Am I Too Needy? How To Know -- And What To Do About It

Updated August 16, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Have you ever been told you are too “needy?” Maybe you've been told this because you want to spend a lot of time with your partner - more time than they want to spend with you. Perhaps you've been asked to give your partner space. It can be understandable if you feel hurt by these statements. Unfortunately, being too needy in a relationship can hurt you in the long run, no matter how pure your intentions are. This may be a great time to do some self-reflection to figure out why you might be so needy in the first place. In this article, we’ll discuss some reasons a person might be “needy,” what it might look like, and what you can do to help meet your needs without causing harm to your relationships.

Learn To Understand And Express Your Needs To Others

What Neediness Looks Like

What’s often labelled as “neediness” can actually be the result of an anxious attachment style. An attachment style like this may make a person feel constantly worried that they aren’t good enough for others or that they may be abandoned or rejected. As a result, they may do things like call their partner to check in often, feel unable to make decisions without another person’s input, or hate spending time on their own. Since there isn't a once-size-fits-all description, neediness can take on many different forms.

Unfortunately, you may not realize that you are needy until someone tells you that you are. It might feel completely normal for you to need constant contact. It could also be a response to things like anxiety or depression. In general, if you feel unable to meet your needs yourself or rely on others to feel like your best self, you may be experiencing codependency or “neediness.”

How To Tell If You Are Needy

As stated above, you may not realize by yourself that you are a needy person. It could be pointed out to you or be the cause of a relationship ending. Fortunately, there may be ways you can self-reflect and find out for yourself. Acknowledging your neediness can be super important if you want to heal and work on your self-empowerment.

First, think about how you spend your time. Are you constantly with your partner? Do you have friends outside of your relationship? Needy people can often feel jealous and have a hard time envisioning any part of their life without their partners. Does that sound like you? 

If you dig deeper inside yourself and realize that you are lonely or don't want to spend time with anyone other than your partner, you could have some needy tendencies. When you are in a healthy relationship, you likely can spend time apart. You may have good friends or not mind spending time alone occasionally. 

Reasons You Might Be A Needy Person

Neediness could be a reaction to many different circumstances. Perhaps you had a hard childhood. Maybe you were anxious as a kid or left alone a lot. Maybe your parents are divorced or tended to fight in front of you. 

If there's no childhood trauma in your past, maybe you don't trust your relationship. You may want to push your partner away or fear that they are pulling away. Perhaps you've developed relationship anxiety that's gotten to a point where you need reassurance constantly. Or maybe you have a hard time making friends and don't want to feel lonely. 

Overall, neediness can come from a multitude of things and manifest for a multitude of reasons, including things like:

  • Having your needs unmet as a child
  • Growing up with a cold, distant, or unpredictable caregiver
  • Low self-esteem
  • Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression

To help yourself have a healthier relationship with your partner, it can be beneficial to take some time to think of the "why" behind your actions. 

Face the fears that come up and the memories that you are reacting from. And let your partner know how you are feeling. Let them in and ask them to help you confront your inner insecurities. Helping them to see where you are coming from can also help you confront your needs.

Solutions To Neediness

So, what steps can you take to be less clingy with your partner? Learning to reframe your thoughts, get comfortable being alone, and boosting your self-esteem so that you genuinely feel just as comfortable on your own or with others can be a great place to start. Below are some more steps you can take to make things easier. 

  1. Trust Your Partner

Those in healthy relationships don't necessarily need to spend time together 24/7 to have a deep bond. If your partner is gone or spending time by themselves, you can begin to work on a tendency to cling on by making the conscious choice to trust them. This can mean trusting that they’ll come back to spend time with you, trusting that they aren’t ignoring you, or whatever else may be relevant to your worries.

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  1. Spend Time Apart

It can help to practice giving your partner space, even if you don't particularly want to. Plan time to spend with your family and friends. Have a movie night or dinner with someone other than your partner. Let them be themselves without you right next to them. You may be surprised by this step’s ability to cultivate more intimacy in your relationship. You might even begin to miss each other and want to spend time together in a healthy way.

  1. Be Aware Of Your Emotions

When you cultivate an awareness of your emotions, you can healthily respond to your feelings. If you can acknowledge your jealousy, anxiety, or loneliness, you can explore why you feel that way. Once you have located the source of the feeling, you can look for positive ways to respond. This may keep you from calling your partner an unhealthy amount, for example, or refusing to leave their side for days at a time. When you acknowledge how you are feeling, you may get to have a choice in what you do about it. Instead of reacting, you can be intentionally deciding.

It's Okay To Ask For Help

Confronting your neediness can be difficult at times. It's often so much easier to give in to what you think you need than it is to fight for a healthier outlook. Sometimes, an outside perspective can help you get to the root of what’s going on and begin to make changes.

When you have an unopinionated observer that can listen to your needs without expressing judgment, you may trust that the advice you are getting is based on years of experience and a less biased view of your behavior. In this way, working with a mental health professional like a therapist can be very beneficial. 

Many individuals and couples alike can find this support through working with therapists online. You can join sessions by yourself or have your partner join. They can also join later if you want to work on just yourself first. Plus, you can communicate through a format and at a time or place that works for your schedule; there’s no need to manage commutes to and from in-person offices.

Research suggests that there may be a link between self-esteem, mental health, and positive romantic relationships. This means that pursuing options that can help you work on your self-esteem, like online therapy, can help improve the quality of your relationships with others and yourself.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Learn To Understand And Express Your Needs To Others

Takeaway

Confronting “neediness” head-on often requires taking steps to understand why it might be happening. It can take time and effort to break your habits and learn to trust those you care about, just like it can be a process to learn how to meet your own needs. But with practice and patience, you can likely tackle your neediness and begin to feel like a more confident version of yourself.

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