25 March 2019 by Tom Olsen

The Huge Difference Between Love And Neediness

In the UK, internet articles that provide relationship advice are required by law to include a generic romantic photo

In the world of dating, there is one thing that we can all agree on – there is so much advice out there. (And here is some more). There is some that I agree with and some that I don’t agree with.

One piece of advice that falls into the latter category is that you must ‘play hard to get’ to attract the other. This boils down to holding back your expression of appreciation and love for fear of being perceived as ‘needy’.

It’s true that neediness is unattractive. It shows a lack of confidence and self-esteem. It’s an under-estimation of your true value.

But the advice to ‘play hard to get’ confuses expression of love and appreciation with neediness. It assumes that to love and appreciate someone is the equivalent of needing them and clinging onto them. I believed this for a long time – and I was wrong.

The ironic thing is, modifying your behaviour by holding back your expression for the purposes of not seeming needy is pretty needy. It's based on a scarcity mindset – “I can’t be myself, I can’t say what I think because their interest is more important than my expression”.

So how is loving and appreciating someone different from needing them? I think this quote from Osho sheds some light:

If you love a flower, don’t pick it. Because if you pick it, it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be.
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation.

In my opinion the ability and willingness to fully express your appreciation and love for your woman, but without the neediness to own and cling onto her is the ‘pinnacle’ of personal development as far as dating is concerned – to appreciate and love, but have such an understanding of your own value that you don’t need to cling on and you can walk away from the relationship if you have to. To love, but not to depend.

When I started to explore this, I made the mistake of believing that loving without owning was a balance – a ‘middle-ground’ between expressing your love and being needy that depended on not moving too far either way – sacrificing some love to avoid neediness and vice versa.

I later discovered that I was wrong.

Loving without owning is not a compromise between two extremes. It is an entirely unique position in and of itself that combines the full expression of love with detachment (non-neediness) without sacrificing a shred of either.

But this sounds like a contradiction, and without an example it is difficult to imagine how one could love without being needy. So let’s look at a real life example.

Let’s use the example of a break-up:

Let’s assume that a woman wants to end the relationship with a man. She states that “she isn’t feeling it and doesn’t think they should see each other anymore” - standard break-up chit chat.

So how would a man who has decided to love, without the desire to own, respond? I think it would look something like this:

“I appreciate your honesty. I want to say that I think you are lovely, sexy, charming – an amazing woman. The time we have spent together has been amazing and I won’t forget it in a hurry. But I totally accept your decision and I won’t try to convince you otherwise.”

Of course the conversation may explore many areas and go down many channels as the man and woman open up and talk – but this represents the gist of the man’s message.

What I see here is a guy who knows himself and is willing and able to express his appreciation for his woman. But he also values himself greatly. He doesn’t offload the responsibility for his happiness to someone else and he has the intelligence and perception to understand what he can and can’t control. He loves his woman, but he knows that trying to own her and cling onto her when she wants to leave would be futile and a betrayal of his true value and self-worth.