‘Needy’ in Love?


What is this state of mind we call ‘needy?’ First and foremost, it’s a human thing and we all know what it’s like to be temporarily needy. The ‘y’ on the end of the word ‘need,’ however, adds some extras to the word that require understanding.

At this point in time, the word ‘needy’ tends to be used when a negative judgment is being passed on someone. “Stop being so needy!” or “I can’t believe how needy he or she turned out to be.” Most people wouldn’t like to be called needy.

What does a needy person need? Now here is the billion dollar question. Most people will try to answer this question with an obvious, he or she needs love. All you need is love, right? If you mean love in the sense of finding another person to give the needy person the love needed, that wouldn’t be enough. 

First we have to consider the possibility that what the needy person wants is not exactly what the needy person needs. How so? Most needy people want someone to love them ‘unrealistically.’ What I mean is, love them in a way that would be burdensome to most ‘normal’ people. That’s precisely why they are being called needy. Their ‘needy needs’ for love cannot be satisfied by anyone else.

What the needy person wants is for someone to love him or her in a way that takes away all or most of the disappointments in love they have experienced so far in their lives. The fact that the needy person can’t find this particular type of love in adulthood is why they feel so needy. They have their minds set on getting a particular type of love that is no longer available to adults.

To put it more bluntly, it’s the kind of love you’d get in childhood and it’s no longer available once you become an adult. The good news is, as adults with a little bit of sadness and letting go we can learn to live without it. In fact, this old parent-child version of love wouldn’t be very good for the needy person anyway even if they did manage to find it.

But all of this is academic. The real problem for the needy person is, no type of love coming from another person will adequately satisfy as to remove the needy person’s neediness. Now where does this leave the needy person? It looks like the needy person is looking in the wrong place for the right solution to his or her neediness problem.

The real solution for the needy person can only be found in the relationship the needy person has with him or herself. If you are a needy person with your heart set on finding what you think you need from another person you are destined for lifelong misery. The solution to your problem exists in your relationship with yourself. At the moment, your neediness indicates you don’t have a very good one.

To improve your relationship with yourself you’d have to think about YOU as a separate person you should get to know better, or become better friends with, or take better care of, or learn how to love. Any or all of these orientations will take you into the private hidden realm of your RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF.

You see, there are a lot of unused resources inside of you. Stuff you don’t even know about and have never discovered. When you start taking an interest in yourself in the ways I’m describing you’ll start to naturally find these resources and use them. That will automatically change your life. You won’t  feel needy anymore because you will have found a way to take care of some of the important basic needs for love you have yourself.

Remember I’m not saying you’ll become a recluse and you won’t need people anymore. Quite the contrary. I’m saying that SOME of the needs for love you are experiencing cannot be met by any one else but YOU. The rest are for your love life with other people. For needy people, it’s important to be able to tell the difference.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan


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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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