As you contemplate entering a committed relationship, the greater your neediness, or his, the more likely codependency, dysfunction and disappointment will follow. Focus on what you want, not on what you need.
I once knew a woman who as a teen dated a man in his twenties. He had a strong need to get married and the teen wasn’t ready. The pressure to fulfill his need increased until one day he lay down on the railway tracks with a train coming. He’d rather die than be without her. She caved. Use your imagination as to where that marriage went.
Neediness is a psychological, fear-based characteristic. Neediness in relationships, or in would-be relationships, is paradoxical. The greater the neediness, the less likely it is for legitimate wants and needs to be met.
On the dating scene, if you come across as particularly needy, members of the opposite sex will avoid you like the plague, or at least, the emotionally healthy ones will. Of course, if you have an irrational need to pick up strays, that is, to take on damaged people as fixer-uppers, the needy will line up to meet you. But what will you do when you have grown out of that need?
A man or woman may exhibit neediness as a long-term personal characteristic. However, neediness can also be transitory if it arises from a crisis such as a death or separation or a career failure. Be careful who you connect with if you recently have been divorced or widowed. As you recover from such crises, you may resent being treated as a ‘project,’ and your new partner may begin to feel useless and lose interest…or become more demanding.
When a couple is on the verge of separation, or when they have separated and are exploring getting back together, neediness on the part of one of them may spur on the separation or prevent the reunion.
Patterns quite naturally develop in marriages. As you grow, some of the patterns may not work anymore for one of you. Try as you might, you can’t seem to change anything. In your frustrated and confused state you leave. It’s temporary, you believe, because you still love your partner. You learn that you really can live on your own. However, you want to be in your marriage and so does your partner.
Unfortunately, your partner has not learned he can live on his own and has an intense need to get back together. You worry that with his neediness will come the old patterns that led you to leave in the first place.
The point is this: to create a healthy relationship, whether beginning a new relationship or restarting an existing marriage, do it out of ‘want,’ not need. The less the need, the greater are the chances of a fulfilling relationship for both of you.