Who needs ya?

Nyx

New member
I just had, what I thought, was a discovery about myself that in order to feel appreciated and secure in a relationship, I like to feel needed...not in a dependent sort of way, but in an appreciative sort of way. Not in a controlling "you do this" way, but in a "you're needed in my life because you're special" sort of way. Maybe "needed" is the wrong word. But I can't think of any other word that might fit.

So I then started to think of things I need out of a relationship. Not necessarily my current one, but any one. Several things came to mind: companionship, someone to talk with and bounce ideas off of, someone to go places with, someone to go to for help, someone to kiss and hopefully make love with...those were a few things I came up with that I think I need.

So I called my bf and asked him if he would please make a list of things he needs in a relationship so that we can learn more about each other and maybe I can know what it is that he would like out of our relationship and vice versa. I thought it would open the door to clarified communication since we seem to be lacking in that department at the moment.

He told me he doesn't need anything from me. Now, I initially interpret this as meaning "I don't need you, you're not important".

But as he begins to explain himself: He feels he doesn't need anything except to breath, food, and water. That everything beyond survival is "extra". He says he doesn't need me to be anything or do anything other than be me.

Now excuse me as I try to wrap my brain around this concept....it sounds lovely and like the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I am humbled by this statement of love. But it also made my desire to define what makes a good relationship seem sort of, well, lame.

Now I'm not sure of what it means to "have your needs met." Now I can't even think of any reasonable thing to "need" from a relationship. I guess I have "wants" and "prefers" but when it comes to just loving someone.... I don't know ....does it even make sense to need anything from someone?

But then I think in practical terms. I guess a woman might "need" her partner to be a good father. But is that a defining part of their relationship? I guess a woman and man can have a loving relationship together and he can be a total scalawag when it comes to being a responsible parent.

But, no - that's not right either.

Forgive me, but am I missing something about not "needing" another human being to behave in a certain way or do certain things in order for you to love them? I can't figure it out. :eek:
 

vandalin

New member
Need and Want have different definitions in my book.

You bf has a point about "need". We don't need anything except the air to breath, food and fluid to keep us going, and perhaps shelter over our heads (that old hierarchy of needs idea).

Want are things we can live without but can be very high priority in our lives. I want my husband/child/family to be happy. I want to have friends/lovers who are comfortable with who I am. When these wants go unfunfilled, it can be just as damaging to us physically and emotionally and a need not getting met, but the chances of us dying from it, not likely.

I think it is a good idea to know what you want out of a relationship and what your partner(s) want out of a relationship. It may not be necessary that a single partner can fulfill all of the needs (poly can be nice that way). Some wants may be deal breakers, if you want children and your partner does not ever want to have children for instance. But some can be worked around, especially in a poly relation where one partner may complement where another does not.
 

River

Active member
Some people may be so generally content, so happy to draw air and be alive, that they don't orient to relationships in terms of meeting "needs," I suppose. And that seems alright. It doesn't necessarily mean that those same people can't greatly enjoy the company of others and share happy or joyful experiences, or give of themselves, or receive from others.

And then there are people who have been so wounded in some way that they will not or cannot acknowledge their needs, or perhaps they conflate needs with "neediness," or expectations -- or even demands?

Most of the folks in this forum, myself included, have some degree of ... shall we say... self-esteem "issue," and I suspect that we often didn't get the kind or degree of loving that we needed in our growing up years. We have, to some extent or another, unmet needs having to do with affection and love -- and often hope that others can, by relating with us, resolve this problem. But at least nine-tenths of the healing of such wounds to our heart/soul probably need to come from within ourselves, and only in this way, this meeting of ourselves with love and tenderness, compassion..., will our loving relationships with others feel less like a gaping unmet need.

That all said, I really do think that people need some things which we often don't get enough of, which are less tangible and survival oriented than food, water, and air. Unfortunately, we too often try to meet some of these needs exclusively with a romantic partner (or two, or three). One such need which comes to mind is the human need for belonging in supportive, sensitive, nurturing community. The modern, capitalist industrial world has done much to damage such "community," as I want to call it. People call any town or city a "community," but community involves more cooperation, collaboration, sharing..., than most of us experience regularly. In what may be called a "healthy community," one would feel that they could give to something which itself is giving. Our gifts aren't simply taken, but received; and by "receive" I mean to imply a sense of responsibility to others in the community to keep the gifts flowing. Such community needs to be nurtured by many over time, like an apple orchard or a garden, or it withers away by neglect.

I honestly think a major unmet need for most people in the "developed" modern world (perhaps especially in my native USA) is also a too-seldom recognized need: the need to give to a community which itself is giving to its members. And a gift is something freely given without expectation of return or reciprocity directly to the giver. Another way of saying the same thing is that we have a need to build and nurture healthy communities.
 
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XYZ123

New member
There should be a word to define something between a want and a need. Perhaps ask him what he needs on a purely emotional level to feel satisfied in a relationship? What he hopes to receive in this relationship? What he hopes the two of you can share?

I think the "I don't need anything and I just want to love you for being you" approach is sweet....but I also think it's a little bit of a cop out (if you'll excuse me on this). I'm sure he knew what you meant, or at least had some idea what you meant by the question. Explain to him what you're trying to do and what you have listed and then ask again. Communication is a two way street.
 

Nyx

New member
I think the "I don't need anything and I just want to love you for being you" approach is sweet....but I also think it's a little bit of a cop out (if you'll excuse me on this). I'm sure he knew what you meant, or at least had some idea what you meant by the question. Explain to him what you're trying to do and what you have listed and then ask again. Communication is a two way street.

I felt a bit frustrated by his reaction as well. I was clear what I meant and he agreed that he would think about it and jot some things down.
 

redpepper

New member
Have you read the book, "the Five Love Languages?" It was very helpful to me and my men in determining what it is we need in the way of love being expressed to us so we might really feel it. We are all different in this respect and often assume that if we love our partners the way we wish to be loved that it will be received as we would receive it. Not so it turns out and was a huge eye opener to me in being with my husband.

Excellent book that is cheap and a super easy read.... my only complaint is that it is very hetrosexual... but I got over that part and enjoyed the learning.
 

redsirenn

New member
I have absolutely run myself in circles with this very question. I discovered that I don't "need" a romantic relationship. But, if I am in one, there are things I need as far as that is concerned. I would this list is a way to know if I don't "need" to put up with a relationship, so to speak.
So, I created the relationship death list... read on...

The Relationship Death List

These are the things you have to do to end a relationship with me:

* Lie actively or by omission
* Be emotionally abusive by constantly criticizing me or not supporting my endeavors
* Assume that you are number one in my life. I am.
* Whine about how the world is always out to get you. You are in control of your own happiness.
* Cheat on me or deceive me
* Break relationship agreements and step over my boundaries knowingly
* Disrespect me, my family, my friends, or even my cat
* Become stagnant in life and stop improving yourself and our relationship
* Be disrespectful of my time by frequently cancelling plans last minute with no good reason – Or even always assuming me to always be available last minute.
* Rush me or push me in making decisions

These are things I need:

* Love, compassion, caring, respect, loyalty, dependability, kindness, great sex ;), time…
* The opposite of the Relationship Death List!
 

redsirenn

New member
Right - you would think it is a given for most people. But, I actually think few people really take the time to figure this out! Why else would so many people put up with repeated offenses in the relationship death list? I wish I had this written down YEARS ago.
 

Mark1npt

New member
Like anything else in life, I think we grow tolerant of certain people/things/behaviors. We take feelings/situations for granted, etc..... And who among us, hasn't settled for 7 out of 10 things on your list? Thinking that might be the best we're ever gonna do? It's just more of that human nature stuff. We are a rational life form, and sometimes we rationalize wayyyyy too much. We give away bits of ourselves that are really important to our survival, only to realize it a little too late. I say better late than never RS....so don't feel bad about your recent discovery of (the list).
 

XYZ123

New member
I, for one, have put up with every single thing on this death list (and more) at one time or another for some rationalized reason. It took alot for me to grow strong enough to say no more. I think almost all of us go through this.
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
And who among us, hasn't settled for 7 out of 10 things on your list? QUOTE]

I don't think it's even possible to get everything you want. To me that concept is another "unicorn". This isn't a bad thing. The word compromise is all about modifying wishes, wants and desires to develop a happy medium.

Needs are different...you need to eat, you need to sleep, you need to breath. Everything else is a want in my mind.

You can't compromise on needs. Not meeting a need will kill you. Not meeting a want will leave you wanting but still alive; you're not going to die but might not feel fully alive.

When relationships struggle or fail, it is about wants, not needs.
 

redsirenn

New member
Maybe this is just an issue with semantics... (The definition of need vs. want.)

Sure - compromise is a necessary part of life, and at times in relationships, but, the things on my list are for sure relationship breakers. I know I can find people (yes, people plural) that will fulfill all of the items on my list. These are things I NEED in order to maintain a romantic relationship with someone. These are not things I need to stay alive.

But, that isn't the topic of the post - what do you need to stay alive?

Maybe some don't need the same things, but I think they might be selling themselves short if they settle for less... I only say this because I have learned that there are people out there that will give this to me and I have made the conscious decision to not settle for less - discovering I am happier alone than dealing with abuse, deceit, dishonesty, etc.

Sorry for the winded response. This is something I feel very passionate about. I want others to know that they do not have to settle either, and that these should be basic relationship NEEDS.
 

Mark1npt

New member
We all have had relationships where every criteria on your list was met. However at some point, items on the list get deleted or go unmet, and bingo!, we have to compromise or change something to adjust. It seems to me that you have two choices when this happens.....

1. Stay in the relationship, compromise, adjust, communicate, maybe move back toward meeting more of the criteria on the list, or learn to do without. There is some coping mechanism needed there.

2. End the relationship and move on to the next partner or circumstance who will, atleast in the beginning, be happy to meet all your items on your list. At some point, weeks, months or years, the cycle will repeat and you'll have to move on again.

Some people are happy with #1, some with #2. It is an individual choice, no right or wrong. Some on here have been so screwed, scarred and emotionally traumatized that to them it HAS to be one or the other. In reality, I'm sure there are many shades of gray in between.
 

Nyx

New member
1. Stay in the relationship, compromise, adjust, communicate, maybe move back toward meeting more of the criteria on the list, or learn to do without. There is some coping mechanism needed there.

2. End the relationship and move on to the next partner or circumstance who will, atleast in the beginning, be happy to meet all your items on your list. At some point, weeks, months or years, the cycle will repeat and you'll have to move on again.

Yes I am coming to realize (the more I think about it) that relationships are a series of negotiations. My needs have definitely changed over the years. And when I think about specific needs, I realize I am pretty flexible.

For example, I thought I would prefer someone to be interested in my children, but if someone I love is not particularly so, that is ok too because we can do things that don't involve the children. There is actually a good side to this as well, because my children are not affected by this person that I chose. They don't have to "put up" with this person and there is also no danger that they will be hurt if the person doesn't stick around.

My bf is always talking about his desire to have relationships dynamic; that is to say: fluid, ever-changing, evolving. That makes sense because I'm sure we have all been in stagnant relationships where nothing changes.

I think what bothers me about this, though, is he is perfectly fine with us not seeing each other for days or weeks or years even. Physical interaction and proximity don't affect how much you love someone, he reasons. While I understand and agree with this, I feel I need to be with someone in person for it to make sense to "be in a relationship".

(That need shows my desire to put boundaries and limits on things; to define things. I see nothing wrong with that, but when I try to apply this to my relationship with my bf who refuses to be bound or defined, it has caused some serious hurt and misunderstanding.)

Yes, I can love anyone no matter where they are. But living far away and not seeing or talking to them for indefinite periods of time does not a romantic relationship make. It's like he wants our thing to be TOO fluid. And maybe that is a big "dealbreaker".

BUT, on the other hand, it opens the door for us to always be together no matter where our separate lives take us. We can come back together after years of being apart and be right where we were! And that's a comforting thought in a way.:confused:
 

Mark1npt

New member
Nyx, you raise some interesting points about your bf and your relationship with him. I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a minute, with all due respect to Redpepper!

From a guy's viewpoint, finding excuses at to why we can't be closer or more active in the relationship or to say I would rather be in a fluid relationship may be the biggest load of bullshit any guy has ever dropped on a woman. Of course, there's also the small chance it's how he really feels. But how do you feel about it? Not good? Not what you want out of life?

IMO, it's a convenient line that married cheating guys, horny guys, philandering no good guys and guys who masquerade as poly, use all the time.

As you yourself have surmised, it may no longer be the kind of relationship you are interested in maintaining. Our wants, needs, issues, circumstances change all thru life. You may indeed still be poly but you may now require a lover who is there for you and wants to be with you on a more consistent basis in your life. You may still love this guy , and he may still love you, but in reality you are nothing more than an occasional fuck buddy to him. Is that what you want in your life? If so, no big deal. If not, then time for a change. Again, IMO.:)
 

Nyx

New member
IMO, it's a convenient line that married cheating guys, horny guys, philandering no good guys and guys who masquerade as poly, use all the time.

As you yourself have surmised, it may no longer be the kind of relationship you are interested in maintaining. Our wants, needs, issues, circumstances change all thru life. You may indeed still be poly but you may now require a lover who is there for you and wants to be with you on a more consistent basis in your life. You may still love this guy , and he may still love you, but in reality you are nothing more than an occasional fuck buddy to him. Is that what you want in your life? If so, no big deal. If not, then time for a change. Again, IMO.:)

Indeed. Don't think I haven't pondered these possibilities. In fact, I am torn up about them as we speak - I have brought up my worries to him, that it seems to me he is less than interested in having a committed relationship. I can't say verbatim what his responses were (the many times I brought these things up to him) but mainly he said something to the effect "You're going to believe whatever you want regardless of what I say". In these conversations he always says he loves me so much, etc. so....?

I'm on a knife's edge. On the one hand, I am seriously wanting to make his "poly" lifestyle work for our relationship because we have a good connection, and I believe that we are truly in love. But on the other hand, I am seriously debating getting out of the whole thing because I have this indescribable feeling (maybe paranoid fear, but maybe divine intuition) that he is not all he says he is, is not as honest as he would have me think.

I don't understand a lot of things he explains to me about how he "is", I try to understand and get to the bottom of things and get as much clarity from him as I possibly can. Even so, I come up short all the time. Things don't seem to add up. But I can't think of anything concrete - it's just an abstract feeling that something is not right.

After talking with you all on here, I feel like I am more poly than he is and I am monogamous!! I guess what I mean is that I feel like being poly demands being 100% honest and initiating self-disclosures to your SO's. I don't feel that he has been lying about his activities, just refraining from mentioning until I ask specific questions. This is a form of lying, I know.

I have told him I feel this way, and he has told me that he is afraid to be 100% honest because I have reacted poorly in the past and he doesn't want to fight or argue. I can understand that, but is it the real reason? I can't get over this niggling feeling that he is hiding some things from me. But I have had no evidence to prove otherwise, other than my guts. And my guts are unreliable because I am struggling with him being with other women as it is.

I guess I am having a difficult time determining fact from fantasy (my own negative, possibly paranoid fantasy).

I guess I should explain a bit more about our situation. (gosh this could get long, if anyone hangs in there to the end, bless you!)

He and I dated when we were teenagers. Now both in our early 30's, I have two children by two different men. One was on purpose, one an accident that occurred about a month before my bf and I "found" each other again online. We emailed extensively, catching up, and he told me I have been in his dreams, he has been trying to find me for years, etc...The way he said all this did not seem like he was just trying to shmooze me into anything. I guess just take my word for it though. (oh and he told me he had "discovered" he was poly five years prior)

Anyway, longish story short: he was traveling, came back to the states, came up to see me, we fell for each other again immediately, he returned to his dad's house - he is in transition at this point after traveling for many many months. He can't decide what to do because he wants to be with me - I tell him that I have no interest in being in a poly, long-distance relationship. He decides that the only way to be with me is to move up to where I live, break it off with some casual lovers, and try being mono.

Fast forward..he moves in (even though I did encourage him to get his own place, but we decided we would try it temporarily), we have a great life, I have my son, everything is ok. Then I am hit with post-partum depression and things are really rough. We don't communicate, then we do. Things fluctuate between being horrible and ecstatic. Anyway in march, he decides he wants to move out, that he feels stifled by our relationship because he feels guilty if he even has the desire to flirt with another girl.

I tell him I don't mind him flirting, that he shouldn't feel that way, etc....to no avail. He wants to move out so he can have his own lifestyle back with no kids, free to have parties, female guests, etc. But he still wants to be with me. For months he tries to find a place and we argue and have a rough time, I try to figure out ways to make things work my way, he won't have it...lots of tears on my part.

Anyway so he finally moves out in June, I try to pin him down on where our relationship stands, I don't get answers that satisfy. I feel abandoned and rejected for many reasons. I mean, not only is he moving out but he has decided to date other girls as well as me, but he is not committing himself to any sort of anything with me. Now hold on before you judge - he is a seasonal firefighter and works about 10 hour days and has to leave town for possible weeks at a time, and that is why he can't promise anything...but still.

So here we are - he has this other girl that he "dates" although I can't see that they are getting very close because they only hang out once in a while (This is as far as I know, anyway).
 

vandalin

New member
I'm sorry, seasonal firefighters who work 10 hours a day and who have to leave town for weeks can make promises just as pilots who travel around the world and any other combination of career. I'm going to be blunt. He may say he is "poly" but he doesn't act it. He seems to be acting like a guy who wants his way. He moves out and starts dating others, and still dates you even though you have asked him not to and given him reasons why you are uncomfortable. He is not listening to you. He is being selfish, plain and simple. He may have been a great guy in the past, but at present he's being a dick. (sorry if that sounds judgemental). He is basically showing you that your feelings don't matter, even if he is saying differently. Do you really want this kind of treatment?

*edit* I should know, I am currently getting past my "dick" phase with my prospective other man.
 
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