Having Needs Is Not a Character Flaw

Vanessa Torre

It’s just a part of human nature.

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Needy. It carries a lot of weight, that word. Needy makes us high maintenance. Needy makes us problematic. Needy makes us a big ol’ fat drama bomb.

Horseshit. Having needs makes us a human being. Pure and simple.

Telling people what our needs are takes courage and makes us self aware. Expecting the ones we love to listen to us and meet those needs means we have standards.

The last conversation I had with my ex-husband before we split up was me begging him to tell me he loved me. To just say it. Say it first. Say it when we got off the phone. Say it when we passed in the hallway. Just say it.

It was a simple need. Simple words of affirmation. He couldn’t do it. It didn’t matter to him. It made me feel like I didn’t matter to him.

It was one of the most painful conversations I have ever had.

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Months later, I was told by my ex-husband that I was needy. He said I had insecurities that made me so. My insecurities meant I needed him to tell me he loved me. I mean, he married me and everything. Shouldn’t that just be enough for me to know I was loved? No, sir. I needed more.

I grew up in an affectionate household. I needed my hand held. I needed to cuddle on the couch. So, I was clingy. His words, not mine.

He made our divorce my fault. It was like our entire marriage would have been fine if I just had no needs. No, sir.

I can’t live like that so, subsequently, I am no longer married. Because these needs are real, they are normal and not having them met meant I had a roommate, not a husband. No one should ever have to sit at the end of the couch and beg their spouse to touch them. It’s humiliating and feels horribly desperate.

This is an issue that carries such an immense stigma. This is not a female issue and it’s not a male issue. We fear condemnation equally but in very different ways.

Women get continually reminded of how desirable a “low maintenance” woman is. Men get mocked as being too sensitive when they acknowledge their needs. We all lose.

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I don’t care if I’m high maintenance. No one should. Because having a high standard of care does not make someone a pain in the ass. It makes them a person emotionally evolved enough to realize they need more of one thing or less of another. No one deserves to be made to feel bad or apologetic for wanting others to understand this.

Relationships are emotional contractual agreements between two people.

They may carry a legally binding certificate. They may be far more simple and an unspoken understanding. As such, each party has to hold up their end of the bargain.

We have to speak it. We have an obligation to tell people what we need no matter how scary that might be. It’s hard. It’s a wide open vulnerability.

When someone tells you what they need, they have done their part. Find every bit of strength and courage you have to give back. That’s the other end of the bargain.

I don’t care in the slightest if someone thinks I’m needy. That’s okay. And, I like the needy people. They’re my people. When someone tells me what they need, I have something to work with. I have a starting point. I also have plenty to give. What do you need? I got you.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ
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