AFFAIRS OF THE HEART
Do you sometimes feel like you are doing all the leg work in your relationship and not getting what you need back? I don’t mean the one who is always getting the bread and milk on Saturday mornings but, the one who is calling and texting all the time; giving all the love and affection; paying the bills and showing an interest in your partner’s work. It’s one of the most common things that drive couples apart, being in an un-balanced relationship where, your needs are not being met. Nowadays, people are extremely busy juggling so many different things in life and so, it’s easy to forget the really important things. In the midst of everything else that’s going on, what is important at that time are the needs of both people in the relationship, to make the thing work in the first place…. I’ve been speaking to a Relationship Counsellor about how to be satisfied in a relationship; finding out what people’s needs are and why they stay with their partners…
It is very important to understand that your partner has needs and that they may be different from yours - for that very reason, you can’t assume that you know what those needs are or even that they know what your needs are. How will you know? “You have to be inquisitive”, says Suzie Hayman, Relationship Counsellor and Author of the book ‘Make Your Honeymoon Last’. It is important to address both your needs: what do I want? As well as: what are you willing to give? If you want your needs to be met in a relationship, you must figure out what the most important ones are. Lisa, 28, a Media Co-ordinator from South London, has been dating Dwayne for nearly two years and says, “I need someone to listen to me, know what I do for a living and actually care about it. They need to be able to support themselves financially and support me. I find it quite difficult when my partner earns less than me and is quite resentful of what I earn. I need to be able to trust him with my emotions on a sexual and cheating level. I can’t be asked to be questioning my boyfriend at this age. It just needs to be a given that I can trust him”. Simon, 25, a Trader from Wolverhampton claims honesty as his crucial need. “Ultimately, the main thing is honesty; if you don’t have honesty then everything else fails. If someone doesn’t want to be there anymore or doesn’t love you anymore then be honest about it so that at least, you know where you stand”.
SATISFY YOUR NEEDS
So how does ‘being needy’ come about? “Neediness often comes about because you didn’t have your needs satisfied when you were a child. There is an interesting paradox: if you have had all your needs satisfied instantly, you become needy because you assume that all you need to do is ask and it will be given to you. Or, if you are someone who hasn’t had you needs satisfied when you were young, you’ve probably grown up to ask or scream for it. Both of those emerge from a sense of disorder because what they come out with is not being satisfied in an appropriate way and then you are constantly turning to other people to feel completed. It’s very important that you recognise these two things: firstly, that you need to satisfy your own needs and be happy with yourself; then the next thing is to communicate your needs clearly”, says Hayman.
It’s a good idea to be straight about your expectations from your partner. There is no need telling your friends or family what you want when the person you should be telling is your partner. Hayman adds, “relationships are about looking after each other, caring for each other and making sure the other person is happy. At the foundation, you are actually responsible for your own needs. So, if your partner is not doing for you what you need, part of it is down to you to ask”.
Not everyone is comfortable with admitting their needs, not even to themselves. We all prefer to believe that falling in love has no selfish motives but, satisfying significant needs adds to the attraction of someone. When a man says, ‘what attracted me to her was that she buys things for me’, it is clear that his attraction is associated with her actions. Nicole, 27, a single Neo-Soul singer from Birmingham says, “some individuals are actually selfish people, others are more naturally giving. I think I am a bit selfish; sometimes I get caught up with things and if I am with someone who is very giving, loving me up and treating me like a queen, most of the time I take it for granted. It’s not to say that I treat them badly but, I might not treat them as well as they treat me or as special as they treat me. I really need to remember that they want to be treated good also”. Kenrick, 28, a Gym Instructor from Manchester, agrees with Nicole about there being so many other things taking up people’s attention. “The effects of life and working so hard means when you get home you are tired and you don’t want to do anything. Most people in general think about themselves; if a girl is selfish from the start, it won’t be a long term relationship”!
Hayman believes that people who are needy are lacking in self esteem. “There is a real issue and problem with people who desperately need others for them to feel happy. People ought to be brought up to recognise that they need to feel happy about themselves; they need to praise and satisfy themselves in order to ask for it from somebody else”. Men like to feel that they are the heroes and that they make a difference in the lives of the women they love - and women like to feel loved and cared for. Abigail, 30, an Administrator from Liverpool believes women sell themselves too short. “All the things that you never thought you would do, you would - just to try and compromise to make a man happy. I don’t know if they would do that for me. I always think I would never do that for a man but, I would do that just for him. I don’t know why but, as women, we would sell our souls to be happy”!
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
People are attracted to each other because they have similar or opposite needs. If you’re searching for a soul-mate, your search can be more decisive, preferably leading to someone whose needs complement your own…. I couldn’t end this article without giving you some top tips for a ‘needless’ relationship from Suzie Hayman who says, “if you value yourself then you can allow other people to value you and you will also have the skills to value them. Valuing your partner is the most important thing in relationships and communication is the absolute basis for all relationships”.
OPENNESS TO LOVE
Are you constantly moaning that you’re single? Do you often wonder why your friends always seem to meet the same undeserving, time-wasting, uncaring partners, time and time again? Moreover, do you wonder if you’ll ever find true love? To some, it can seem like every week their friends are telling them about a new love. Consequently, you end up not seeing them for months and get irregular phone calls. However, when it all goes wrong, they’re back in the picture. On the other hand, some people relish having their own space; they feel quite happy gazing through their modern flat windows. They love the easy, carefree life of being single and the non-existence of anxiety. Putting themselves through what a number of their friends do, seems unthinkable.
Many people fall in love easily and during that time, neglect their mates. “I think those women are really insecure and forget that they have a life of their own outside of a relationship. You can’t become absorbed in this bubble as soon as you meet a man”, says Sherry, 22, a student from Notts. She’s been in a relationship for 3 years. “Even though I’ve been tied down technically for 3 years, I’ve lived the life of the single girl. I’ve been completely independent. I’ve never felt like I have anyone to answer to, before I go out. I’ve put my career, family and friends before him and it’s been great”!
There are others who have never and don’t know what falling in love feels like. Sophia, from London, works in retail and is a freelance writer. “Every time I’m in a relationship, I end up getting sadder than when I’m alone. I don’t think I’m meant to be with anyone; I prefer myself to other people. I don’t know if I’ve been in love; it’s hard to judge what it is. You think you are but, you don’t know”. Why is it that some people are always in a relationship and others spend years dreaming about this great passionate affair? A highly emotional eagerness for romance scares potential people off. Whereas avoiding being in a position that you fall in love will quite obviously signal that you’ll be single for some time yet.
You must know who you are. If you’re unsure of your identity, when you fall in love, you’ll make that person the focus in life. It can become very destructive, compulsive and desperate. Tasha, 29, a single PR Consultant from Luton agrees, “when you’re in a relationship with someone, you connect on so many levels and when that happens, your identities merge, so to speak. Women who are insecure don’t feel like they have an identity of their own; they go seeking it in other people. The easiest way to find it is with a man; you feel protected and secure. Society makes it easier if you’re a couple; i.e. when you want to go on holiday on your own, they’re telling you about single supplement fees. So now, I’m being punished because I’m single? Wouldn’t it make more sense if everything related to that holiday was cheaper? Many restaurants only take bookings for at least two people. Aren’t we supposed to have independent lives”?
Self-confidence, a lot of the time, can imply a greater openness to love. “In relationships you can’t expect someone else to bring the confidence out in you. You can’t have someone dictating exactly what your purpose in life is. This person will know they have so much control over you”, explains Martin Phopong, 30, Finance manager from London. He’s been single for a year but, not through choice.
MEETING THE ONE
Stuart, 34, a model from London, ended a year-long relationship last month. “I’ve never discounted falling in love again; if the right person came along that would be nice. Now, I’m quite enjoying Stu time. Although I’m surrounded by women all the time, it’s very difficult to meet suitable women”! Tasha agrees that it’s difficult to meet people. “I’ve always said I’m going to do my career first then try and find a man. I’m 30, my career is not happening and there’s no man either. What can I do?!
You can be open to love but, not searching and when you’re not looking, it slaps you in the face! Although, there are barriers to falling in love: such as maturity, willingness and time. However, if you’re seeking love, you must shift the torch light on yourself. Look at what you’re doing, how and why you choose the people you’re falling in love with. Things will then become much brighter.