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The Truth About “Neediness” in Close Relationships

Uniting Couples to Strengthen Families

couple holding up backbend

“I don’t want to be needy,” I heard for the umpteenth time in a couples therapy session.  The reality is that sometimes we just need our partners to hold us up…and that’s actually a good thing.

At the risk of expressing an unpopular viewpoint, I think our societal views of independence often negatively impact our close intimate relationships.  Our western society highly values independence.  Independence can be practical in many contexts.  The concept of relying on others is frequently considered a weakness.  However, in intimate couple relationships, too much focus on individuality can work someone right out of a relationship, or precipitate anxious emotions, diminishing relationship happiness.

I have observed in clinical practice that many couples don’t understand that there is a concept called “effective dependence,” in which partners actually become more functional and exploratory in the world when they feel safe and secure in their close intimate relationships.  When couples don’t…

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