In a recent survey conducted at, “neediness”—clingy, controlling, possessive, and/or demanding behavior—was one of the most commonly cited reasons for ending a relationship. Dating couples are calling it quits because they feel they either cannot or do not want to please their partner! It’s simply too much work! If you’re a member of the dating world, and you are confused about why it isn’t working for you, the answer lies in a better understanding of how the opposite sex thinks.

First, what qualifies as “needy”? In some cases a person may be considered needy if others are repeatedly unable to make him or her happy. In everyday conversations this person may be referred to as “high maintenance” or “difficult.” Other attributes of a “needy” person are that he or she can be demanding, sometimes to the point of being rude or inconsiderate of others. He or she may also have a difficult time thinking of others or placing them first. Truly needy people desire to be the center of attention. Unfortunately, these qualities are not very appealing or attractive to someone searching for a mate.

Unfortunately, there are often times in a relationship when you may not get your needs met, and this can inspire “needy” behavior. Discussion board members at frequently mention feeling at the end of their ropes to get their needs met by their partner and the lengths they go to in order to be heard—everything from repeated calling and e-mailing, to conversations demanding to know where their partner was, and why he or she didn’t call. It really does not inspire a man or woman to hear your concerns when he or she feels he or she is being yelled at or stalked!
While the behaviors just discussed sound a bit irrational, they are created when a seemingly healthy man or woman is unable to get what he or she wants from the relationship. We’re here to tell you that there is another way. Men and women are not doomed to late night “drive bys” or stalker phone calls to find happiness in their relationships. The first and most important thing to understand is that men and women have different needs and therefore give to each other differently. Think of it this way: if your favorite meal is sushi, on some level, don’t you think everyone must love sushi because you do? We expect on some level that if we want to be treated one way, our partners must want the same thing. But that assumption is a big mistake!

Both men and women have basic, primary needs. Women need to feel cared for, understood, and respected, and men need to feel trusted, accepted, and appreciated. One example of what happens in the real dating world is that women want to be called on a regular basis. When a man does this, it tells her that he cares about her. When he doesn’t, it makes women feel disrespected. On the other hand, when a man doesn’t call, he wants to be accepted for who he is and not made to be a “bad guy” for not calling. When a woman becomes angry or disappointed in him for not calling, he begins to feel like she doesn’t trust that he’s good enough for her, and his motivation to call diminishes even further.

Neediness is created when perfectly sane and normal people do not get their needs met, especially if they are genuinely interested in the person they’re dating. Feeling powerless to change your partner’s behavior and get what you want out of a relationship inspires the feelings and actions of a needy person. Someone who seemed like he or she was “relationship material” is suddenly unattractive and demanding.

If you have felt the ugly needy monster creeping into your dating life or current relationship, there are two possible obstacles in your way. One, you’re dating or in a relationship with someone who is not aware of what you need and how to give it to you. There are specific ways to ask the opposite sex for what you need that motivates them to want to give it to you. You may simply not be asking for what you want in a way that your partner can clearly understand. Remember, men and women are different!

The other possibility is that your partner may not be motivated to meet your needs, and that may be a sign that the end is near. Relationships can be challenging at times, and we all have to find the energy to give to our partners, sometimes when we least feel like it. You would be surprised how easy it is to save a relationship as long as you act before it’s too late.

If you’re not sure which of these two issues is the real problem, it may help to get objective feedback. At, we have a Relationship Coaching Program that can help you identify your issues and show you exactly what to do to find a solution. For more info about this program, visit—remember, we’re always here for you.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

John Gray is the author of 15 best-selling books, including Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, the number one best-selling relationship book of the last decade. In the past 10 years, over 30 million Mars and Venus books have been sold in over 40 languages throughout the world.

An expert in the field of communication, John Gray’s focus is to help men and women understand, respect, and appreciate their differences in both personal and professional relationships. In his many books, CDs, DVDs, tapes, workshops, and seminars, he provides practical tools and insights to effectively manage stress and improve relationships at all stages and ages by creating the brain chemistry of health, happiness, and lasting romance.

Dr. John Gray has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, The View, Politically Incorrect, Larry King, and others. He has been profiled in Newsweek, Time, Forbes, USA Today, TV Guide, People, and New Age Journal, among others.

Dr. Gray, a certified family therapist, is the premier Better Life relationship coach on AOL. In 2001, he received the Smart Marriages Impact Award.

John Gray lives with his wife and three children in northern California.