Love

Are You Needy ... Or Is He Just Emotionally Unavailable?

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Woman and man sit back to back ignoring each other

You’re in what started out as a great relationship, but now you find yourself constantly wondering whether he loves you or loves you as much as you love him. You keep asking yourself, “Am I needy or is he emotionally unavailable?” You begin to wonder if your relationship is healthy and become worried that it won’t last.

Getting your needs met is not optional. But are you asking too much of him? How do you know the difference between being needy or being with a man who is incapable of meeting your needs?

Maybe you are crowding him with your need for closeness. Or maybe he just needs more cave time alone to recharge. Navigating your differences is the key to lasting love but giving up what you require will only lead to you feeling angry and resentful.

Knowing the difference between you being needy versus him not being emotionally available will bring you clarity and will allow you to evaluate if he can meet your needs. If it’s the latter, you’ll be able to move on and find love with someone who is a better match for you.

Ultimately, it only takes one person to change a relationship. It’s up to the person with the awareness to do the inner work that can bond you two together or choose to move on to someone new.

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Am I needy or is he emotionally unavailable?

The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you may have hoped. If he is emotionally unavailable, that could trigger you to act in ways that make you seem too needy. If you’re needy that could be pushing him away, causing him to emotionally close off from you. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

His pulling away could cause you to seek reassurance from him, which in turn pushes him away even more. When does seeking reassurance become a red flag that you are being needy?

In a healthy relationship, the two of you can communicate your feelings, your wants, and your needs. This occurs without either of you taking the other’s behavior personally. Additionally, you’re both comfortable spending time apart and feel secure with the relationship.

To gain insights, start off with a self-evaluation below, and be honest with your answers.

How to tell if you’re too needy

Being needy is a sure sign that you have low self-esteem and therefore you don’t feel secure in your romantic relationships. These behaviors are a symptom of a more complex issue about your overall self-confidence. If you recognize yourself in these behaviors, then you’re probably the needy one

When you examine your patterns through the lens of your intimate relationships, ask yourself, “Is this feeling unique to this relationship, or am I needy in all of them?”

How to tell if he’s emotionally unavailable

He may be too emotionally immature for a healthy relationship, or he may have addiction issues. Whatever the cause, he’s not someone who is going to make you feel confident in the status of your relationship. Dating a guy with these traits will leave you feeling like you’re always on uneven ground.

So, which is it? Are you needy or is he emotionally unavailable? Let’s take a look.

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Do you lose your sense of self?

If you can’t identify who you are outside of the relationship, you’re probably needy. Do you lose track of your friends and give up your regular routine every time you enter a new relationship? Or are you able to integrate your boyfriend into your life? Or do you merge into his life leaving your routines behind?

A healthy relationship is where one whole person comes together with another whole and complete person, and they form a new entity – the relationship. It is not one where you merge into his life and lose your sense of self.

Are you needy? Yes, if you find your tendency is to merge with your partner and lose your sense of self.

Does he react defensively?

Does he get defensive easily or take any feedback as criticism? Then he is not emotionally available or emotionally mature enough for a healthy relationship. This guy will leave you second-guessing yourself over and over again, and you’ll end up biting your tongue. Look for someone who can hear you without thinking that every request is an attack on his competency.

He is emotionally unavailable if he is incapable of hearing your feedback without getting angry and defensive.

Are you jealous and controlling?

Do you find yourself constantly checking in with your guy to see what he’s up to, or asking who he’s texting with? The need to constantly keep tabs on your partner means you’re under the influence of the green-eyed monster — jealousy.

Jealousy and control are signs of insecurity in the relationship. You don’t trust yourself and you certainly don’t trust your partner.

Trust is the foundation of a lasting loving partnership. If you keep track of every move he makes in order to feel secure, then you are needy. Trusting someone requires that you know your value and that you’ll be okay no matter what.

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Does he think you’re too intense?

If he can’t handle your emotional expression, then he’s probably not the right guy for you. How you feel is not up for debate. Expressing your emotions is a normal part of being human. As long as you take responsibility for them and aren’t taking them out on someone else, self-expression is a healthy part of every intimate relationship.

Your guy is emotionally unavailable if he can’t handle your emotional expression or is constantly asking you to tone it down. Share with him that what you feel is not something you are willing to negotiate and see if he is able to acknowledge your feelings without judging them.

Do you seek constant reassurance?

The need for constant reassurance can be draining and damaging to your relationship. It’s one thing if you are having a bad day or not feeling well and want a pick me up from your partner. It’s damaging to constantly look for the reassurance of their love for you, their attraction to you, and their loyalty.

Are you needy? If your partner’s reassurance isn’t enough to calm your insecurities about the relationship, then you probably are. Work at building your self-confidence by taking mitigating risks like learning something new, developing a new skill, or taking a course in communication.

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Does he physically and emotionally withdraw?

A man who is emotionally unavailable will likely put physical distance between you as well. If he ghosts you and then reappears again out of the blue, takes forever to respond to texts, or puts long gaps in between dates, then he is not ready for an exclusive relationship.

Don’t be accommodating and take him back simply because he decided to show up again. Instead, have the uncomfortable conversation and ask him what has changed, make a specific request, and tell him how you feel when he disappears.

Do you expect him to make you happy?

No one is responsible for your happiness except yourself. If your partner is the source of your happiness, then you are putting too much power in his hands and a burden on the relationship.  An ideal relationship is one that enhances your happiness, not one that you depend on for how you feel about yourself and your life.

Discover activities that bring you joy, spend time with your friends, and make sure to take time for yourself to rejuvenate and recharge.

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Does he constantly joke or make sarcastic remarks?

If your guy can’t ever stop the stand-up routine or constantly makes sarcastic comments, then he will probably have trouble opening up and being sincere with you.

Sarcasm and a lack of sincerity become tedious over time. If he never lets you know how he really feels and hides his criticisms by calling them jokes, it’s likely he is emotionally unavailable.

Ask him how he is feeling and see if he is willing to open up to you. If not, you’ll find yourself feeling more distant from him over time because he isn’t letting you into his heart.

Do you dread being apart?

Sure, it feels reassuring and calming when you are in his presence, however, if you get anxious when the two of you part then you are needy. It’s normal to miss your partner but it shouldn’t trigger depression and anxiety when he goes away for the weekend.

Use the time apart to focus on yourself, your friends, and your family. By cultivating the skill of being calm when apart you’ll heal your insecurities and become a better partner.

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Does he include you in his life?

It’s a natural progression of the dating process to meet one another’s friends and family. He’s probably emotionally unavailable if he doesn’t ever introduce you to his inner circle or wants to keep your relationship a secret.

Ask to become part of his life, instead of being part of a secret romance. See if he is willing to share his life with you.

Do you rush into exclusivity?

Moving fast sexually, going exclusive after only a few dates, or moving in together right away are all signs that you have low self-esteem and are looking for a relationship to define you so you feel better about yourself.

You are needy if you feel an overwhelming impulse to throw caution to the wind for the relationship before you’ve met each other’s friends and family, been on a few trips together, and had some disagreements to overcome.

Try slowing things down and discovering more about him and whether he is a good match for you long-term before committing your heart.

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Does he put effort into the relationship?

Is he happy to let you do all the work while he reaps the benefits of your emotional and physical intimacy? He’s probably emotionally unavailable if he isn’t willing to step up and claim you. You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who is willing to settle for you because you make it easy and you’re accommodating.

Notice whether he puts effort into moving the relationship forward and letting you know how he feels about you. Discover if he is capable of stepping up for you by making requests. His response to your requests as well as his actions will reveal whether he is emotionally available for a relationship or not.

You can’t change negative patterns in your relationships without discovering the real problem. Whether you’re attracted to emotionally unavailable men, or you are needy and clingy in your relationships, neither is a good strategy for lasting love.

You’re not going to suddenly make an emotionally unavailable man open up to you, nor are you going to feel confident and value yourself overnight.

The reality is that only you can change the course of your love life.

Identifying and healing your core relationship wounds is one of the most rewarding journeys you can take. When you embark on this inner journey you’ll also learn the skills for lasting love so you can select an ideal partner to share your life with.

Tired of being the needy one in your relationships? Or perhaps you’re stuck in a cycle, of attracting emotionally unavailable men? Either way, we can assure you that you can break these patterns and create the soul-satisfying, long-lasting love you desire.

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Orna and Matthew Walters are Soulmate Coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s "The Millionaire Matchmaker." They're the authors of the free ebook, "7 Steps To Soulmating," which can be found on their website

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This article was originally published at Creating Love on Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.