change.  They do.  Better communication, making requests over demands, and allowing for some imperfections or learning curves in behavior change can surely be helpful and can temper the urgency of compliance.  Couples counseling may help before deciding on giving up.

     One of the problems with the term Too Needy, is that it is subjective.  Not everyone is going to agree with what is too much or too demanding.  We may not easily accommodate our partner, but someone else may not have any problems.  We don’t know, and shouldn’t predict.  What we do know is whether or not those demands or requests are too much for us.  So, again, our issue.  Maybe OUR expectations are too high!

     Another problem with calling someone Too Needy is that they may believe us!  Most people are only trying to advocate and find what feels right and good for them.  They are not wrong for doing so.  When that self-advocacy gets labeled and judged, some people develop shame over their preferences and needs, and shut them down.  They then feel wrong for asking for what they need and less confident in what will make them happy.  Not so cool.

     So - since people are not wrong for advocating for their needs, every person and relationship is different, and it’s our responsibility to be honest with what we are able to and willing to do, then it’s not really fair when we label our partners Too Needy.