Needs or Needy?

Dr. Darcy:

I have been seeing somebody for the last one and a half months. He said that he wasn't looking for a relationship as he was going to get a lot of things in his life in order. He lives in Maine and I live in New Hampshire and [he] doesn't seem to want to devote as much time to the relationship as I would like him to. This morning, I had a frank talk with him about my needs and expectations and feel as though I may have pushed him too far - he is all of a sudden having doubts about our relationship. I am scared of losing him. He does make an effort to see me but I guess that we have different expectations of the relationship. I have also had only two hours of sleep and whenever this happens, I seem to harp on things.

ANSWER

The guy told you that he wasn’t looking for a relationship. I don’t think he could have been more clear or honest. Perhaps you were unclear about what you were looking for, which appears to be a relationship. Maybe you were hoping that after dating you for a few weeks, he’d change his mind. Let this be a lesson: Believe what people tell you about themselves, and avoid the temptation to view a partner as a makeover project.

I’m not sure what you felt entitled to say to him in your above-referenced frank discussion. You seem to have only become clear about your needs after you began dating a guy who told you that his were the antithesis of your own. Again, not to point fingers, but this is not his problem: It’s yours.

I suspect you are correct and that he does feel pushed, which might not be a bad thing. One of you needs to face the reality of your current incompatibility. The question is what do you do now?

I have never seen a woman successfully change her need to be in a relationship, though I’ve seen hundreds try. Invariably, the need to be tended to overrides the conscious desire to be that cool, low-maintenance woman, and the next thing you know, you’re having a *frank* discussion with someone.

Do not settle for a guy who has said he doesn’t want a relationship. Decide to raise your standards so that you’ll attract a man who can step up to the plate and meet your needs. That’s the thing about needs: When we ignore them, we become that needy chick.