As we get older, it gets more difficult to start each relationship with a clean slate. Our past relationship baggage can start to resemble what we'd pack for a year-long ocean voyage, and sometimes it seems we're destined for failure from the get-go. Most of these problems stem from a lack of trust, something we often project on each other because of a past negative experience. And while it's our whole-hearted personal responsibility to get a handle on our anti-trust behaviours, there are some practical tips which can help us keep perspective while we're doing that oh-so-important internal work.
If You Are Feeling Needy:
Bring it out into the open. It always helps to admit you're very aware you have a problem, that you're working on it, and a little help and support about it from your partner will go a long way in making things less bumpy.
Give yourself a reality check. When your mind starts to wander for no real reason about your partner cheating, or possibly leaving you, it's almost like it's actually happening. These are the times we often say things we shouldn't, or treat our partner unfairly - for something that hasn't even happened! You MUST learn to stay in the moment and only pay attention to what's really going on. This means learning to realize the difference between your instincts and that crazy voice in your head that feeds you false stories based solely on fear.
Keep your own identity. We cannot stress how important this is for your sanity. Neediness stems from a feeling that you, or your life, is unfulfilling or boring without the other person. You will never acquire happiness from someone else, and it's not their job to provide it for you. Maintain your own set of friends, hobbies, interests and career. This will keep you interesting to your partner as well, as being constantly available for them gets very old very fast.
Plan your time together. It can really help to have a few date nights per week, instead of constantly expecting and waiting to spend time with your partner. If you know when you will see each other, you can then plan the rest of your life accordingly.
If You Have A Needy Parnter:
1. Be consistent and respectful. Honour your commitments, and do what you say you're going to do. When a partner has trust issues, this is doubly important, and is something that will help them feel secure. Don't play games.
2. Let them know you're thinking about them. A little text or short phone call will go a very long way when you're not able to be together, and shows them you care.
3. Share and discuss what's going on. Whether it's something happening at work, or something funny you heard, sharing your every day life will help you stay connected. It's not necessarily what you're saying, but the fact that you're sharing which creates security.
4. Pay attention to your partner's life. Ask them what's going on so they know you care.
Of course if someone is too needy, or someone is not showing enough attention, you need to have a discussion about what your expectations/needs are within the relationship. If providing security or space feels like a burden, then you will need to look at the deeper issues, including your motivations for being together.