and all at once, I knew at once, I knew he needed me

In ALL, INTROSPECTION by Stephanie Klein40 Comments

Needy is a five letter word, for the record–not four.  I’ve spent so much energy steering myself away from it as an "aware" adult that I feel calloused.  What’s so wrong with having needs and wanting?  In all my lovely hormonal splendor, I’ve been thinking a lot about needs and believe many of us are fixated on one need over any other.

The need to be loved is a universal, and much of our behavior stems from this need alone.  After this, though, I think it depends on our childhood wounds. 

I know someone who needs to feel respected above all else, who maybe deep down worries he’s not worthy of that respect because he’s insecure about where he comes from.  Someone else who needs, more than anything, to feel like her contribution matters, that she’s valued–perhaps because deep down she fears she has nothing to offer, that the world would go on the same without her in it.  I think we need most what it is about which we’re most insecure.  So we need to learn to give that to ourselves first. 

I am desire-focused in my needs.  When it comes to romantic relationships, yes, I want to be loved, but that’s never really my focus.  My ultimate goal intellectually might be to have a loving equal partnership, but my NEED isn’t the same.  What I need, and always will, is to feel the infatuation stage that’s experienced at the beginning of a young relationship to feel truly satisfied.  When I see how head over heels mad people are for each other, I look to recreate that excitement in my own relationship.  I need it.  I need to feel courted, to have a suitor, to feel like the person I’m with feels like he’s the luckiest person in the world.  Even if I do want to use the bathroom with the door open.  And I want to feel the exact same way.  I need that passion, that explosion, every once in a while to stay afloat.

Comments

  1. Know how you feel. Had an argument with my husband the other day and, well, I'm not a slam the door and walk away angry kind of person, but doors were slammed and I did in fact walk away angry… and he didn't come after me… and he didn't speak to me the whole next day.

    By that point I couldn't care less what he did to make me angry in the first place, because I was so upset that he really didn't come after me and didn't seem to even care that I was upset. Intellectually, I hate the girl who plays manipulative games, and I'm not that girl at all, but it wasn't a game. I really was that hurt at the time. I wouldn't want a guy who always chased me every time I was upset, because, let's face it, that guy needs to grow a set of balls. But when it really counts, I want to know he'd fight for it, for us. When it really counts I want to look back and see him there.

  2. I can't help but wonder if the fact that you moved halfway across the country together, where you knew nobody but eachother, hasn't affected things? Yes, now you have some friends there, but the fact that you were completely dependent on eachother — for conversation, support, simple company — when you first moved out there, and probably to a degree now, and then with you both working more or less from home, isn't all that over-exposure what makes it impossible to be infatuated like you were in the beginning? To have a courting relationship with someone you are so dependent on?
    Nobody goes into marriage wanting for the passion to die out and for things to get progressively more boring. But still, probably the majority of marriages end up this way. It isn't enough so sit idly and say "I never want that to be us." You have to look at what you're setting yourself up for.

  3. You're wise to express it as an "explosion, every once in a while." When, out of the blue, David gives me a passionate kiss on the street, I'm blown away with desire. But after almost twenty years of being with someone, to expect that as a constant or to need that all the time, would be destructive and unrealistic. Our everyday love is sweet, tender and comforting. We have an emotional and physical shorthand, however, we also need to offset this with the balance of an occasional explosion.

  4. yes, i do too. that was part of my trouble with being married, love changes, but i wanted to always have that 'love you like crazy' feeling forever. and it doesn't last…

  5. Stephanie, I'm curious..when you write things such as the two most recent posts at your most raw emotionally, do you ever look back and think 'Oh my God, I should have waited a day for different perspective'? Do you ever look back and wonder if you have put to much out there, of your emotion, bright and flayed for all the world to peruse? Do the comments ever add to the intensity, compounding things and making them bigger than life, or lending more import than perhaps they would have without all the input? Sometimes I wonder how you keep all of the assvice in perspective when you share as much as you do.

    Here is hoping that the magic of the upcoming holidays renews the spark for you and Phil, adds that element of excitement that you so strongly desire right now, for both of you.

    On a completely different note, how was the babie's birthday? And how is young Master Lucas these days? All is well, I hope.

  6. It would be nice to always feel that way, but I would dare to call any couple who says they feel that way always a couple of liars. Life gets in the way to make you feel that way all of the time. It's possible to have moments like that infatuation-first-time feelings, but not all the time. I don't think you're asking for all the time, though, right?

    I totally get what you're saying though, and we're going on 15 years, three kids, and I want that too. I think everyone wants to feel like how it feels to anticipate that first kiss feeling.

  7. What I love is when other people see it in you and comment on it- "You two are so in love, it is so evident. He came around the corner and you just lit up. You're glowing. He knows how lucky he is that you've chosen him to love." And all this after 7 years. It makes it feel that much more passionate and exciting and all new again.

  8. Manic Mommy,

    Not me. I'm happy with what I have now (not at all implying you or others are not) and don't pine for the first days of a relationship.

    We don't have 15 years, but I think my husband and I have a significant number of years between us, and I don't want to trade any of what we've built together in all that time for the excitement and newness from when we first met.

    We were strong then too, but I'll take the years of daily life and love that has shaped the relationship we have now over some butterflies and newness anyway. Not that it has to be an either or, but for me the here and now is just great and the past is something I lived through once and don't need a version of again.

    Then again, I've never been one to look much to the past. I am firmly planted in the present almost at all times, which, like everything else, has both its benefits and disadvantages.

  9. I'm just curious what about my last post was unpublishable? I love reading your blog and was somewhat thrilled to be the first to comment. I didn't mean to offend. Just would love an (email or comment) on how to remain involved in your discussion of life.

    From Stephanie: Your post WAS published. It sometimes takes a while for comments to get approved, but your comment is there.

  10. Stephanie,

    First, thank you for responding to my last question. I'm sorry to hear your mom hasn't been as close to you or the beans. That does sting.

    Second, I highly recommend a book titled "His Needs, Her Needs" by Dr. Willard Harley. It's a great way to recognize your own core needs, as well as your partner's, and how to understand and combine both within a relationship. It also talks about "universal needs" across the spectrum and what is most popular among men and women.

    It's a good read, and the very least very interesting.

  11. My husband and I just had a big fight about this exact thing! I miss how when we were first together it felt like he wanted me all the time, couldn't get enough of me. I know it can't last forever and we've been together for 4 years married for 1…I just miss it. I need it from time to time, I need to feel like that girl that he's so caught up in, lost in, can't get enough of….

  12. Man, I can't follow it and know what's going on anymore through the blog. I think you are still happy with Phil, as you express it in explosive detail on the blog now and again, but so many of your posts just seem so unhappy. I don't know if that's because the explosions of sadness are more powerful and need to be vented more or if you are just more often unhappy than happy.

    In any event, I'm glad you're still writing. Even if what is true and what is fiction is no longer clear.

  13. I think those secondary needs you're talking about are still that primary need to feel loved . . people just feel loved in different ways. For men, they usually feel loved BY feeling respected. For them, the words are probably synonymous. For you, being pursued is what truly makes you feel loved (which I think is the case for the majority of women – for me it is!). I don't think you have to be insecure to be needy . . like you said, we all have needs and 'needy' isn't a four-letter word.

  14. Tonight's the first candle of Chanukah. So what you need — what we all need — is…latkes! In abundance. With side bowls of applesauce & sour cream; everything separate so they don't touch. A very happy Chanukah to you, Phil & the babies!

  15. Well, there's romantic love, and then there's REAL love, which is about feeling safe, emotionally cared for, a sense of partnership, and feeling heard. Do you feel like these happen in your relationship?

    I'm sorry you are going through this, and hope you are both in counseling so you can get to that good place again, even if it's more real love than romantic love (and by that I don't mean platonic or boring, but realistic). The fact that you pine for the heady romantic rush days probably says a lot more about what's missing for you now, than it does about your need for the "explosion."

  16. What's with you people who keep trying to analyze Stephanie? Isn't that the whole point of blogging? Where you are at that moment, a thought, a feeling, not necessarily a "change in perspective". It's journaling, a diary. I really like that fact that you can have a thought and five minutes later have another completely different thought. Why do act like it doesn't happen to you too? Especially during the "spot".

    Stephanie,
    I've felt like that many times, after being married for almost 19 years. I still want to get that "I can't get enough of you" feeling and reaction from him every now and then. Sometimes (usally on Sunday, when we're all dressed up and feeling good after church)I long for him to take me in the room, lock the door, and we have some love starved, crazy, half dressed love making session…instead of being concerned with "what's for dinner?".

  17. stephanie,
    guess what. Im in a little bit of that stage now (total sheer madness) and let me remind you – it feels awfully close to a stomach virus, complete with nausea and lack of concentration. It's an incredibly insecure time, since you dont know if – when – how it might ebb, or who he really is deep down. Im totally enjoying the ride, but not all those exciting things turn into the real, as we all know. Just .02 from the other side ; )

  18. I liked this post alot.

    As the mother of two young children, I am not so much focused on the supreme need, the need for love. Too busy with young children needs and job demands. But I find that the second need you mentioned concerning those needs that grow out of childhood wounds has been surfacing to the top big time.

    As a mother myself now, I see how my own mother did things so differently than me – her focus on mostly aspects of running a perfect home and how clean it is and how to project perfect looking kids onto the world for others to see. That was her measure of success – having all things look good on the surface.

    So, currently I have this need to be truly seen and heard as an individual since seeing and hearing and dealing with me on an individual level was kind of scarce. In this respect, I have gotten so very needy.

  19. The thrill of the chase can't be replicated. Instead, perhaps focus more on keeping the man you have, even if the fireworks have fizzled.

  20. I have a hard time taking the initiative and showing my BF what kind of passion I still want/need…I need to go home and give him a big 'ol French kiss myself instead of waiting for him to think of it! I think that guys can also miss the new relationship fire, too.

    Although, I don't think I'll ever want to go to the bathroom with the door open.

  21. I like this post. I know i have a need to feel validated and important and listened to because i often wasn't as a child. It is my own insecurity but i feel that the right partner should be able to help me through this need. I am still trying to decide if i am with the right partner because we have been fighting alot lately and are not listening to one another. so clearly i am not meeting his needs and he is not meeting mine at the moment. I started reading harville hendrix's books which also discuss the emotional needs that we seek from our partners that were missing in childhood. Definitely a good book to pick up on this topic.

  22. It's been 15 years for my husband and I and I do miss the crazy passionate times. But instead what we do have is a crazy deep comfortableness and familiarity that I wouldn't give up for anything. Makes the sex better…more free, more uninhibated which can at times replicate the passion we once had for each other. On a different note, hope you have a Happy Hannukah! Maybe Phil will surprise you with that Gucci bag you seemed to covet!

  23. Of course it's appropriate to comment, criticize, dish, question, praise and, yes…analyze. It's a blog, with a comments section, for God's sake!

    For whatever reason, Stephanie likes the attention. Why else divulge the most personal details of her life? If she wanted to work out her emotions or hear herself think, this wouldn't be an open forum. It's about exposure and she's opened herself up to it. If she prefers otherwise, she should shut off the comments or call them something else, like "Adolations."

  24. "Love is a choice, not a feeling" to paraphrase
    M. Scott Peck (a fabulous psychoanalyst who wrote many books on relationships) Also, the infatuation phase at the start of a romantic relationship is natures way of tricking us into procreation!! After that we have to choose to love our mate!

  25. that's the EXACT same need i have in relationships…and am, in fact, currently having right now. thank you for putting words to it…i was having a hard time articulating it to my supposed-to-be suitor.

  26. It's good that you recognize this need, because I think, if you were more unaware, it would lead to a huge temptation to cheat. I think a lot of people cheat because they feel that explosion at the start, and start to think that the new feelings are somehow better or more authentic than the ones they have for their spouse. The truth is that novelty is the drug, and novelty (by its nature never lasts). Equal happy partnership lasts. I wish you good luck in avoiding the temptation to indulge in courtship and "explosiveness" outside your marriage.

  27. I find the butterfly effect comes and goes. we can get so involved in day to day what's for dinner kind of life and then there is this one moment where he says or does something and the spark lights up. just like day one.
    the one thing i love about us is the affection. after a few years, we still stop and kiss when we cross each other in the hall way. sometimes that kiss becomes a dance. sometimes it leads to naughtier activities. and sometimes it stops there. the hour long make-out sessions are over. and have been replaced with shorter spread out ones.

  28. I'm a 55 year old woman and I have to say, honey, you are going to be so dissapointed in your life if you don't detach a bit from needing that crazy-in-love euphoria all the time. I do believe that by now, it's been scientifically proven that the feeling you describe is actually impossible to sustain over time.

    Y\Or you may be yearning for the feeling of yearning. It is a strong and addictive force. Good luck with all that and thanks for your lovely self-exposure.

  29. brilliant post. now that i fart in front of my dear husband, i hope that the magic does not disappear with the putrid smell. do you have any secrets or suggestions for keeping that intial passion?

  30. dana,

    "focus more on keeping the man you have" ?

    good lord. a man or woman is not kept. it's a relationship, a marriage, two people must work.

    it's not one person's job to be the sole pleaser or keeper.
    this is for many reasons. one reason being that it is, um, 2007. another reason being the tendency of resentment to occur.

    this whole discussion reminds me of a scene in the film "Beautiful Girls." the key male character, who is engaged to marry, is talking to his friend about the excitement and ecstasy of "beginnings" in relationships and he says something to the effect of "why not just have a few more of those..?"

    it's a great question. comes down to priorities. most people crave, need, etc. safety and security so they will tolerate the decrease in passion/chasing. or, perhaps they are just terrified of being alone (?)

    other people will realize that marriage, the tediousness of it, the "it's your turn to do the dishes tonight" of it was not what they signed up for. they'd rather be adored.

    i, myself, used to say that "i'd rather be adored for three days than merely desired for seven." haha

    BTW, for some people, being in a marriage is more like being "merely TOLERATED for seven."

    the point is that it's about what you prioritize. the solution is probably to enjoy the f*&k out of life, to get adored plenty, to roll your eyes at your female friends who are registering for wedding china in their 20's, and to just live life with a bunch of exciting "beginnings" and then to marry LATER. that's the trend, isn't it? american women and men marrying later.

  31. (Two great scenes from "Beautiful Girls." I believe the first scene is between two males. after that, the main male character is talking to a woman he meets in a bar.)

    You know how it is at the beginnings
    when you first fall in love?

    You can't eat. You can't sleep.

    Getting a call from her makes your
    day, like seeing a shooting star.

    – It's the best.
    – But inevitably, it goes away.

    So, this is my thing, you see.

    Why get married now? Why not have
    two, three more of those beginnings

    before I settle into the big fade?

    The big fade?
    That's an awful way to put it.

    – She's coming tomorrow.
    – That's obvious.

    I got no feeling about that. I got a
    feeling of overwhelming ambivalence.

    But I would rather dread her arrival
    than not give a shit.
    ____________________________________________

    It's amazing that there's a guy
    that gets to do things with you.

    He gets to make you happy,
    spend evenings with you…

    Make me martinis,
    listen to Van Morrison…

    – Smell your skin…
    …after a day at the beach.

    – And read the papers…
    …on a Sunday morning.

    A rainy Sunday morning. And pepper
    your belly with baby kisses.

    Sorry…

    There's a guy out there that
    thinks the same thing about Tracy.

    He's jealous of you,
    you getting to do all that with her.

    Can you think of anything better than
    making love to an attractive stranger

    on a frozen lake with
    just an oil light to guide your way?

    Can you think of anything better?

    Going back to Chicago.

    Ice-cold martini. Van Morrison.

    Sunday papers. Got you.

    I gotta go.

  32. The need you feel to be needed/wanted by a significant other is probably much more about you than your relationship. Try to find what created that "hole" in the first place and fill it up for yourself rather than looking to Phil.

  33. I have LOVED these comments on all these different takes from everyone–wow. This is such a great discussion. There is so much to be said on the subject.

    I especially liked how Ruth said the first-time feeling is like having the stomach virus!

    So True!

  34. … whereas I am one of those people who needs to be alone.

    I've yet to meet anyone for whom I would trade my alone time. The trade-offs are too great. I don't like falling asleep with someone holding on to me; I simply cannot sleep. I want to be comfortable and I don't feel comfortable drinking straight from the OJ carton or burping or farting, when someone else is around. The stomach virus feeling Ruth described creeps me out. I don't like having to listen to someone, when I need some quiet to think. I hate not being able to drift off, deep in my thought, without having someone ask me why so serious, why I think too much. (What woman would ever tell a man that he thinks too much? There's no such thing as a man who thinks too much.) I hate breaking men's mental images of myself through who I am and what I do. Just about nothing I ever learned from or got out of a relationship could make up for some of the put-downs I've endured. I especially hate being told, "You can't be like that." ("Buddy, watch me. I can't believe it's really you whose feet I massaged yesterday.")

    Why the need to be alone? I love to be able to do whatever I please without consulting anyone, to sleep in, to eat when I want, what I want, and to go to the movies alone. To become a vegetarian and start meditating without justifying this to anyone, especially someone who'd roll his eyes at my effort to reinvent myself. To save time not having to look for a man who doesn't roll his eyes. To travel alone. To allow a pile of dirty laundry to build without doing it until I've run out of clean socks. To be a frat boy of a woman. To not have to wonder about how I look or act, whether my legs are shaved, how I smell, how my hair is, what I say and when I say it. I'm almost certain that within the confines of a relationship all this would change for the worse. I don't apologize to myself for being the messiest woman in the universe; it's the other people who disapprove. When I fly solo, I make my own rules.

    I apologize to anyone, male or female, who's ever been attracted to me and couldn't figure out why I'm not available, even though I'm single.

    Oddly, my lack of desire to be in a relationship comes across as some kind of independence and many find that attractive. They seem to want a relationship with someone who doesn't want one, because that's a surefire guarantee she won't be needy. But they miss one crucial element: not wanting it means that I don't want it! I'm not faking. I'm not doing it for the sake of being a challenge or playing hard to get. I'm not suddenly going to change my mind. I genuinely do not want the hassle. The most ridiculous thing is that when I have wanted, that want has been a turn-off to some, who've returned to me later, only to find me engaged to … me.

    I've broken many hearts being who I am, and I did it not knowing; now that I do know, I watch out and won't go there.

  35. I so enjoy reading your blog Stephanie. You are extremely brave to share your intimate thoughts! Having people over analyse or misunderstand my thoughts and writings would irritate me too much. Perhaps you enjoy the stimulus? Regardless, I always find it interesting to read your thoughts, hear about your family and follow the progress of young Lucas and Abigail. Kind regards, Fran

  36. The Other K,

    Your description of yourself describes me very nearly to a tee. Like you, I often feel like I value and need my space and alone time more than the average person.

    When single, I did everything I wanted, when, how, and where I wanted (within life's limitations, of course). I traveled alone, lived alone, went out alone. Let laundry and dishes pile to the sky if I felt like it, left my legs unshaven and my hair unbrushed (at times), and slept with all the space in the world I needed.

    I spent time every day lost in thought, and in reading, writing and daydreaming. I learned new skills and applied them to my life, started projects, pursued passions, explored careers, moved cross country and back again, made and lost friends, fought and made up with family, made an overhaul of my diet and exercise program, went through massive life changes and life altering struggles.

    I transformed my lifestyle and way of thought many times over. I lived the life I wanted, where and how I wanted, and chased after my dreams.

    And after getting into a relationship?

    It was the exact same. I have been able to do, and have done, every single one of those things, and more. All while married, and very happily so. The only difference? For me, it's even better doing all that while sharing the journey with someone I love.

    I guess I'm writing this because I wanted to share that the two–relationships, and the traits you describe,especially the need for lots of alone time and being yourself–are not always, and do *not* have to be, mutually exclusive.

    In fact, I think the beauty of a good relationship is that you *can* do all the things you want to do, can have all your important needs–including those regarding time and space to yourself–met, and can be exactly who you are at all times, all while sharing your life with someone who appreciates and loves you for you–dirty socks, need for plenty of alone time, and all.

    You can have the best of both worlds. There's no reason to need to choose, no need for those kinds of trade-offs. Both worlds can coexist, peacefully and very happily (for both parties).

    All that's required is finding the right person who suits your temperament and who can allow you (by "you" I mean "one") to meet your needs without having to sacrifice his or her own. Once you find that, I believe you'll find that there isn't a thing in the world you would trade that person or that relationship for.

  37. m, thank you for the comment and reminder. It's kind of you, and you've done people a favor. There must be many more out there who've battled this issue than just you and me. There always are – the law of averages. It's wonderful that you have been lucky to find someone who suits you. That's special.

    In my defense, over the last several years, I've just found the searching and the head games to be really tiresome and heart wrenching. Most of all, unlike learning almost anything else, whether a foreign language or cooking or crafts or committing acts of kindness, when it comes to romance, learning doesn't seem to accumulate. Going on dates with dozens of men and kissing a lot of frogs hasn't brought me closer to the right person or made me excited about meeting the "prince"; it's begun to turn me into a person I don't actually want to be, and often brought out what I imagine to be the worst in people – not just me, but in the men, too. It's enough to make a person cautious, even if they weren't that way to begin with, and it's taxing. That is how baggage is created. That is what I'm trying to forgo – keeping a small window open for someone who feels good and right, but the door closed to others who just want to give it a shot because they like my hair or my figure or my eyes, for the time being, as long as it lasts. Not good enough. I used to try, now I try not to. This might be called giving up and losing hope, I'm not sure, but mostly I just like to chalk it up to my personal interpretation of common sense. In a way I guess I'm lucky to hardly ever crave company, even though I recognize that's kind of unusual. If I did, it would make this really hard!

    m, it's easy to sense from your writing how happy you are with your partner, and how you've met the right person. "All that's required…" brought a smile to my face. Indeed, that luck is all that's required, and yet it's everything, and at least seemingly out of my hands. Instead of waiting for that luck to strike, I'm looking at the law of averages (again) and thinking that I honestly have a better chance at contentedness just by doing things I love instead of waiting to meet a man I love. If I do, great, but if I don't, at least I chose not to spend this life waiting in vain. Which I guess is exactly what you did. Thank you for your words.

  38. The Other K

    Thanks for your comment, how nice! You said: "Instead of waiting for that luck to strike, I'm looking at the law of averages (again) and thinking that I honestly have a better chance at contentedness just by doing things I love instead of waiting to meet a man I love. If I do, great, but if I don't, at least I chose not to spend this life waiting in vain. Which I guess is exactly what you did. Thank you for your words."

    I totally agree. That way you have a life you're happy with whether you meet the right person or not. And that way if and when you do meet someone who is right for you, you will be ready–but not waiting–for them.

    Although I don't think that has to mean ruling out dating and all that either, only that you don't have to have the mindset of "my life won't be complete without out that right person" type thing. But there's nothing wrong with doing your part to make finding that person a little easier either–if you want to and if feels right of course, not if it's making you unhappy. Hope that doesn't sound contradictory.

    I also love hearing stories of even 80 and 90 year olds finding the "love of their life" and marrying at that age. It is never too late and everyone has their own time frame for how things work out.

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