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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Even if You Need Someone - Whatever You Do, Don't!

Last night I read this post on Jezebel, one of my favorite sites. The headline caught my eye, "The 'N' Word For Women is Need and Needy." Now some commenters took umbrage with the headline, but I have to say, it got me to keep reading.

In general I would rather be called almost anything other than "needy." That word connotes the above photo - clingy and desperate, and far from appealing.

But there's a down side to trying to be need free -mostly because it's impossible. We all have needs, the obvious physical ones like for food and shelter, but we also have emotional needs - to be loved, cared for and appreciated.

Sadly, women have been schooled in the never-let-them-think-you-need-them-lest-you-appear-clingy-and-needy mindset. Well, I know I have. As a single woman I find it easier to count on no one, save the close women friends who I know will be there for me if I call out in desperation - and desperation is what it takes.

At this point, the thought of telling a man I need him fills me with angst, dread and makes my palms sweat. I met my former husband when I was 17, moved in with him at 18, married at 20 and had my first child at 21. Over the years I lost myself in that relationship. I didn't know who I was without him, and when he left, when I was 40, I was completely adrift. It took me a long time to find my balance on my own, and now I'm terrified, wondering - how do you keep that sense of self and let yourself need someone? And there's always the terrifying possibility of being disappointed by someone. So it sometimes seems it's easier to just not go there.

Trying to not need anyone is hard. And frankly kind of unnatural. We all have needs, and we all deserve to have them met. And perhaps being in balance with yourself shouldn't always the end goal. Maybe being a little off-balance is good.

Elizabeth Gilbert encountered the same conundrum on her journey in "Eat Pray Love," finally realizing, “To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”

Perhaps it's time for me, and everyone else who struggles with this push and pull of to need or not to need, to realize that needing someone is good, needing someone means you've opened your heart up and let them in. It doesn't mean you can't still be strong and be yourself. Perhaps what it means is that you get to be even more than you could have been all alone. I think I need to think about that.


  1. "Perhaps what it means is that you get to be even more than you could have been all alone."

    Spot on... If you love yourself 1st.


  2. Candace, needy and needed is that same thing looked at from different points of view. You married young so did I, before we knew who we were ourselves, but now that you do, you're like the cake, you're just fine all by yourself, but adding someone to your life is like the frosting. the cake was just great but now with the frosting, even better. just a thought.