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Are You Too Needy In Relationships? 9 Signs You Are And How to Stop

Are You Too Needy In Relationships? 9 Signs You Are And How to Stop

A healthy relationship should make you feel good about yourself. You should feel motivated, loving, and full of life.

But just because you want to be your best self around your partner doesn’t mean that you always will. Sometimes being in a relationship will make you feel self-conscious, anxious, and needy.

Being needy has its ups and downs. Having the occasional bout of need can remind your partner how special they are to you and make your relationship stronger. But unhealthy need can result in jealousy and stress. It can also make your partner feel smothered and cause you to feel like you don’t know who you are anymore.

Loving and needing your partner is a wonderful part of a relationship. But an over-abundance of need can actually do more harm than good.

In this article, I’ll cover the signs of being too needy and how to stop it from sabotaging your relationship.

9 Signs of Neediness

Here are 9 signs that you are being too needy with your spouse and how to stop these toxic behaviors.

1. Losing a Sense of Self

When you are in a relationship, it’s only natural that you want to spend all of your time with your spouse. But there is such a thing as spending too much time together.

If you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to please your spouse, spend time with them, or agree with them, you will begin to lose your identity.

If you would not know who you were if you and your spouse broke up, you are likely too needy.

2. Overreactions are Common

It’s normal for couples to argue every now and again, but it is not normal to have explosive arguments over nothing.

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If your spouse talks to someone of the opposite sex (or preferred gender) and it sends you into a flurry of accusations, it may be time to start rethinking how close you are with your spouse.

3. Always Texting

Couples who text each other all day are adorable, aren’t they? Yes, checking in with your partner via text is a cute and sweet way to let them know that you are thinking about them.

But if your conversation seems one-sided or consists of you sending more than two or three texts in a row without getting a response, you definitely have a problem on your hands.

4. Extreme Jealousy

There is such a thing as a healthy level of jealousy. After all, jealousy is just the heart’s way of reminding you that something is important to you.

Feelings of jealousy should be used as a gentle reminder to cherish your partner – not as a catalyst to freak out on or control them.

5. Never Missing Each Other

You never miss each other because you are never apart. You have all the same friends and don’t spend a moment apart. This is not a healthy behavior.

Healthy relationships happen when two people are still able to maintain some level of independence.

Having your own hobbies and friendships that bring you joy will help you from being overly needy in your romantic relationship.

6. Social Media Stalking

Jealousy and neediness become unhealthy when they lead you to have frequent anxiety over what your spouse is doing when you are not around.

Instead of working on developing deeper bonds of trust – a quality which is essential for a happy relationship – you use your neediness as an excuse to social media stalk your spouse. You rage against or manipulate your partner into giving you the password for all of their online accounts just to settle your own worries.

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This is very unhealthy, toxic relationship behavior.

7. Moving Way Too Fast

Being needy is often a sign of low self-esteem.

When you are insecure, you quickly attach yourself to your partner. This often leads to moving too fast sexually and maybe even moving in together after only a couple of weeks.

If things are moving quicker than normal in your relationship, it could be a sign that you are being overly needy.

8. A Desperate Need of Constant Reassurance

“I’m so ugly,” you say.

“Don’t say that,” your partner coos. “You’re beautiful!”

Your spouse is always quick to jump to your defense or give you genuine compliments. But no matter how many times your spouse reassures you of their love for your, their attraction to your, or their loyalty to your relationship, you never believe them.

This need for constant reassurance can be draining and damaging to your relationship.

9. Feeling Depressed When Not Being Together

It’s normal to miss your partner if they go away for the weekend without you. But falling into a deep depression or anxiety-filled panic attack at the thought of being away from your partner for an extended period of time is no healthy. This is definitely a sign that you are too needy in your relationship.

You need to start working on yourself and focus on your needs as an individual, not in a couple.

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How to Get Over Relationship Neediness

Being needy is not something you can get over in a single day. It is deep-rooted behavior and like any bad habit, it will take hard work, time, and determination to fix.

Here are three tips for banishing unhealthy neediness from your relationship for good.

Work on Healthy Communication

Good communication is the backbone of a great relationship. It’s how couples learn to work as a team, resolve arguments in a healthy manner, and get to know one another on a deeper level.

If being needy is ruining your relationship, you need to start learning how to express yourself in other ways. Practice talking to your partner. Use “I” statements instead of “You” statements so that they do not feel like they have to be defensive when speaking to you.

Explain your insecurities to your spouse so that they can have empathy for you and understand better why you are reacting to situations in a certain way.

This is sure to strengthen your relationship.

Take a Social Media Break

Social media can be very damaging to our mental health. Studies show that those who spend time on social media tend to have more issues with mental health than those who do not.[1] Not only is this due to the high number of social media accounts (fitness, celebrity, couples) that present an unrealistic and unattainable view of life, but also because they open a window into your partner’s past.

Stalking your spouse’s ex online can drive you into a never-ending web of jealousy and low self-esteem. Watching your spouse interact on social media can also make you endlessly nervous, suspicious, and paranoid about what may be going on behind your back.

Even if your partner has never given you a reason to distrust them, you may still find yourself feeling rotten when you’re online.

Do yourself a favor and take a social media break for a week and see how much better you feel. If your neediness or controlling behavior have lessened over the week, consider jumping off the social media bandwagon for good. Not only will this better your relationship, but it will also improve your mental health.

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Go to Counseling

Couples therapy can be incredibly helpful in banishing toxic neediness from your relationship. Your counselor will help you work through communication issues and discuss any past experiences that may be causing the distrust in your relationship.

MidAmerica Nazarene University surveyed 1000 couples who were either engaged, married, or divorced to learn more about marriage counseling and how effective it is.[2] Results revealed that 49 percent of participants had attended some form of counseling as a couple, with millennials most likely to attend therapy. A staggering 71 percent of participants said that counseling was either helpful or very helpful for their marriage.[3]

Taking an online marriage course can also be helpful, as it will teach you healthy communication techniques that you can use to talk to your spouse instead of having a toxic, needy reaction to certain circumstances.

Going to solo counseling can also be highly beneficial for helping you get to the root of the problem in your relationship or with yourself. Your therapist can help you develop healthy relationship habits and find your true self.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let neediness ruin a good thing in your relationship.

Your spouse deserves your trust and the freedom to have a healthy social life without you always being by their side. Letting go also helps you to live a happier life.

Improve your mental health by banishing needy tendencies for good.

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] National Center for Health Research: Social Media and Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Mental Health
[2] Marriage: Marriage Counseling for Couples
[3] MNU: 1000 couples

More by this author

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships.

How To Resolve Relationship Conflicts without Hurting Each Other How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better 6 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up on Love

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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