6 Major Differences Between Wanting Someone And Needing Them

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6 Big Differences Between Wanting Vs Needing Someone

There was a period of time — say, up until I turned 25 — during which I felt anxious whenever I thought about love. At that time, I'd already had a few significant relationships, but nothing that felt the way I'd been taught to believe love would feel.

Falling in love felt like some intangible experience that was meant for a select few, but not something I had been blessed enough to find or experience for myself.

I felt desperate to find a man — any man! — who would prove to me that some men are different, that they're not all cowards, that they aren't all unavailable, and that they aren't just there for the good times, but could be true partners even during the bad.

But after so many dates, so many disappointments and more soul-searching than I thought possible during a quarter-life crisis, I decided to take the attention away from this so-called visionary creature I was impatiently waiting to meet and put the focus back on myself.

And over the last few years, I've been figuring out how much more powerful it is to want someone instead of needing someone.

RELATED: I Don't Need A Man — But That Doesn't Mean I Can't Want One

There's a strength that comes with relying on yourself, no matter what does or doesn't happen, and recognizing this can really turn your perspective on dating around.

I'm in a happy (dare I say, easy!) relationship now, and I don't need him ... but I definitely want him.

Here's what I've learned about 6 big differences between wanting someone vs. needing someone.

1. Needing a man comes from a place of feeling desperate. Wanting a man comes from a place of feeling empowered.

If the thought of being a relationship seems so far-fetched that you claw at any opportunity to be in front of single men or spend hours upon hours aimlessly swiping, you need to relax.

Instead, refocus your day-to-day life on whatever it is that makes you happy. Join organizations and get involved in activities that support your interests, empowering yourself to be satisfied regardless of your Facebook relationship status.

2. Needing a man means you need a confidence boost. Wanting a man is knowing you're worthy.

To be fair, we all need to be told we're awesome every once in awhile. It's human nature to want to feel wanted, especially by someone you're romantically involved with.

But if you need a man to constantly reassure you that you're beautiful, that he loves you, and that you're amazing, then you're what you're really doing is trying to fill a big void in your life.

Before you begin a relationship, it's important to know your self-worth, your value and the unique things you bring to the table. When you've already defined who you are and what you're made of, you won't need to be reminded daily of it. Instead, when you get a compliment (or three), it'll just be an extra nod to what you already know to be true.

3. Needing a man means saying "I can't live without you." Wanting a man means saying "I can live without you, but I choose not to."

I don't know which romantic comedy actually said it (maybe all of them), but when you're saying "I love you" to someone, you're really saying "I choose you." You're saying that out of all of the possible suitors in the world, you're picking this person to share your life with (or at least a portion of it).

Knowing you're with someone via your own active choice is far more powerful than feeling like you can't make it through a day without a guy in your life. Wouldn't you prefer to feel handpicked instead of handcuffed?

RELATED: If A Guy Does These 5 Things, He's Trying To Keep You Trapped In A Toxic Relationship

4. Needing a man means you want to feel completed. Wanting a man means wanting to compliment and enhance one another.

You've heard it all before: "You complete me," "You're my better half" and "A soulmate is your soul finding its way home." Excuse me while I say, C'mon, really?

Instead of looking for another person to fill the parts of you that feel incomplete, why not invite someone to love all of those parts of you, including those pieces that sometimes make you feel less than whole.

No matter who you're with or what stage of life you're in, you're always going to have a feeling that something are missing. As you have children, your social life might take a hit. As you move up in your career, you might not be able to grab drinks as often as you once did. When you buy a house, you might feel like you wish you had more spending money.

Life ebbs and flows. Look for someone who rides the waves with you instead of depending on someone to fish you out of any potentially hot water.

5. Needing a man means trying to say only the right things. Wanting a man means saying what you really think and feel.

One of the things my dad loves the most about my mom is that he never knows what she's thinking. It's kept him interested for 30 years, and it's something I hope for in my marriage.

If you can't say what you really think and are always concerned about saying the exact right thing to keep someone interested in you, then you lose out on someone loving you for who you are.

And who you are is pretty fantastic, so why downplay it?

6. Needing a man means you're not ready for a relationship. Wanting a man means you are.

I hate to break it to you, but as long as you feel like you need a man in your life in order for you to be happy, you're not ready for a relationship.

When you know you would be just fine without one, know that your healthiest love is on the way.

RELATED: 9 Signs You're Hangry For Love (Read: Desperate)

Lindsay Tigar is an experienced travel and lifestyle journalist, content strategist and editor whose work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Vogue, USA Today, Fast Company and a myriad of other publications. Follow her on Twiiter.