Exiting The Friend Zone
The last few months have been a surreal whirlwind of craziness and moments where I just had to sit down and ask myself, "What the heck is happening?"
I've been semi-secretly dating one of my very best friends, Lauren. Lauren and I have been close friends for over 4 years, and fighting our way out of the "Friend Zone" has been an interesting experience to say the least. (That will be another post in and of itself.)
I'll admit that for the majority of our friendship I wanted to date Lauren, and I've fantasized of marrying her on countless occasions. And I'm sure once or twice she was crazy enough to consider marrying me. (She did say yes, after all.) But there were also times where we absolutely knew that we simply wouldn't work together.
When I reflect back on the times when Lauren and I were convinced about our lack of compatibility, one common theme stands out. We lacked compatibility most when one (or both) of us was not being true to ourselves, or allowing the other to be true to themselves. When I grasped the concept of loving Lauren for exactly who she is and not who she could be, or should be, everything changed for me. Likewise when I allowed myself to be loved - both by me and by Lauren - it's like everything clicked.
We Don't Need Each Other
In this week's interview, Tom talks about dating his wife, Beth. He says that one of the most attractive things about her was that she didn't need him. She could go about happily living her life without him, and be just fine.
When people have love for themselves for exactly who they are, it gives others the permission to love them for who they are.
Few things will corrode a relationship faster than neediness and desperation. It's frightening to be in a relationship with someone who bases their happiness, their moods, and even their self-worth off of how you feel about them on any given day. A relationship full of neediness doesn't allow space for honest conversations, for authenticity, or even for bad days.
Here are a few ways you can get rid of neediness in your relationship to make sure to create an emotional ecosystem where love can flourish and grow:
Your self-perceived value as a human being should not hinge on what others think about you. One of the most common fears in nearly every human I talk to about love is not being "enough." You are scared that you won't be funny enough, or ambitious enough, or smart enough, or attractive enough, or connected enough...
Here's the trick. You will never be enough for anyone else until you are enough to yourself. And you will never be enough to yourself till you begin to treat yourself like you have value... like you matter... like you're enough.
Self-love is an active behavior. It is treating yourself the very same way you treat those you love the most. It involves peaking kindly to yourself. It is forgiving yourself when you make mistakes. It's setting aside time for things that are important to you. It's treating your mind, body, and spirit with respect and dignity.
When you love yourself, you don't ever need anyone else to fill your cup for you. It's already full.
Plus people who love themselves attract love into their lives.
Neediness often manifests itself when someone (or both people) in a relationship oversteps their bounds emotionally, physically, or in any other area of the relationship. These moments often result in fights that get emotional and turn ugly.
When emotions get involved in a disagreement, nothing good ever happens. People do not think rationally when their adrenaline is flowing and their heart is pumping. All they can think about it either running away or doing everything it takes to get their way. Both of these tactics are manipulative and neither ever leaves the couple saying, "Wow, I'm glad we did that. What a great conversation."
If you want to avoid the neediness that follows threats, and manipulative conversations learn to fight better. Most couples don't break up because of what they fight over. Some couples get divorced over how to squeeze the toothpaste tube, and others grow closer together after serious infidelity. It's not what you're arguing over that's a threat to your relationship. It's how you argue over it.
If you're feeling insecure, don't make it about his work. If you're feeling under-appreciated, don't attack her about her girlfriends. Be honest. Take ownership of your feelings, thoughts, moods and behaviors. Speak respectfully. Leave the emotion at the door.
If the emotions come up, have a battle plan. Take a break. Go for a walk. Table the conversation.
These are just a few tips on how to eliminate neediness from your relationship. What other ones can you think of? Leave your ideas in the comments.
And while you're here, check out the new Loveumentary Store and get yourself your very own Love More T-shirt!
Intro music: For Once In My Life - Harry Connick, Jr.