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Neediness is one of the most common problems preventing people from getting back with their ex. Roughly speaking, 80% of my readers broke up with their ex and have difficulties getting them back solely because of neediness. So chances are, you’re in the same shit-stained boat.
Neediness is, by definition, a direct result of our low self-esteem and self-worth, largely stemming from what’s called an inferiority gap, which is what occurs when we put our ex on a pedestal and see ourselves as below them worthiness-wise.
In other words, the inferiority gap manifests itself when you undervalue yourself and/or overvalue your ex. When you start caring more about what they think, feel, and believe than what you think, feel, and believe. When you prioritize their perception of you over your perception of yourself.
It’s this inferiority gap inspired mindset that leads to neediness, which then further leads to all unattractive behavior, whether directly or indirectly.
How Neediness Generally Looks Like
Here are some of the most widespread needy behaviors I keep seeing time and time again. Go through them and reflect on each. Then think: what’s the theme tying them all together?
- Chasing and pursuing your ex by constantly initiating text and social media conversations, calls, email exchanges, etc.
- Pleading, begging, and bargaining with your ex for another chance.
- Constantly demanding attention and reassurance from your ex.
- Trying to impress your ex and fishing for their admiration, approval, and affection.
- Forcing, manipulating, or cajoling your ex into getting them to show interest.
- Repeatedly going over and analyzing what your ex says or means.
- Checking your phone 69 times a minute to see if your ex replied.
- Obsessing about your own neediness level when interacting with your ex.
- Buying your ex gifts not as genuine tokens of appreciation but as bribes for sexual or emotional validation.
- Giving your ex compliments, not because they deserved them, but because you want something in return — affection, sex, another compliment, etc.
- Changing or improving yourself not because you want to but because you’re trying to inspire your ex to return.
- Not speaking up when something your ex said bothers or upsets you.
- Failing to stand up for yourself when your ex disrespects you or tries to take advantage of you.
- Withholding an opinion because you’re afraid it will offend your ex.
- Being scared of and actively avoiding confrontation, conflict, and rejection.
- Being passive-aggressive and avoiding honest, direct communication with your ex.
- Being entitled and expecting your ex to cater to your every need and desire without any consideration for their feelings.
- Making covert contracts, that is, forming unspoken or hidden expectations for your ex, like thinking that if you text them first, they should reward you by texting first next time.
Have you noticed it yet? The central theme underlying all of the above behaviors, as well, as all needy behaviors in general, are needy intentions.
It’s All About Intentions
The theory goes that any behavior you display can be either needy or non-needy. What determines whether it’s needy or not, however, as well as the degree to which it is needy, are your intentions behind the behavior — the motivation for displaying it. This theory can be tricky to grasp, so here’s an example how it plays out in the real world.
Let’s say you’re on a date with your ex. Now on this date, you could tell them how much they mean to you and propose getting back together out of sheer curiosity, without expecting a certain answer in return. Or you could sit there, act indifferent and like you don’t give a shit about them, and have them propose the idea of reconciling.
The former behavior is non-needy. You’re speaking your truth. You intend to unabashedly express what you feel and (so we assume) accept any response your ex gives you. The latter behavior, however, is needy. You’re acting like you don’t care if your ex gets back with you, while in reality, you do care. So much, in fact, that you intend to manipulate them to get them back.
Another example; you can text your ex to return your favorite shirt with the intention of gauging their interest and figuring out where exactly you stand with them. Or you can do it because you genuinely want the shirt back.
Again, the former behavior is needy because you’re using your shirt as an excuse to reach out — you’re using it as a means to some end. Whereas the latter behavior is non-needy since you’re reaching out solely because you want your shirt back — the shirt is the end, not a means to some other end.
One more example; you could approach your ex while they’re chilling in their favorite venue for the sheer joy of it, not really giving a fuck if you’ll make a certain impression. Or you could start flirting with other people around them, trying to make them jealous by making yourself appear more popular or ”high status.”
As you’d expect, the former behavior is non-needy (because your aim isn’t to impress or excite or trick), and the latter is needy (because you’re solely clawing for your ex’s approval).
I think you get the point by now. And before you start thinking if you can just fake your intentions, the answer is no. Sure, faking intentions may work for some time, but eventually, neediness will always find a way to seep through your behaviors and sabotage your reconciliation efforts.
How To Manage Your Neediness
First of all, let’s be clear: we’re all human. We all look for validation from our ex if we still like them. We all care what they think about us to a certain degree. Neediness never really goes away. And that’s fine.
Your goal should never be to eliminate neediness. Not only is that unrealistic, but it’s also impossible. The more you’ll try to get rid of your neediness, the more it will expand. Besides, eliminating it would also mean gutting yourself of all emotions and empathy. And that’s not a healthy way to live your life.
Instead, your goal should be to better manage your neediness. Here are some guidelines on how to do this:
- Re-prioritize your perception of yourself in relation to the perception of your ex.
- Focus on validating yourself more and less on receiving validation from them.
- Close your inferiority gap and start approaching re-attraction through brutal honesty.
- Avoid needy behaviors, especially the typical ones I listed a few paragraphs ago.
- Change your attachment style for the better if you’re fostering any shade of an insecure one.
- Start taking care of and investing in core life areas like sleep, health, well-being, work, and social life.
Managing neediness really boils to nothing more than your typical, run-of-the-mill self-improvement. Now this topic is beyond the scope of this article. In fact, it’s a topic I’m wrestling with throughout the majority of articles on my website. So rather than regurgitating everything they say, here are links to some of the best, most relevant ones.
- The Inferiority Gap: An article explaining how high self-worth makes a person attractive and how to build up yours so you become attractive.
- How To Get Your Ex Back And Actually Keep Them: Apart from the obvious, this article will give you a solid foundation of where to start investing in yourself to become more non-needy and attractive.
- Attachment Styles Explained: A theory explaining why your relationships fail and succeed and how to make the next one work out.
- Your Ex Is Not Special (No One Is): A short riff on why you shouldn’t put your ex on a pedestal and treat them as a celebrity.
- Fuck Indifference: Inspired by my favorite book, this article argues that to get your ex back, you should start caring about something more important than getting them back.
- How To Overcome Breakup Inspired Limiting Beliefs: A step-by-step guide on breaking limiting beliefs around your self-worth and creating empowering ones to take their place.
- Change Your Mind About Getting Your Ex Back: This article is a look at how getting an ex back might look like if you weren’t being needy all the time.
- Vulnerability: The Key To Rekindling Your Relationship: an guide to the one constant that should permeate every interaction you have with your ex, be it digital or in-person.
Remember: your ex will never see your value as a person if you don’t value yourself first. And throwing yourself into self-improvement is the only thing that will demonstrate that value to them. However, coming back to intentions, there is a fine line between improving yourself for the right and wrong ones.
If you’re trying to improve yourself because you genuinely want to — you’re doing it solely for the sake of personal self-improvement — then your attempts at doing so are non-needy and attractive. But, if you’re trying to improve yourself for your ex, or anyone other than yourself, then your attempts at doing so are needy and unattractive — and you may be rejected for it.
I like to think of the whole thing in terms of the classic Wayne Dyer quote: “Loving others starts with loving myself. If you don’t love yourself, nobody else will. Not only that — you won’t be good at loving anyone else. Loving starts with the self.”
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