Ask a Guy: How Can I Express What I Need Without Sounding Needy? post image

Ask a Guy: How Can I Express What I Need Without Sounding Needy?


My boyfriend and I are currently in a long distance relationship and my issue, whether we are together or apart, is that I don’t know how to express what I need from him in a way that doesn’t come across as being needy. For example, I need more contact than he is giving me, like a regular phone call once a week and a few more texts than he sends.

His work and my work make it difficult but it is not impossible. How do I tell him that without contact the connection between us fades for me and makes me feel unloved even though in reality I know he loves me very much? I just want to be able to tell him what I want without sounding needy. Is this possible? 


First, it’s important to remember that neediness is a state of mind where you need something from another person or you won’t be OK.

You asked, “How do I ask him for what I NEED without sounding NEEDY?”  That’s like one of those Chinese proverbs, “If a tree falls in the woods…”

The answer is to STOP believing that you need things from him, first and foremost. You don’t need him to do anything. You won’t stop breathing. You won’t starve. You won’t die.

You’ll be disappointed or hurt maybe, but my point is that when you say you need something, it’s a sign that you’re blowing the importance of individual behaviors way out of proportion.  And in response to you blowing it out of proportion, you work yourself into an emotional lather… which causes you to do things which will push him away.

For example, if you believe you need him to text you back within 30 minutes and he doesn’t, you might start worrying.  And for every minute that goes by, you feel a growing sense of worry… which becomes fear… which becomes agony.

Then you start creating paranoid scenarios in your mind:  What if he’s with that girl he mentioned started working at his job?  What if he met someone new?  What if he’s cheating on me?  What if he stopped caring?

Meanwhile, for all you know, he could be driving someone to the hospital.  He could be on an important phone call.  He could simply just be busy or not looking at his phone at the moment.

But in your mind, you’re fearing for the worst and now you feel you need to reassurance to prove that he cares about you.

And hey, that can happen sometimes… but when you let it get out of hand, it starts to becoming tiring on the guy when he feels he needs to prove to you that he cares.  And then he starts to wonder why you doubt that he cares, which inevitably leads to a downward spiral (which I’ve explained many times before in other articles and in the newsletter e-mail list…)

Long distance relationships are extremely hard. I know people hate when I say this, but my motto is: Long distance kills relationships. Period.

Once someone feels like they’re chasing a relationship or that it’s heading downhill and it’s long-distance, it typically means the end is near 99.99% of the time.

In terms of him not calling or texting, the best way to convey that you would like to hear from him more often is to praise him when he does things you like. For instance, saying something like “I love it when you call, it’s always so great to hear from you” rather than “Why don’t you ever call?! This isn’t fair to me!”

It may seem counter-intuitive, but when you point out what a guy is doing wrong, it will only make him less likely to do anything at all.  It becomes a point of contention or resentment.

Tell him what he’s doing right and he will do it more often to keep the praise coming his way.  Guys want to feel like they’re winning – let him know when he’s “victorious” in making you happy.

Overall, the best thing you can do is stop thinking you need things and recognize that it’s just something you’d like, but that if it’s not happening you can live with it. And that you have plenty of other options to make you happy – keep your whole life happy and fulfilling, don’t put that burden only on your relationship.

Hope that helps,

eric charles

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Dakota

Alright so whenever I read an article about guys behaviour I always end up thinking that is just asinine and it actually really pisses me off lol.
I think needing something from your significant other is perfectly acceptable. There are things you NEED to do/have in a relationship for it to be happy and healthy. Though i’m not perfect and don’t have much relationship experience I’ve read enough to know that realtionships take a lot of work, and having to baby a man and having to praise him to get him to do something to make me feel appreciated or loved is just sad. I make sure to let my boyfriend know how much I appreciate him and love him when he’s doing stuff right, but I should be able to just be an adult and express my needs and get a little angry when i’m not being heard. I don’t think that’s unreasonable… If he can’t be told what you need from him and work to make it happen then why should you have to do the work of having to stifle yourself and not express your needs while he gets to get a gold star and a cookie for doing something he should just want to do on his own? Talk to his girlfriend? And since guys don’t work the same way we do we need to be able to express that while he may be fine with little contact, to feel connected we need more. I’m mostly getting from this that you have to manipulate your man to do things cause he’s a big baby and cant handle being asked to do a little work to keep us happy… which is what it takes to give someone what they need if it doesn’t come naturally.
You’re making it sound like having any needs makes us “needy” (which in the literal sense it does but thats not exactly what people mean when they say that). I think you focus too much on the neediness, rather than a way to express our needs (which we all have) without a guy jumping to “she’s needy”, I’ve been needy, I know the difference, and sometimes I do it without even thinking about it, and in the moment it doesn’t seem that way and then i’m like “wow how pathetic” later on. But I also have times where I can look back and think the way I behaved myself was perfectly reasonable, but I was still labled as needy. Though those are usually the times where the guy wasn’t all that into me so he just didn’t really like that I was talking to him when it wasn’t what he wanted. But those situations make me feel like I have to watch my every move and just can’t do what comes naturally because guys are so hung up on stupid crap like that.
Anyway my point is I really feel like her question was actually answered, and that a lot of crucial points were not made or discussed. Though I appreciate what you are trying to do here I find that its often lacking and its sad cause this is one of the sites that comes up most when i’m trying to find answers.

Reply October 17, 2014, 10:32 am

dakota

Was not* damnit

Reply October 17, 2014, 10:35 am

reid

thank you so much for that, i believe that if you know your guy loves there is no need to wait for his phone call or text. i think what girls have to do is if he doesn’t call or text you also don’t have to because after a while he will surely do that and he will call you

Reply August 10, 2014, 7:02 pm

Jules

..feel so ashamed tho..wish I read this sooner

Reply July 26, 2014, 6:12 pm

Jules

Hi Eric,
I realize I’m v guilty of almost every fault u mentioned here. I’m in a LDR with my bf who I believe really loves me and since I didn’t hv a v active life I’ve been really needy. pls I need clues on how to redeem myself cos my boyfriend has kinda withdrawn..pls Help me

Reply July 26, 2014, 6:03 pm

Deepali Rathod

Thank u very much Eric Charles and Sabrina Alxes for helping and guiding on right part.
1 question is there how will come to know what the boy wants because he didnt tell and we have make out from face or expression.
Waiting for ur reply.

Reply July 19, 2014, 3:25 am

anki

very much convincing and helped me to understand where I was going wrong :) thankyou so much

Reply July 16, 2014, 9:10 am

Vicki Saunders

My boyfriend has been under alot of stress from work health issues and two bestfriends who are moving out of state. Since then hes been more withdrawn from me and more snappy and critical of me and the kids. I dont know if hes just taking his frustrations out on me or if hes unhappy being with me. Ive told him to go if hes unhappy he asked why I was so eager to get rid of him. He was alot nicer after I said this to him.He also has very little interest in sex and dr says his teststorone levels are very low. I have trouble talking to him without it starting a fight. It is damaging my self esteem. I need advice is my reltionship fixable or is it doomed?

Reply June 30, 2014, 10:47 am

Sarah

Hi Eric,

I love all the advice you give in these articles, they’ve really helped save my sanity a few times. So before I start off I just want to say thank you :)

My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 2 months now. This is my first real relationship. In the beginning he was super affectionate and sweet and everything was great. Then he started pulling away and I’ve read your article about why men do this and it helped me understand some. I’ve talked to him about it and he said things like “I’m sorry beautiful” and “I know I need to try harder”. And after that conversation he did, for a few days, he’s kept the contacting me thing, but he’s no longer affectionate except for the occasional ????. Which, isn’t much at all. Now recently I went on vacation for 2 weeks without him to see my grandfather, who was sick and later died, and he never said he missed me, before I left he just gave me a quick side hug and went off with his friends, he never asked when I was coming back, and the whole thing just made me feel as though he’s perfectly fine without me and wether I’m there or not is irrelevant…I’m back now and he hasn’t asked to see me or anything similar (face time), we just text. I’ve been acting much like what you described here:

So yeah, you can NEED all you want. But it’s not putting positive energy into the relationship. It’s not going to make the guy turn around and say, “Wow, this woman who is constantly upset, constantly demanding reassurance and using our relationship as an emotional crutch is really fulfilling to me.”

And I’ve asked him recently how he was feeling in this relationship, he said he was happy and asked “wbu?” To which I said “I’m happy with you, but I’m bothered by something. Not so much bothered as confused” and I really am. But I don’t want to do the whole “tell me you care about me!” Thing like you’ve described. Can you tell me how I can fix this? I know I’ve been a little clingy, I’ve been trying not to be by keeping busy, but sometimes I can’t help it and it really hurts.

Reply June 18, 2014, 1:12 pm

Sarah

The question marks were supposed to be a kissing emoji

Reply June 18, 2014, 1:14 pm

Jamie

What if I tried saying things like “I like when you text to see how I’m doing!” But he doesn’t change, like it doesn’t make him do it more? We’ve been together 4 years and I feel like he’s bored. He no longer is affectionate, he calls/texts at the end of his day. But if I do that he tells me I’m being distant and if there’s someone else?? I’m just tired of all ways being the giver (affection, communication, ect) like he can’t even ask me how my day was, the first thing he does is talk about him and then when there’s nothing to talk about it’s like oh yea and you?

Reply May 1, 2014, 9:13 am

MaryJayne

Wow. You pegged me perfectly. LDR, distant interaction creeping in from him. I recently started freaking out. The fear took hold, and the obsession of what’s going wrong. All of the Q’s you listed and everything you said that goes through a person’s mind down to the agony. I addressed it and he said “dont worry about how I feel about you, I’m just personally stressed.” But it still hurts. I said I just wanted him to express that he was looking forward to seeing me this weekend. It will be the second time in 3 months. He avoided responding. I just want to go and enjoy the trip. I don’t want to spend anymore energy on feeling upset/confused although I desperately miss the affection that he tuned down to minimum, and I am still in shock at when/ how it happened (over the last month slowly?) especially after reading this I’m going to let it go and let him wonder why I went from being ‘needy’ to not giving a crap. I do love him and have a lot invested already but if he comes back to me so be it. If not so be it. This was emotionally exhausting and I don’t want to feel that anymore. We’re both thirty something and I personally can’t play games. If he wants to be with me he will act like it…I’m moving back in a few months so hopefully the LDR won’t kill before then if we are right for eachother. Unfortunately I have to put my heart on the backburner and just chill out, be casual, try to have fun and be myself in the meantime. I don’t deserve how he’s been to me, but I’m not going to give it anymore energy either.

Reply April 3, 2014, 5:17 am

Aislynn

So I read this, and I made the mistake of creating that downward spiral, he even told me he’s just tired of proving he cares and we got in a lot of fights, and then took a break thing but we both didn’t want to call it that, because neither one of us really want to leave each other. Afterwards he told me he still loves me and basically never stopped and we decided to forget the whole thing happened. We have been dating for 17 months, the first 14 months were not long distance, the last 3 have, its just been so hard on me cause i’m not used to it. I just want to know we’re still salvageable, how can I recover and make him want me like crazy again? Cause I feel like we’re fine now, but I want him to adore me like he used to. and how can I tell him how I feel without rehashing the past or making him tired, or should I even try? Thanks for any responses (:

Reply October 5, 2013, 1:05 pm

Sara

I think Eric is misunderstanding the situation. The whole neediness label invalidates a women’s judgement. If a woman knows that in her heart, the distance the man is creating will lessen her feelings for him and drive her away, she has every right to feel upset, sad, hurt etc and express to her partner the relationship is dying because it is for her. She will eventually abandon and seek a more attentive partner. Would you advise a man who desires sex more than his partner to not express his need? Would you tell him he is being needy and shouldn’t need sex with a woman to be happy? Of course not. All this article is saying is that men are entitled to their needs and we are not. This is wrong. We have the right to fulfill our needs with a loving partner. If he is off, not spending time with you, not staying in contact, not nurturing the relationship, please don’t waste any more time trying to figure out what you are doing wrong, or label yourself as needy because you would like to spend more time with him. Guys can be selfish sometimes, surprisingly this article fails to mention that.

Reply August 7, 2013, 11:11 pm

Anais

I understand your perspective but I don’t think the core of Eric’s advice was trying to say she isn’t allowed to feel upset about not hearing from him. I think he said what he did to give her the mindset that she appreciates him but she doesn’t need him to live. So when expressing her needs, she shouldn’t make it sound like her boyfriend his hurting her on purpose. With your example of a man wanting more sex with a woman, same thing. He is allowed to feel upset about it, but if he were to commute this desire as if it were OWED to him and come from a place of entitlement, she wouldn’t appreciate that most likely and it would sound “needy” to her.

Also this girl has no direct control over her boyfriend but she can influence him to do better. The power of influence and persuasion is one of the greatest gifts women have with men. Eric did give advice on how to express her wants at the end without sounding “needy”. “I love it when you call, it’s always so great to hear from you” Men understand women most of the time when they are spoken to that way. I do it all the time now, even outside dating. I find that a lot of guys are selfish clueless about what to do to make a girl happy these days. I don’t know if it’s because a lot of women accept the bare minimum in committed relationships or what. At the end of the day, whether or not the guy cares shows if he changes how he is behaving. If he changes it, he cares. If he doesn’t he doesn’t care enough and she should leave him.

Reply August 23, 2013, 12:33 pm

Anais

Fixing first paragraph for typos and clarity :-)

I understand your perspective but I don’t think the core of Eric’s advice was trying to say she isn’t allowed to feel upset about not hearing from her bf. I think Eric said what he did to give her the mindset that she appreciates her bf but she doesn’t need him to live. So when expressing her needs, she shouldn’t make it sound like her boyfriend his hurting her on purpose. With your example of a man wanting more sex with a woman, same thing. He is allowed to feel upset about it, but if he were to communicate this desire as if it were OWED to him and come from a place of entitlement, she wouldn’t appreciate that most likely and it would sound “needy” to her.

Reply August 23, 2013, 4:55 pm

Ashley

I LOVEEEEEE everything you said!!!

Reply June 4, 2013, 8:50 am

J.D

Dear Eric,

I’ve been in a LDR for almost 8 months now. Since our relationship has started I’ve been the one doing the traveling, mostly due to his economic situation, that he is unemployed for the moment and that everything is cheaper where he lives… my money situation isn’t the best either, with me being only a student with the occasional substitute job, yet now in April it will be my second time traveling to see him plus I am going to be there for two months in summer. Is it too much from me to ask/expect him to come see me with his money situation? Should I decrease my traveling after the summer, so he will put some effort into finding a job and saving money to come see me himself?

Reply March 3, 2013, 5:21 am

Dianne

I am beginning to think that if you feel the “need” to write to Eric bc you have a relationship problem, it is pretty much a uncertainty that you are trying to have a relationship with a man that doesn’t give a crap. Reading this same dynamic over and over is painful. Why do women give up their power? This is a very sad state of affairs.

Reply February 24, 2013, 8:00 pm

Dianne

Auto correct mistake, I mean certainty

Reply February 24, 2013, 8:02 pm

helen

good stuff, Eric! SOOOO appreciate your and Sabrina’s insights. i found and bought your book several weeks back. loving the emails too. have been SUPER helpful
2 months ago met a great guy out here in CA – visiting from NY. long distance sure is a whole different ball of wax. very frustrating…:( but im enjoying the relationship and just trying to roll with things.
i think i’m having a hard time with the whole “defining” the relationship bit though. ive read your book but not sure how to realistically handle this right now. kinda don’t feel right about dating other guys even though we are not “official” or exclusive…
unless you have some other, better thoughts, im just trying to relax, enjoy the ride and see where it goes… i really don’t want to push him or make him feel pressured. we really are only just STARTING to know each other. spent 4 amazing days together, but that’s all. i was supposed to go out this week to be with him but my grandpa got sick and passed away so had to cancel.
i LOVE what you guys say about neediness being a mindset. absolutely life-saving (or at the least, relationship saving. lol)
anyway, this is all rather scattered – i wasn’t intending on commenting – just got a little carried away:) thanks for what you are doing.

Reply January 22, 2013, 12:15 am

ren

Hi Eric and everybody,
you still there? Happy new year!
I’m in a pickle. Been with my boyfriend for two tests. I feel like he is the down in control of our relationship. When he wants to mess about its fine, but when he is in a bad mood and I want to mess about to distract me, he gets very angry. If I don’t want hugs, he thinks it’s fine to seek that physical affection from me, but when I seek it and he doesn’t want it, he calls me needy. I don’t think.I’m needy, I simply have my emotional needs once is a while. It’s funny how he only notices me being ‘needy’ when he wants space. Also when I say I would like to talk and he does something on the computer, he will say: we can talk after I have finished what I’m found. He also accuses me that I want things my way and he won’t talk to me only because I ‘ demand’ it at that moment. If my friend told me all what I’ve just written I’d say the guy is a selfish git. How would you see it?

Reply January 4, 2013, 3:45 am

ren

I meant *years not tests, sorry

Reply January 4, 2013, 3:46 am

justine Adjaka

Hello
I am a matured woman of 30 years i met my guy from canada two years ago, we started dating he made me believe that he is so much in love with me.
He come to my home to eat meal with me and my family and spent time with me.
He left back in three month and propose to marry me.
Since then i spoke to him only twice on Phone he later change his cell number so i coudnt reach him and he never called. he came back in a year time and just told me ” i am sorry but i cannot be with you anymore, i had a lot of stress back home and i got myself a girlfriend whom i marying soon so i cant be with you beside i feel nothing for you anymore so i just want to be a platonic friend” we broke up. He came back again after one year now and started chasing after me all over tthat he want to see me, there then his girfriend was suppose to join him back here but he told the girl wouldnt like africa because he is in africa now and iam an african too. so when the girfriend came the spent two weeks together and soon she left he started calling me again, then one thing lead to another and another we started having sex then he confess to me that he love me and that he is been a fool . How can a man who says he doesnt feel anything for me in point in time feel something for me now? is it that because i seems happy with my Job and contended with my life then and no more stress over him like before?
This time he want to see me often and call me but Three from now he hasnt been calling me again all of a sudden, he is actually working on a project in Africa too that is hectic. i am the only person that call him now and he doesnt even call me. i sent him a message to encourage of his love for mee and that i know that he is a good man, but i do not want him to hurt me anymore like he did in the past. the next day he call me to check on me and wanted to meet me but i couldnt make it up to him. just after that he did not call again so i decided to stop calling him.

I am confuse what do you think about this man, do you think he loves me? what should i do? please tell me something

Reply November 3, 2012, 3:41 am

JC

What an interesting story. Did he call you ? What happened after? I think he really loves you. Do not give up.

Reply September 27, 2013, 1:02 pm

Hi Eric

Hi Eric
so i have been reading your articles on neediness adn I can truely say I have been needy in my past relationships. I will give you a lil background. I have been dating my boyfriend for almost a year. next weekend being our one year anniversary… He has an avoidant attachment style. He is very focused on his school and work when he needs to be, gives me his full attention when he spends the weekends with me. He is very loving, caring, giving, helpful adn initimate. BUt when we are not together during the week, when im working and he is in school he doesnt alwys initiate contact. in teh oast i have told him when he does it it makes me eveyr happy to hear from him and immediately he says he will do more of it adn does it. this last week i ahev been feeling very low adn angery, so after one year i blew up at him. i miss understood his text adn told him that his words are hurtful and insulting. he ofcourse was not happy about that because he was saying “we had a full weekend together nad we will have anotehr one soone nough”…… the next day i got invited for beers by his friends adn was asked to convince him to come out cuz he was staying home to do his homework. i nicely said i got invited and the boys want me to convince you to come. he immediately replied back saying he couldnt cuz he has class at 8 am. i asked if i could go adn have a few bews and he said have fun and apologized. i said i understand and respect his dedication. i drunk dialed him that night (first time I ahev drunk dialed him 1 year) and was very sad and crying. he asked what was wrong adn I asked if everything was ok with us. he said yes, why wouldnt it be? and i said cuz lately i dont hear much from you adn thought maybe something happened. he said no and that its only been two days since we have talked and i said yes i undertstand that but that can be a long time when all i w3ant is just to hear your voice. he said i ahve told you, you can call me whenever, in which i replied yes i know that but when i do not hear from you for three days i assume you are busy with school work, so i become fearfukl in callimng you cuz i am afraid im going to annoy you. he said im not always studying, adn i said well i dont know that, when i dont hear from you i assume you are, adn teh last thing i want to do is distract you from your studied cuz i know you are afraid of the future adn where you are going with your career. I have a full time job, make great money, have my own place, my own car adn he lives the life of a typical student. adn i understand how that can be intimidating or fearfuk to a guy. anywho. so the nect day he messaged me asking how i was so i decided take the lead and call. we spoke for anotehr ten minutes about our day and how he classes were. i ended the conversation with my apologies for blowing up at you and the drunk call. i was having a bad day and miss read your text and blew up at you. and just like you dont like to lose control of your emotions when you drink, this is why i dont drink cuz i get all wemotional adn lose control he said he undertood and i said i will make more of an effort to call you and he said he will too. i asked him to call me the nexy day at a specific time and HE DID. TEN MINUTES EARLIER when initially when i asked he said he is going out with the boys and he might not be able to. he did. but i did not talk about myself at all. something happened in his family that he does not want to share yet so i brought up a hilarious story his friends had told me and in minutes i had him laughing adn telling me about this camping trip. he spoke the entire 10 minutes and i ended it with, your friend are waiting for you, go out and enjoy a few brews, you have deserved it. but then again the nesxt day nothing. notta. so i snet him a text saying good morning and i hope you have a better day. he said hi 2 hours later and i was busy at work so 4 hours later i said hi and thats all…… now here i am freaking out that i have already ruined teh relationship by drunk dialing him, he doesnt call cuz he thinks im needy and is trying to sever ties…… am i overthinkign this? am i still in the good? can i redeem this? and how? please help eric.

thank you
G

Reply September 23, 2012, 11:43 am

Kelly

Hi Eric! (Or anyone!)

I was wondering if you could shed some light on my situation personally. I am in a long distance relationship. We have been together 2+ years. In Feb, we broke up and were on and off for a bit. We broke up three times, and the third was in March. We broke up because some girl friended me on Facebook who was his mutual friend and had written something on his wall about him being with some girl all the time. I confronted him about it. He said they were just friends. Then, we met that weekend and I looked through his phone. The girl that he said was his friend had texted him. I asked about it and he broke up with me for lack of trust. I did not contact him for 4 weeks.
After four weeks, he texted me saying he loved me and always would. He asked to get back together and talked about marriage/kids. (We are young but it was still nice to hear–I’m 22 and he’s 24).
I saw him briefly in May and then just visited him last weekend. I had been studying for the MCAT. We had a nice weekend, but I saw him texting that girl. They did not text a lot, but it still happened. Also, he left me at his apartment to pick up his nephew that we babysat for a bit. His best friend’s girlfriend lives close to where his nephew lives and she is best friends with the girl in question. I know he was just picking a kid up.. but I dont know why I did not go?
Also, he will not be my friend on FAcebook because of what happened and he says I take it too seriously and that it does not matter. He does not always tell me what he is doing or who he is with. He will sometimes say it does not matter because I do not know them or something like that..
I understand everything…. I guess, but do you think I am being horrible. We talk once a day on the phone for like 20-30 min and text a little bit because he said he is tired after work. He works with kids outside 12 hours a day.
I asked him if he wanted to be together forever and he said yes. We discussed med school and my possible relocation to some random state and he said my future should not depend on him since he is in school too.

I would like to know if I am being completely insane and need to work on myself and things will change or if I should talk to him about it? If so, HOW? I do not want to turn it into an argument.
Also, is repeating yourself a horrible thing for a guy? Should I think that because he said it once and we are still together things havent changed in the 3 months we have been together and that he came back and obviously wants to be with me?
Would it make sense for him to be with me and put in effort if he had a girl that was not long distance?

THANKS!!!!

Reply June 26, 2012, 2:08 pm

paige

I’m not in a needy mindset, I am not needing my boyfriend to do certain things to fulfill me. What I am trying to figure out is if we are a good fit for each other and if we both, like Eric said, “give a crap about each other.” It recently has not been feeling like my boyfriend does. We have been together almost a year and suddenly he is different. When were together things are great, but it doesn’t seem like he is putting forth as much effort as he had been and I feel like he doesn’t want to spend as much time with me anymore. I am willing to walk away from the relationship, I am not going to wait around for him to decide what he wants, however I do want to be with him. So how can I express that without coming off as needy or like I am giving him an ultimatum? I want to work things out not end things, but if he isn’t sure I am not waiting around.

Reply May 21, 2012, 12:02 am

Ally O' Mally

Dear ANYBODY,
I’m a 19 year old college student and I’ve been in a Long Distance Relationship with my military boyfriend for 3 years. Things have been absolutely terrible for the past month! Ever since I’ve made new friends and got really drunk (for the first time) at a party. He’s been extremely controlling of me lately; playing mind games with me to keep me down, and trying to get me to stop hanging out with my friends. RED FLAG! I love him with all of my heart and i know he feels the same way, but we just keep fighting over stupid things. Like why I didn’t call him at a certain time, or how i should’t have gone to the beach, or gone to a friends house, or gotten my homework done on time to call him. Its gotten CRAZY! I finally lost it and told him how I feel, and that i couldn’t take it anymore, but we keep getting into petty arguments and i feel stuck. I feel like if i break up with him I’ll be making a huge mistake. We’ve been so close before and it felt like he was the one I’d be with forever. It was beautiful. But now I just wait for us to start fighting again. How do i end a relationship with someone that I’m in love with? We’re falling apart and it hurts like hell but i don’t know what to do anymore. My heart is breaking.
Please help me,
Ally

Reply May 18, 2012, 3:39 pm

Maddy

Dear Ally,

I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. Unfortunately I understand – to a certain extent – how you feel. Your post really resonated with me and I wanted to share my story with you, which is fairly similar to yours. I just graduated from college this May (yay!) and was in a relationship that started with such intense passion about two years ago during a summer trip. :) We hit it off perfectly in every way possible. Like you, I could actually see a future with him. I really thought it would last forever. However, our short time together (physically) was interrupted by long distance for almost two years.

The first year we made it through okay but after that things started to go downhill. Communication decreased, we argued about petty things. Usually we talked our way through it, as a team, but after two years of college and extremely little communication it was tough to turn around. We even had a trip planned to see each other this summer. This is where I feel terrible, but I just officially ended our relationship the night before our trip. The entire week before that I realized we weren’t going to go back to what we had before the distance came between us. We had tried to improve multiple times and both of us failed to do so. Neither of us were able to prioritize the relationship like we once did.

I have also grown and changed in the past two years during our LDR. College is a time to come into yourself as an individual and learn more about who you are. The amount of growth I experienced between when we last saw each other and this visit was two years’ worth. That’s a lot of time and a lot of growing. There are several other factors that went into my decision but I won’t get into them here. I decided it was best if we officially ended our relationship. These words still hurt to say and write, but I know it’ll be okay.

It was an emotional night and a rough skype conversation. I feel terrible about what I did (coming to this realization the night before the trip), but could not have dealt with making him come out to see me thinking it was a happy reunion. I left the invitation open for him to still come visit, but he understandably said no. I know he is mad at me with everything purchased for the trip, but I couldn’t make him visit if I knew deep down it was over. I love him, not at the level he deserves, and I know he loves me.

It was an extremely difficult decision, but once I followed through with it I knew I made the right choice. I have no doubt that if we were never separated by distance we could have lasted forever. But I also know going forward what kind of work goes into understanding someone else’s needs in a relationship, and that I’m not ready for an LDR anytime soon. I learned a lot. I am glad to say I have felt a true connection of love with another individual at least once in my life. Now I am taking time to learn more about myself, send quality time with girlfriends and guy friends, and explore the nooks and crannies of my city before I leave for graduate school. I know once I am happy and content with myself, another person with just as much passion for life will cross my path.

I agree with Eric. Distance kills. But it doesn’t mean you can’t learn and grow all the same. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you and your boyfriend all the best. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone.

Best wishes,
Maddy

Reply June 15, 2012, 8:38 pm

Kj3175

I would love some advice. Going to give the short story.. Been in a relationship with this guy for about 2 years. In the beginning he wld not fully commit. So I backed off. He started acting different and wanted to be exclusive after a while. We were doing great about 3 weeks ago I get a call that he has been talking and texting a girl that he was seeing when we first started talking and going out. They were not exclusive at the time and neither were we. But apparently when during their conversations a couple weeks ago he did not tell her that he was in a exclusive relationship with me.  So she called me to find out what was going on. Well me & the Bf talked about all this and he had kinda giving me a heads up that she might call but to just let him handle it. After talking with her. We sat down and we talked about us and where we went from there.  I know that they had just been talking and had not seen each other and we had really been doing good so I decided to stay with him and let’s work past this and we have been doing great. This past weekend we were at a local bar having a few drinks we both know the owner. The owner gets a phone call from a guy I dated over 18 years ago, he tells him we are there and he the owner hands me the phone. My bf was not sitting beside me at the time but walked back before I gave the phone back.  This x bf and I ended our relationship as friends and have remand friends. I did not hide the phone call or who I was talking to.  I have been with my bf all weekend.  I stayed at home last night and before we got off the phone to go to bed, he made the comment don’t be up all night flirting.  It just kinda threw me off guard and I said whatever. Well I decided to text him this morning and ask him if something was bothering him that the comment he made about flirting just kinda threw me off..  He texted back that something is always bothering him and he was still thinking about me on the phone with an old flame with him there he didn’t know why I wld do that. I waited about 30 minutes to text back and this is what I sent him : me -Rcalled E, E mention that WE were there. He handed me the phone. Asked how I was & if We as in me & you were there visiting..You heard most of the conversation.  R and I have always remand friends. We dated over 18 years ago if not longer and we ended things as friends. I wasn’t trying to hide it from you and it’s not like he called my phone.  I hate that it bothered you.  I dont even consider him an old flame more like an old friend.  Here was his response: Js …I walked bak in there and you was on the phone with him that’s all I new.   
I have not responded back just really don’t have anything nice to say back it aggravates me that I keep having to pay for his past relationship of being burned when in the last year I have gone out of my way to prove to him that I’m not like that and he can trust me.  Should i have responded different to his text and should I respond to his last text or just not text him back.  I have not heard anything from him since he sent the last text.  Please please respond with any advice… Thanks 

Reply May 1, 2012, 12:23 pm

Kj3175

Also on more than one occasion I have busted him talking to his ex. Says its just talk and nothing to it..

Reply May 1, 2012, 2:06 pm

Helen

Hey Eric,
I agree with you about LDRs. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2 years now and for the majority of that he’s been living 10000 miles away in Australia. When I came back from a 3 month holiday there in September I got really bad depression and became very needy (I’ve never been like that before – I hate neediness). He broke up with me in January because he couldnt deal with the distance anymore (and my depression) which completely destroyed me. Now we’re back together as he realised he’d made the wrong decision, and he’s decided to move back to the uk to be with me. My problem is that now I know how awful breaking up felt while I had depression I am constantly worrying that it could happen again. I’m not needy towards him anymore but when he goes for a few days without speaking to me I do the thing you describe above and create ‘what if?’ scenarios and panic and worry and its awful. I know he loves me and really cares about me and that my fears are unfounded, I just really need some advice on how to go about altering my mindset. Thanks :)

Reply April 16, 2012, 6:53 am

Eric Charles

Neediness is a mindset – it is created from having those fearful emotions stemming from fear of loss and the fear that you could never do better than him…
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Ultimately, you need to find the pathway to love where you can’t “lose” that other person.
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True love, real love, is not about attaching yourself to the other person. Nor is it like possessing them like an object.
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True love is loving that person. That’s it.
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Anything else is just mind drama.
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Now granted, speaking to you as someone who’s experienced a good deal of depression, I can tell you that you need to take special care in your life to keep your mental state strong, fulfilled and happy.
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Personally, I’ve learned that I’m not someone that can live without exercise and a good diet. When I let myself go and stop exercising and eating right, it’s only a matter of time before depression creeps up for me.
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There are other lifestyle choices that can lead me towards depression as well – caffeine addiction for one… I’m an avid coffee drinker and sometimes the feeling of caffeine withdrawal mirrors the feelings of depression – the fact that I realize this prevents me from labeling it as depression though. So there’s a degree of knowing yourself too…
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Finally, your overall life arrangement makes a huge difference. Being surrounded by good supportive friends and people who love you is essential – not just to healing your depression but also to make sure you don’t have an emotional void (that you would then try to use your relationship to fill).
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Because we’re talking about depression here, I want to point out that I am NOT a doctor nor am I a “licensed professional” or giving professional advice. This is just me talking to you, some guy over the internet sharing his thoughts. So if you need professional help here, get it from a professional.
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With all that said, your focus here needs to be on filling your life up with fulfillment, happiness and self-love from all different places – not just your relationship. And GET RID of things and people that bring you down. Ultimately you want to get rid of anything that fuels fearful thoughts… that will save you.

Reply April 16, 2012, 9:52 am

Helen

Thanks for such a quick response. That was really helpful :)

Reply April 16, 2012, 3:55 pm

Jenna

Hi Eric,

I stumbled on your site and am now compulsively hooked! Never thought I’d ask a question like this in a public forum but here goes! Is there any point in being remotely optimistic about a happy ending with a guy I knew 20 years ago? Classic Facebook reunion stuff – lots and lots of meaningful contact and about the here and now, not just the past BUT he’s since emigrated and is over 5000 miles away. We frequently talk about how we could meet up but realistically…?

Reply March 24, 2012, 2:25 pm

Eric Charles

20 year reunion? Sure, that could be possible.
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5000 miles away? Yeah… that’s a problem.
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People hate when I say this because they’re usually doing everything they can to nurse their idealistic optimism, but I always say:
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Long Distance KILLS Relationships.
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Now… you may meet up and hook up. But if your intent is for it to turn into some kind of committed / exclusive relationship… unlikely unless one of you is planning on moving across the world for the other.
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If you want to hook up though… hey, go for it.

Reply March 24, 2012, 2:30 pm

jade

Eric are you married? You surely don’t sound like it. Relationships do need things if that’s the case the other partner gonna find it some place eles. Correct yourself. Because cus their nothing wrong with a women needing to have attention in relationship. Ok so I’m a women and let me put it to you what the women really saying: I don’t want to give up.on the person I love BUT I NEED more out of him. I NEED more from him or OTHERWISE this relationship is not going to work or I might cheat. Secondly your wrong yet AGAIN. You may not think long distance relationship don’t work but in reality they do. Army girlfriends and wives do it all the time. And many other people who I known do to. It goes like this: the longer the distance the harder the d*ck lol. So if he’s crazy in love with you he miss that.

Reply March 22, 2012, 8:38 am

Eric Charles

No, I’m not married. But being married or not does not make a person an expert in relationships… if it did, we wouldn’t have a soaring divorce rate in America.
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And we NEED oxygen. We NEED food. We NEED water. Those are NEEDS.
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When you look at a relationship like it’s oxygen and water, you end up ramping up your emotions and blinding yourself with intense inner turmoil. Take it down a notch…
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Yes, we all want a relationship where the partner is reciprocating and giving to the relationship. But what I’ve found (and mind you, this is after literally 10 million+ women have rolled through my articles) is that when a person, man or woman, gets blinded by their own fears, worries, desires, nightmares, fantasies, etc…… they stop GIVING to the relationship and fixate on taking.
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So yeah, you can NEED all you want. But it’s not putting positive energy into the relationship. It’s not going to make the guy turn around and say, “Wow, this woman who is constantly upset, constantly demanding reassurance and using our relationship as an emotional crutch is really fulfilling to me.”
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Not going to happen. You get back what you PUT INTO relationships… doesn’t matter how emotional you get ABOUT your relationship. It matters what positive energy actually ends up going into your relationship.
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And that’s why I talk about building yourself a strong, firm foundation emotionally. That’s why I talk about showing up whole to your relationship. That’s why I talk about being happy and fulfilled in your own life so that you don’t use your relationship as a crutch.
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It’s because that foundation is necessary if you want a relationship where the guy is giving to your so-called needs. You gotta give a guy space to psychologically breathe. You have to shift your mindset from the immature “I *need* this…” to “I’m completely fulfilled and I can *provide* this…”
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As for your views on long distance relationships, respectfully… I disagree. Long distance kills relationships in the MAJORITY of cases. They don’t all fail… only in the majority of cases.

Reply March 22, 2012, 11:06 am

Ali

Right on Eric! Thank you for spelling it out this way….”It’s not going to make the guy turn around and say, “Wow, this woman who is constantly upset, constantly demanding reassurance and using our relationship as an emotional crutch is really fulfilling to me.” ….Whether it’s consciously or subconsciously, if this is a man’s reality of the relationship, of course he’s going to withdrawal and keep withdrawaling! And thank you for “doesn’t matter how emotional you get ABOUT your relationship. It matters what positive energy actually ends up going into your relationship.” I totally understand and relate to what the bloggers were saying about meeting relationship “needs” but for me, these two simple comments of yours brought your whole point across. It just hit me like a good hard slap of reality on my “emotional” tendencies towards analyzing a relationship even though I am aware of how a proactive and practical mindset is key to shifting the reality of the relationship….interesting blog all around. Thanks again!

Reply March 23, 2012, 9:38 am

G

I think people misuse the word need for want. If you want your bf or gf to do something there’s no harm in giving that person positive reinforcement and praising all the wonderful things he or she does for you. If you find yourself dissatisfied in a relationship and not getting what you want and deserve then perhaps the way they give love is different then the way you do. Time to walk away. I did from someone I loved very dearly. We both loved each other immensely but I’m not going to settle for less than I deserve. I’m happy with myself and even if I find a great connection with someone I’m perfectly willing to move on to be with someone that puts in the effort. My needs are met and I don’t rely on anyone for those needs.

Reply April 10, 2012, 7:52 pm

Belle

That’s well said. I’ve been struggling to understand this needs vs. wants idea. I think the way this forum uses the word ‘needs’ is a bit different from how alot of people use it. I think many people refer to their relationship ‘needs’ when they really mean their ‘wants’.

You said that you didn’t settle for less than what you deserve. What I still struggle to understand is that yes, I have to respect my relationship wants, but how do I know if they are unrealistic? How do I know if I’m wanting too much? Is it just a general feeling… do you just have to clue in to yourself to sense any discomfort with the situation? For example, alot of girls ‘want’ their boyfriends to text them everyday, but this seems a little unrealistic. How do you decide what you will settle for?

November 13, 2012, 9:22 pm

Lindsay

i wanna add to what Eric said, in regards to the building yourself up emotionally and even physically, the point of that is for YOU not for anyone else, if you make getting in shape the guy instead of about you, ur simply repeating old mistakes in a smaller pant size…he is telling you in essence, that when you are whole, and YOU are the most important person in your life, anyone else who comes into it cannot take that away from you…when ur confidence is genuine, u will experience hurt when necessary in a relationship, but you won’t ever feel you need anything from someone else that YOU can’t give to yourself…any person that you allow into your life in a meaningful way should reinforce the positive things you see in yourself, if that isn’t happening, the relationship or you need to change…about the long distance thing, maybe its more fair to state that long distance reltionships are far less likely to work than a regular one…i beleive a lot of factors play into it, how long have the two been togethr before the other moved? the longer they are together, or if their are children involved ( such as the army wife situation), how committed they both are at frequent trips to see one another, etc…it just depends, also if the distance is temporary, thats a huge factor, a lot of times if a couple knows they only have to tolerate it for a year, instead of indefinitely…they will make the effort…the 20 year reunion thing i would say is highly unlikley to work, not impossible, but the foundation of a strong reltionship is not there, to try and build one from a distance will be far more difficult…i can imagine…but if you are in love, its worth a shot!

Reply April 19, 2012, 2:50 am

Eric Charles

Great comment Lindsay – thank you for that.

Reply April 19, 2012, 10:20 am

Ginger

Hello,

I have a question with follow-up contact after meeting a guy. I met a guy at a party and he waited 3 days to text me saying hello. That day, we exchanged close to 30 messages back and forth all day (in hind sight, I think this was a mistake). The next day we texted but you could tell that he was keeping his messages brief. He didn’t contact me the following day, which happened to be close to the weekend and hasn’t contacted me all weekend. I thought that he would have called /texted to ask me out this weekend, but not at all. So anyway, I cracked this morning and texted him asking him how he is and he hasn’t replied yet. What am I doing wrong? If he is not replying is it a polite way of saying he’ s not interested, or is he playing games or trying to take it slow… really confused.

Reply March 17, 2012, 3:42 pm

Jules

Maybe you should reword that to what the “relationship needs”. Relationships do need things to survive, or they can’t breathe and they die. Maybe that can put it back into proportion.

Reply March 17, 2012, 1:50 pm

Eric Charles

Sure, but not everyone is a good match for one another.
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And if I run around talking about how a relationship “needs” something to survive, it will put all of the readers right back in the same boat.
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Her boyfriend will be out sleeping with her best friends, forgetting or skipping their anniversary/her birthday, never returning calls or texts… and the girl will be freaking out over all this because she feels she has to give the relationship what it “needs”.
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… when really, it would be a blessing for a relationship like that to fall apart because frankly that guy doesn’t care about her.
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What a relationship “needs” is two people who give a crap about the relationship. And you can’t force that… so for those reasons I would not talk about relationship “needs”.

Reply March 17, 2012, 1:56 pm

Lindsay

“What a relationship “needs” is two people who give a crap about the relationship”
could not have said it better myself haha its exactly the point, u can spout out advice to us woman all you want, but one thing is certain, its all on the presumption that the other party (usually the boyfriend) gives a crap about the reltionship, some men stay in them because it comfortable or convenient, not because they care to revive a suffering one…excellent point :)

Reply April 19, 2012, 2:57 am

Eric Charles

True, true. :)

Reply April 19, 2012, 10:22 am

Vivian

Hi:
I have been with my bf for nearly a year. Recently i became pregnant (very stupid) i wanted to keep it, he didnt.
I tried to convince him until the last minute, but in the end, i had to arrange the worst. I still regret it and will never forget it..
The problem is that i do all these things for him that always show him hes very important to me, and he doesnt even reply when i tell him i love him.
His excuse is that he will say it when he really means it..
Im getting tired of that and started questioning it.. he hates his job and how little he earns.
What i really need him to give me, he doesnt. I always provide for us, so finacially i am not dependant on him.
Sometimes i feel that i can do better, but when i think of how i’ve been treated by other men, i kinda bite my tongue and put up with everything because better the devil you know..
Its only some days when he thinks of himself first that i explode and everything that’s been annoying me comes out?
What can i do? i am stuck.

Reply March 11, 2012, 4:59 am

Ally O' Mally

He loves you I’m sure, but maybe he has a problem sharing his feelings. You do deserve better, and you CAN do better. Don’t ever think that you can’t. I feel the same way sometimes, but i know its wrong, and i think about if I’m getting what i want out of the relationship, and maybe if i can get more out of life by being single or being with someone else. You want to be happy. Maybe you need someone who is a little bit more attentive to you and is less self absorbed. Also, try to confess what annoys you in a less explosive way.

Reply May 18, 2012, 4:17 pm

vivian k

how to tell a guy u acknowledge them without sounding like you are soo into him!that he can get away with anything?

Reply March 4, 2012, 3:29 pm

Charlene

HI, my x Boy friend emailed me and said I am not sure what you want from me. what is he saying?

Reply February 29, 2012, 9:25 pm

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