Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I need you to need me

I suppose that every guy has his weakness - that one thing that will make him fall madly, deeply in like with a girl. But, as I've been told ad infintum, the one ring that rules them all is being needed by a girl. A guy must feel that he is needed. Fair enough, I say. It makes perfect sense. But what I grapple with is chasing down that elusive, slim line demarcating the boundary between the overly dependent and overly independent.

We're told (and I strongly believe, I might add) that as women we should not sit around and wait for our Prince Charming to come along. We should be active, pursue our dreams, and find things that make us happy. We should act and not wait to be acted upon. In essence, we should live our lives to the fullest, seeking and finding joy in whatever stage we find ourselves.

But, as we do these things, we become increasingly independent. In fact, we acquire a necessary, learned independence. It is not necessarily that we want to do those things alone, but we must. We have to learn how to provide for ourselves and become self-sufficient. In that light, it was particularly striking to hear a man talk about this woman he was pursuing. He had doubts that she would ever be interested in him because he said, "Look at her. She's beautiful, educated, successful, well traveled, talented, and capable of doing anything she needs in her life. Where do I fit here? Why would she need me?" To this man, there was no chink in her armor. He couldn't see any entry point into her life because she was so self-sufficient. She appeared to fill any function he thought he might provide. She did not need protection, provisions, or fun. He was not needed - at least that is how he perceived it.

I think that often times women come off that way without intending to. We have to be independent, and most of us want to enjoy ourselves, wherever we are in life. So how do we provide for ourselves and pursue our dreams as we have to and want to, while still showing guys they are needed? I'm not talking about stroking pride or fostering inequitable relations between men and women. I think feeling needed is something essential for both women and men in a relationship. But how is that done? Where is that balance?


Melanie said...


This is the ever elusive balance that I have yet to figure out. I've tried to be non-clingy only to find out that Guy A found me emotionally unavailable. So I try to learn from that, but Guy B feels smothered. Ack!

Our society still has a long way to go before men and women achieve true equality; however, many opportunities have opened up so that we women can be self sufficient in many ways. The beauty in this is that while we may not need men in the ways that women in the past have needed men, we still want them in our lives. I think that everyone, no matter how perfectly he or she seems to have it together, wants a true friend and confidant.

Adam said...

I wish I could give all the women the secret formula to win a man's heart. And if there's some universal trick to winning over a woman, I'm all ears.

The sad fact is that all guys are different. What will intimidate one might not even be a clue for another.

Maybe what your friend is talking about is not so much feeling intimidated, but feeling incompatible. If she has all those interests, talents and experiences, maybe he wonders whether she would be interested in someone who does not share them. Still, he should give her the chance to make that choice for herself. Just sayin'.

"No one is out of your league. This isn't baseball."

Heather Sanders said...

I received an email from a friend, and I liked what he said. So, with his permission, here it is. I do think it is now becoming an issue of wanting, not needing.

For me, showing or receiving interest is a matter of wanting, not needing. And I really believe the two are quite different, at least how I'm defining them in my head. The attitude of wanting is optimistic, positive, and shows control of self: "I don't have to have this, but it sure would be nice, and if it matters a lot to me, I will work hard to do all I can to get it. But I will survive and enjoy life regardless."

I don't need a woman in my life to survive and find joy and do great things. But I really believe that finding love will make my life better - even more enjoyable - and so I want it. I expect this attitude from whomever I end up marrying. We're going to be teammates, not mutual caretakers, enabling our insecurities. Yuck.

Thus, independence and self-sufficiency are prerequisites, not factors that hurt my interest in or ability to access women. I want a woman to want to be with me, not need to be with me. If we're wasting our energy filling each others' needs, we're not going to be able to look outside ourselves very much...

Adam said...

Yes, I had the discussion on semantics ("need" vs. "want") with a few others last night. I will say that in matters of exaltation, we do need an eternal spouse. In matters of personal fulfillment, we want a husband or wife.

We are biologically designed (by God) to want/need a partner. We are taught in the Gospel (by God) that we want/need someone else in order to progress fully, someday. Semantics aside, your question still has merit.

I also heard that women are in charge of the green light, and men are in charge of the gas signal. When a man is interested, all he needs is a clear, definitive signal in order to move the relationship forward. (Some discussion about men being a bit "thick" about signals also went on.)

Johnny 5 said...

Hey, Just wanted to say I enjoyed looking through your blog and I wanted to weigh in on this one. From the perspective of a married guy who definitely needs and wants his wife. I have to tell you that I think it's important to need the other person in a mutual way. Not in the patriarchal fashion that I think has become stereotypcial among traditional mormons but in a way that is healthy and is edifying. I am glad Becky fills my needs and I hope I understand what hers are and I feel we both work towards that. Every relationship is different though and I have known good marriages where it seemed like both were more independent type personalities, however I don't think I was that type. I think you when you find the right person you don't have to make a need/want calculation, you just love them and you find yourself suprised and extremely grateful that the other person reciprocates that feeling in a really awesome way.