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Is “Needing Someone” Unhealthy?
by: Dr. Dennis W. Neder

I'm a 19 year-old girl and am pretty inexperienced when it comes to relationships. I'm scared of ending up in an unhealthy relationship like so many of my friends claim to have been in. I don't really know the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships which is what worries me.

Some of my friends have told me it's unhealthy to be with someone who needs you too much but how much is too much? Others have told me it's unhealthy to need the person you're with at all in a relationship. I don't know what to believe!

My boyfriend told me last night he loved and needed me and it scared me. I didn't know how to interpret it. I kept thinking does he mean he can't live or function without me or that he simply can't imagine his life without me?

What does it mean to need someone in a relationship anyway? How can I tell a healthy relationship from an unhealthy one? And is it ok to need the person you're with? Why are break-ups so painful? Is it because of your broken heart or because you need that person in your life and they're no longer there?

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer me, I really appreciate it.



Let me set you straight here. It's not unhealthy to be wanted - or to want someone in a relationship. However, it's unhealthy to want someone or to be wanted in an UNHEALTHY relationship.

Your girlfriends are simply spouting some stupid thing they've heard on Dr. Phil or read in Cosmo. Unfortunately, these women also don't know reality from marketing hype.

There is a mis-belief that being independent in a relationship is a good thing, but let me ask you - how many of your girlfriends are in long-term, healthy relationships themselves? None? I thought so.

We are a media-dominated society. Unfortunately, people (especially young women) are picking up all sorts of stupid, meaningless advice by those with a greater agenda rather than learning what reality is.

Let me give you a dose of reality: in "healthy" relationships, people are "interdependent" on each other. They bring their own strengths to the table, and willingly rely on the strengths of their partner where they are weak. This isn't unhealthy at all - it's the height of health!

In fact, nobody "needs" another person unless they are very mentally and emotionally ill. These are rare people however and frankly, you'll probably not meet very many of them in your life.

What's much more common is to realize that other people help you make you feel "whole" and that's a good thing! If you were entirely whole by yourself, you'd never need or want to have anyone else in your life ever - and THAT is unhealthy too!

The fact is that others make those good parts of us even stronger. Trying to deny that fact leads to all sorts of unhealthy beliefs and behaviors - just like your girlfriends' beliefs and behaviors. Take a look at how they view their past relationships as an example.

Your boyfriend is simply saying that you "complete him" which is actually very healthy. You shouldn't be freaked out about hearing that, nor should you be freaked out about feeling it yourself. Regardless of what your friends say or you may hear on Oprah or read in Cosmo or even see on TV, needing and being needed is the foundation of any good relationship.

As to why break-ups hurt so much, it's simple: it's because you get used to feeling "complete" through the other person. You invest your heart - and head - in the relationship and get back far, far more than you put in. It's like winning big in Vegas!

When that ends, you feel the loss, but here's another important fact: that feeling of loss eventually fades away, and you're left with only the good feelings and memories of that person! This is like a little gift from nature, but more important, you get to keep that strength you gained from having been in the relationship itself, and invest it in another relationship later on as a better, stronger even happier you.

How cool is that?

Best regards...


Have a love, dating, relationship, sex or man/woman question? You can write to me by going to: for answers. For more information about my books, "Being a Man in a Woman's Worldtm" (volumes I & II), and other products visit: Check out the discussion group at:

Copyright (c) 2006, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
All rights reserved.

About The Author

Dr. Neder is known around the world as a tough, but fair relationship expert, dealing with all sorts of dating, sex and relationship issues from a man's perspective. Having written 3 books ("Being a Man in a Woman's World™" series) and is working on others, hundreds of articles, been on hundreds of radio and TV shows, he is funny, direct and intuitive.

Do you have a burning question that needs an answer? Are you a man that wants to better experiences with women, or a woman that wants to better understand men? To learn more, go to

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Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:31 pm
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