This topic contains 13 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Andrea 3 weeks, 4 days ago.
January 16, 2020 at 7:57 pm #783076
Hello ladies and gents! I need advice because I made a mistake with the man I love (and who says he love me) and I want very much to correct the problem. It’s a long post but I wanted to give you all the info.
My fear is that I came across as incredibly needy during a silly argument, and that’s the LAST way I want to be thought of.
Here’s our background: We met 3 years ago and very very slowly became friends. Over a year ago, my guy separated from his wife of 5 years. From what I understand, they both wanted this divorce equally because they grew apart after 3 years of marriage and had basically been living separate lives. Still, it’s been an uphill battle. They have two young, adorable kids and unfortunately are still working out custody. The end is in sight but for the next few months, a lot of his time is going to go into this divorce.
5 months ago, he asked me out. While I was excited, I was also extremely hesitant to get into a relationship knowing his situation. Well, slowly but surely my fears vanished because he has done and said many things to show me that he is serious about a long-term relationship with me. I think of him as a very good, honest man. I believe him when he says he is serious about me and more than ready for a committed relationship. His daily actions have backed up the things he’s told me.
Because I was so hesitant, we only became official maybe 2 months ago (this was ME putting the brakes on – he has since told me that he thought of me as his girlfriend after a month).
Our budding relationship was going very smoothly before the silly fight: He communicated with me daily, said goodnight every night, and we went back and forth on who said good morning. We’ve done a lot physically but actually haven’t had sex yet (HIS idea to wait – he said he wanted to be in love the next time he was with a woman). A few weeks ago he told me he loved me and I said it back. He tries to see me as often as he can, but with the divorce proceedings and two children, it isn’t nearly as often as I’d like. Still, we’re both nice and busy and I’m not too worried. He’s an incredibly independent man and prides himself on not relying on others (this played into the fight).
Pros and cons about me: I have a very full, exciting life. I’m starting a business, have good friends, and love to go out both by myself and with others. “Needy” does not describe me, however, “a romantic” definitely does. My cons: I read between lines way too often. And if I don’t like what I interpret I get sad or mad quickly. I’m working on this.
So here’s what our silly fight was about: Two weeks beforehand he started to act slightly distant, but only slightly! Still, I was reading between lines and it put me on edge. Then one afternoon we were talking about what our life together would look like after he was fully divorced. As I said, he doesn’t have much free time right now and accomplishing his personal goals is very important to him. He was talking about how the stress and time of the divorce was no fun but that he hoped he could get back to his normal daily routine once the divorce was finalized. I playfully said, “Well hopefully things will be normal but you’ll be happier whenever we have more time together.” He responded, “No, I try not to base my happiness around others.”
I paused. I was very confused. In my head, I had basically just asked the man if more time with me in his life would make him happier, and his response was no. I hadn’t meant to ask a trick question but the answer I got stunned me. Because I was already on edge from his slight distance, I became upset and tried to explain why what he said hurt. He seemed just as confused as me and said, “Why would it be a bad thing for me not to want to put the state of my happiness on your shoulders?”
In hindsight, the two of us were talking about two different things entirely. He thought I was asking about his general happiness and thought it was a positive thing to proclaim how independent he was and how his happiness depended on him and him alone. I thought he was saying that I could come into and leave his life and nothing about his happiness would change. The upsetting thing is that in the heat of the moment, neither of us understood a word the other said. It was a fight that shouldn’t have happened. But it did… and I said some things…
I tried to explain how in my perfect loving relationship, the two people would make each other very happy and that the loss of that relationship would be devastating. Here are some things I remember saying:
— I care for you dearly, if you were gone I’d be miserable for a long time.
— I feel like an accessory when you say that I don’t make you happier than you’d be on your own.
— I want a big love, one that changes and grows you as a person.
— Are you and I actually compatible when it comes to what we both want out of love?
Clearly, I overreacted. Yes, he misunderstood me and chose the wrong moment to prove how tough and capable he was. But it was me who took it to a level it didn’t need to go to.
The fight lasted a few hours and in the end, he apologized for misunderstanding me and I apologized for jumping to conclusions. Still, the way we communicated was lukewarm and two days of little contact followed. On the third day, he asked if there was anything else I wanted to say. I quickly explained how both of us seemed to be fighting about two separate things and that we simply hadn’t understood the other. I said that I didn’t need a man to be happy but hoped our future was a happy one. He nodded and didn’t say anything and moved on, probably thinks I did too. But I’m still worried that I came across as incredibly needy.
Everything I said to him is true. I AM looking for a big love that makes me very happy. I want to be with a man who would be devastated if I was gone. I don’t believe this makes me a needy woman. I AM happy without a man in my life and I love ME always. But I still am hoping for the kind of relationship that increases my happiness. I think that if I had said all these things during a romantic convo they would have been accepted in the sweet positive way I meant them. But having blurted out all of them in a fight I think I came across as a woman who relies on a man for her total happiness. Damn damn damn!
I’m afraid my complete honesty at the worst time might have scared him. Our fight was a week ago. We’ve gone out twice for lunch since but he seemed more distant. He still reaches out to me daily over text but he takes hours to respond. He hasn’t been very romantic. No sweet “goodnights”, no “good mornings”. Much less physical affection. The last time I saw him was for a few minutes before he left for a weeklong trip. He told me he loved me but there was no kiss goodbye. Now he’s on his trip and while our communication is pleasant it’s only a handful of texts a day and no calls.
I’ve never found myself over-analyzing like this before! For the first time in a long time, I DO feel needy.
I want to salvage this and hope that I can make any thoughts he has of me being hostile or overreactive or needy a distant memory because I truly don’t want those qualities to describe me.
My gut tells me that talking about it some more right now isn’t the best course of action and that I simply need to resume my normal, not needy, not overly dramatic self. But being myself also means being sweet and affectionate, which I’m afraid to do right at this moment.
Should I make myself scarce for a few days for us both to cool off and turn him back into the pursuer? Should I not worry and go back to being sweet and affectionate? Should I have one more conversation with him and confess my fears? Something else entirely?
What do you think? Also, any advice on dealing with this new-to-me-anxiety? Many, many thanks in advance!January 16, 2020 at 8:50 pm #783081
Better off single
How to deal with the new to you anxiety…”I AM happy without a man in my life and I love ME always.”
Stay in that mindset. Leave him alone. It might take awhile for him to realize he misses you and bounce back.
The guy is going through a divorce. Divorces can be dramatic plus he’s in this mindset where he’s better off with out the woman he’s divorcing…. and you throwing all of this at him during all of it may have him reconsidering if it’s worth continuing with you so, I would advise not getting emotional with him at all.
You can tell him in a conversation face to face in your own words these are just ideas so tailor it to work for your situation:
Tell him how much you appreciate how sexy, independent, and strong he is.
You can tell him you realize you kind of flew off the handle and you now understand how stressed out he is about what he is dealing with, how rediculous you were acting over a silly misunderstanding and apologise. And slip in and how much you have missed his good morning and good night texts somewhere. Ps you look super handsome today and I wanna rip your clothes off right now.January 17, 2020 at 3:00 am #783089
I understand exactly what he said and its true! The only one responsible for your happiness is you. When you are reliant on others for it it becomes a pretty big burden for them to shoulder which is why it needs to come from multiple sources which is what generates ones overall happiness. The problem I see with you is that you are too romantic, have this hollywood version of love and that is not realistic nor sustainable. This very well could be why he’s pulling back because he’s unsure he can deliver the kind of romantic love you need and require and how much your happiness hinges on that.
The two of you were still in the “honeymoon phase” when everything was easy, new and fun but the ultimate test is how you deal with real life problems, how you mesh in important areas, and how you work together [key word] to solve problems or issues that arise. I’m going to give you a big “F” on this one solely based on the fact that a response, that you didn’t like, escalated into a four hour argument marathon. Sorry but this is far too much for a man to handle and he’s probably still recovering from it! I was married over 20 years, had less than 10 arguments and I don’t think any of them lasted 5 minutes! You get your point across, listen to theirs, come up with a quick solution and move on.
I don’t know if the damage is done or not but he is definitely reassessing if he wants to continue with this relationship or not. If I were you, I would take a step back and get to the root cause of why you need to engage in four hour argument marathons? Seriously, those are break up type arguments, not conversational type arguments that should have been resolved in less than 5 minutes. It could very well that is still in the forefront of his mind, feels like he’s walking on egg shells afraid if he say’s the wrong thing it will turn into another one.
If I were you I would NOT talk about it any further! Give him some space to get over it, don’t argue like that ever again, and take some time to decide if he’s the man who can deliver the type of romantic love you require, as he’s not a Hollywood actor, but a man who has individual needs and goals, outside of the relationship, that he derives happiness from too.January 17, 2020 at 5:29 am #783090
Learn to let go
I think it’s important to have face to face conversations.
Inflections, tone of voice, body language, eye contact…so important.
What if your partner battles with dyslexia and reading comprehension?January 17, 2020 at 9:20 am #783096
I would be very careful dating a man who is not divorced. It’s rebound territory and he may not even be aware he is doing it. What’s the prognosis of the divorce? I think you may have subconsciously picked up on something he is not forthcoming about. I would absolutely talk about it, but I wouldn’t bring it up now and I would not treat this as a serious relationship until he has been officially divorced for a full year.January 17, 2020 at 9:25 am #783097
This is gonna sound fairly harsh. But I don’t think you accidentally came across as needy I think you actually are needy. And that’s OK to be a little needy we all are, but the reality is nobody should be the center of your life. It is best to say I would be disappointed if things didn’t work out but I would be just fine. I’m glad to hear that you guys are communicating again and that you’ve had this bump and made it through. However I really suggest you look at where you get your value from. Value and happiness does not come from a relationship. And it put it in the hands of another for your moods and how you feel about yourself. He is not wrong. My guess is is that he’s done a lot of self work and knows that love is an inside job. Just pull back a little and let him inInitiate. If he does, just be warm and playful and welcoming. Please stop adding problems on top of problems. No man should ever be the center of your world even if they are your husband. You are the center of your world always. That does not mean you’re not disappointed it just means you’re not crushed when someone leaves or decides to not be interested or whatever that is.
I am sorry but it is very needy to say that you’re going to be devastated if someone leaves and that you’re gonna be happier if you’re in a relationship. No one is happier in a relationship. You’re either a happy person or you’re not and that is relationship agnostic. I suggest you learn a lot more about why he’s getting divorced because this might be the key problem for him. There may have been these dynamics before.
Also He’s not divorced. Which means he has not actually play the field. I am sad to say but he may be questioning whether or not he wants to be this serious with someone when he’s just getting out of a marriage. He has not tried anybody else but you and now you’re basically saying that you need someone who’s life you’re going to be in that they were going to be your life that is a lot of pressure. I suggest you pull way back, and by that I mean just let him initiate and have his time to think. The more you around the more it’s going to be a problem. Just let him come to you when he’s ready and be always warm and open and playful when that happens. So if he ask you how your day is going to think of somethingI’m fun to respond with. But let him do the initiation.January 17, 2020 at 10:16 am #783098
Better off single
Yep. Everything boils down to cost. So how much do you cost? What’s your value?
Sure you will be fine if it doesn’t work out and you are not needy for expressing how you feel. unless you are a careless and emotionless person, that feeling of loss really hurts and if you love someone that much and they don’t feel the same way, and they walk away, it is devestating.
I don’t blame you for wanting someone to be in your life and have a future with. Just take it one day at a time and watch his actions. When he pulls back, you pull back. This guy is probably on the rebound. I know after my 8 year relationship, I was unsure if I wanted to rush into another relationship the pain in separation kept me from wanting to be alone in my bed.
Just be careful.January 17, 2020 at 12:02 pm #783099
Thank you for the good advice everyone! I really appreciate it.
I realize that the details of the fight weren’t clear. The actual argument only lasted maybe 20 minutes and no one raised their voice. Then we both walked away and he came back within a few hours a genuinely apologized for misunderstanding my question and I apologized for thinking he meant he didn’t care. I take full responsibility to escalating the fight to place it didn’t need to go. From previous relationships I am not used to men who don’t express much, so when he was saying only cold things and clearly wanted some space I freaked out (using a non-yelling voice) when I should taken some deep breaths. Live and learn! From his previous treatment I should have known that he cared for me and wanted me in his life and shouldn’t have let a few “lone wolf” comments derail that. Our communication is so on-point usually, so hopefully this complete misunderstanding is a one-off.
Thank you for the concern about his divorcing situation. That’s actually how I found this forum! – looking for other woman who had been in similar situations. It really seems like everybody has different experiences so I think it’s good advice to simply take it one day at a time. In my self-betterment quest to stop jumping to conclusions, I don’t want to assume I’m just a rebound but I think keeping my eyes open and seeing what I see is smart.
As far as the neediness goes, I really love how many women in this forum always come back to the advice of loving yourself through and through. That’s so healthy and the way we should all be. “Devastated” was the wrong word to use if a loving relationship didn’t work out. “Sad as I worked to get over it” sounds more like me. I do stand by what said I was looking for in love: two people who care deeply for one another and who do bring happiness into the other’s lives. Not total happiness of course! That baseline feeling of fulfillment and joy must come from within. But I still want someone who brings happiness to the table as well. I certainly don’t want to be with anyone who makes me unhappy!
I still feel embarrassed and not like myself in this moment but the current plan is to keep living my life and doing the things I love to do – can someone say happiness! :)
Perhaps I’ll update if there’s news worth sharing!January 17, 2020 at 12:42 pm #783103
You sound like you’re on a good path Lizzie. One of the things I would be careful about though is is that, if he chooses to leave the relationship that does not make you a rebound. In today’s world we take a rebound to be anything that doesn’t work if it ends and then they meet someone else and it lasts. To me a rebound is something different than that. It’s clear that no matter what happens between the two of you that while you’ve actually been together he is cared for you very much. He may not want to continue but that could happen in any relationship. So just keep taking care of you and keeping warm to him, letting him get through his stuff, and everything’s gonna be OKJanuary 17, 2020 at 4:30 pm #783121
One thing i do know is that to try to make clear you are not needy (for example by saying you dont need a man to be happy in your follow up talks) and show him that needy is NOT you is a disaster to happen and will make you look more needy. Not that i like the term needy but you started with it.
I think you are at this point more attached to him and know that (which is also not so weird since he is going through a divorce) and therefore absolutely not playfully said that he would be happy to spend more time with him. That was you putting words one his mouth looking for validation and it backfired. Guys tend to see through these girl tactics (my man does and is blind to many other things).
But: stop being embarrashed, stop looking for a gracefull come-back. Just be open and friendly but stop overinvesting. This isnt easy, but there is a real chance this wont work out and thats not because you are needy, but because he wante his freedom after the divorce is finalJanuary 18, 2020 at 1:03 am #783153
T from NY
Having ONE or TWO “moments” where you feel vulnerable or anxious with your partner DOES NOT MAKE A WOMAN NEEDY. I think the word is necessary to describe how some women act and push men away – but we call women having occasional emotional events something negative (“needy”) it only disparages the differences between men and women, and women are hysterical and men won’t like it and run away and blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s not okay. And let me tell you something else — if a man is in love with you, and you are 80-90 percent of the time not overly-emotional or anxious — it will not matter a jot. Do you know when it matters? When two people aren’t on the same page. I even think that most well adjusted women only begin to feel anxious or act ‘needy’ when their intuition begins to pick up on the man pulling away – for whatever reason anyway. You did nothing wrong. We are human. Emotions are messy. You’re heart is becoming more invested.
I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting a big love! You may have to make a lot of sacrifices for it, be alone longer than most, maybe get your heart broke a little but IVE HAD a big love and it was the best experience of my life and I will always cherish it no matter what my future holds.
BUT all that being said – I think what’s really going on here is — some unrealistic expectations that THIS man can give you that RIGHT NOW. This man can’t grow some big ole love with you while he’s going through a divorce and custody matters. The two are just not compatible. Ending of a marriage, especially with children, is a loss. A death. And grieving is afoot whether it’s being acknowledged or not. Also I think you sense there is a possibility that he may be in the rebound stage and NEEDS to take time for himself — and that it DOES mean there’s the possibility you could be a rebound. Darling. Of course you could be. That’s the chance you’re taking dating someone in the head and heart space he’s in.
The ONLY real chance you have at this point (and it’s impossible to predict because he may have been NOT EVEN consciously bonding with you only because he needed your partnership for validation and support and diversion and to help him be anesthetized from everything he’s going through AND he’s attracted to you etc…) But the only chance you have is to pull back INTERNALLY. Re-focus on you and stop putting energy into the “us”. “Us” for him may be too tall of an order right now and having to make big promises about deeper commitments such as giving up some of his precious not-having-to-deal-with-a-horrible-divorce-anymore time and give it to you. If he loves you y’all might be able to weather this. Be a soft place for him. See if he steps up. Time will reveal all. Big love can happen when people have freedom and space and aren’t grieving. Get back to you and the girl he fell for. You need to be her with, or without him, anyway.
But if he goes — it will NOT be because you were too “needy” it will be because he was never your forever person in the first place.January 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm #783189
I dont think this guy is ready for what you are looking for here. It sounds to me like you are telilng him indirectly to raise his game. He is questioning and rightly so whether he is ready and if this is what he wants. I think you are a lot more needy than you realise tbh and we all have romantic ideals but you dont spill them out to a man in a insecure moment. Its intense and demanding. I would step way way back and relax and let him come to you. If he does great if he doesnt it was going to go wrong anyway. xJanuary 21, 2020 at 5:50 pm #783412
I’ve read through the responses about being needy, finding happiness in yourself first, etc. But I’m really surprised no one has focused on the fact you have only been dating this man for 5 MONTHS! And you only became official 2 MONTHS ago! The man isn’t divorced, had only been separated a few months when he asked you out and says he is serious about a long term relationship with you.
You haven’t even been physical together yet. Which I think is a good idea but what if you two aren’t even sexually compatible? You don’t even know!!
You know you overreact to things quickly and are working on it. That’s all you need to say further. Don’t bring up the fight, rehash the fight, worry about whether you looked needy, etc. MOVE ON from it!!
While I agree with everyone you have to find happiness in yourself before you can be happy with anyone else, I’ve had both a miserable relationship with an alcoholic and a happy relationship with my current husband. So anyone who says “No one is happier in a relationship. You’re either a happy person or you’re not and that is relationship agnostic.” I don’t agree. You can be the happiest person in the world and incredibly secure in yourself and marry someone who gaslights you, insults you, blames you for everything that’s wrong in the relationship or is a narcissist who adores you at first and sweeps you off your feet only to tear you down later. You can start questioning your worth, don’t feel as confident as you once were, wonder if you’re being too needy, too insecure, etc.
I’m one of those naturally happy people. I am thankful and grateful for all my blessings and it’s rare I’m ever in a bad mood. I’ve been told I light up a room when I walk in, bring a smile to everyone’s face and have a flair for even making strangers open up and talk. And I’ve had friends, co-workers and complete strangers tell me this! I’m not just talking about romantic partners.
But let me tell you when I was miserable the last year of my marriage and going through my divorce I wasn’t me. It wasn’t until after the divorce was final my friends and family and co-workers started commented about how they were so glad I was back. How my smile just lit up the office and made everyone enjoy coming to work (I was the boss) and when it was missing this place wasn’t the same. So if a relationship can make you miserable then it can also make you happy!!! Therefore I disagree with what some on here have said.
Lastly, most people don’t start to grow apart in their marriage after only 3 years. I would think the fact he hasn’t been married very long to be a big red flag. And what do you really think the odds are that the first woman he dates post his divorce is going to turn into a long term relationship and a BIG love…possibly marriage? My guess would be slim to none. Sorry, but most people are the rule not the exception.January 22, 2020 at 3:07 am #783436
This guy isn’t into you and he’s using you as emotional crutch to nurse a bruised ego as a result of the divorce.