It’s a very little thing. You can see it as merely a play on words. And yet, when push comes to shove, it’s actually a big deal when you’re in a relationship. It’s the difference between health and paranoia, freedom and obsession, between mature growth and psychosis.

Some people come into a relationship thinking their partner is their salvation. They’re serial boyfriends and girlfriends — people who cannot survive without a partner. Their identity is connected into their being IN A RELATIONSHIP. You see them break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend and the next thing you know, they’ve already announced on Facebook that they’re in a new relationship. You have friends like these: people who lose themselves in relationships, taking on their partners personalities, and habits, and hobbies. All of a sudden, they love dogs (or cats) because their partners do. They start climbing mountains, or become gym fanatics, because their partners are. They’re your friends, and because they say it’s reinvention, and because they really look happy, you’re also happy for them, but then all of a sudden you see tell-tale signs of unhealth. And because you’re a friend, you stop yourself from saying, “I told you so!”

You’ve probably had a girlfriend like that yourself, or you probably are one right now: the crazy, paranoid, psychotic partner. And because we have the capacity to delude ourselves into believing our own lies, it takes us long to realize we are in one such kind of relationship or we are one such kind of partner.

As with everything else, it starts with awareness. Take a pulse check and ask yourself: Am I a needy? Is my partner needy?

Everything starts there, because awareness puts you in the position to make better decisions. To be needy is to look at your relationship as the be-all and end-all of life. When breaking up with a partner is impossible to do because you’re deathly afraid to be alone, then maybe you are becoming needy.

If there is nothing value-adding your partner can give to you, leave, and don’t look back. If being in the relationship leads to a much diminished sense of self, please don’t stay long. If what you add to the relationship is just misery, a jar of broken hearts, insults, and (God-forbid!) physical pain, by all means live alone! There are just too many assholes in the world, and because there are a lot of clingy women (or the otherway around), they’re married together now in a relationship that is really a separation-waiting-to-happen. A lot of people stay in relationships thinking they can “save” their partners. Probably they can. Probably they can’t. But see, paid professionals are there to do that, and they can probably do a much better job at it than them. In fact, you might want to check yourself if you think the sole reason why you’re there is to save your partner. I’m sure there’s a much better reason to being in a relationship than to bear it as a cross.

Come to think of it, relationships are not a necessity. Healthy people do not need to be in an exclusive relationship. If they’re really healthy, an exclusive relationship, and all its requisite psychosis, is a complication.

But then sometimes, you meet someone as healthy as you are. When push comes to shove, that someone really doesn’t need you at all. She is complete by herself–in a great career, with a lot of great friends, very happy, fulfilled.

But then you meet. And sparks fly. And thunder strikes.

And you realize you want to be with this girl — not because you NEED to, but because you WANT to.

It is the irony of ironies. People who do not really “need” each other?! How can that even work?

I tell you it does. In fact they make the best partners.

[by Eric Santillan]

About Eric Santillan

AngPeregrino is Eric Santillan. He is a management consultant for two firms specializing in sustainable business, competitiveness and risk management, cost control and culture management. During weekends, he does counselling for Clinica Salutare, an Integrative Health Clinic. He is also a writer for The Mindanao Current, a core group member of Heroic Leadership Philippines, and a retreat giver.

2 thoughts on “We’re Not Needy, We’re Want-y

  1. mabuti th-in-rowback mo ito sa fb, hadn’t read this yet and it’s really good 😀

    syempre dahil masama akong bata (or so they say 😉 ) i think it would be interesting to examine if, and how, the same healthful mentality would translate to parenthood. (adult) children shouldn’t “need” their parents??? sinverguenza!! speaking only for myself of course, i would think relationship-related wisdom relates to all kinds of relationships. but if only it were so easy. 🙂


    1. Andi!! Haha! While to some extent this can be good relationship wisdom with parent-children relationships as well, I guess it works only to a certain extent. Parents find some of their happiness in being ‘needed’ by their kids. And kids objectively really need parents for their material and emotional needs.

      But yeah, it could become unhealthy too! There is a golden mean somewhere that I cannot put my finger on right now. 🙂


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