October 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm EDT | by Meghann Novinskie and Kim Rosenberg
Indie vs. needy

In every relationship, there’s one person who’s more needy than the other. Needy people consistently need to be with their partner, constantly need reassurance and crave positive reinforcement or affection. Being needy can be considered selfish or codependent, but incredibly supportive.

Though the independent one (let’s call him/her “indie”) values the relationship as much as his/her partner, (s)he shows it differently.  (S)he doesn’t need as much alone time with her partner and even finds that spending time apart can enhance their connection when they are together.  The indie often views the relationship from the outside perspective looking in, and will sometimes consider this when making relationship decisions.

Whereas indies factor their partners’ feelings into consideration when voicing their opinion, he can easily separate themselves from his partner’s thinking – and rarely stray from expressing how he truly feels.

The needy partner might have a difficult time communicating that (s)he wants to spend more time together. This could stem from insecurity or being cheated on in the past, which is important to express to your partner. Needing reassurance is understandable, especially if you have a past filled with positive reinforcement. Don’t be afraid to communicate this.

Indies are typically straight shooters and if not, are usually still more direct than their needy partner. (S)he seeks more time alone, no matter what. The biggest challenge that indies face is expressing that (s)he needs more time alone without hurting his/her partner’s feelings.  Expressing their need for space can be easily misconstrued as “(s)he’s just not that into you.” Since indies are direct, they must proactively express compassion. Explain why you need space and that it’s not that you love your partner less. Indies need more “me time” because they recharge by being alone.

In a relationship, the needier person is often an extrovert and can be impulsive or impatient, often craving affection or attention. Being loved often fills the void of constantly needing positive reinforcement.

If you were raised by a family that showed a lot of affection and consistently positively reinforced your actions, you will more likely play the needy role in your relationships. You also want to spoil your partner with affection, which can be overwhelming to your indie partner.

Though not all indies are introverts, it’s a common trait among them.   Indies who are social butterflies enjoy independence from their partner to recharge among friends. Most indies crave their down time to regain energy needed to upkeep their relationship.

Indies usually enjoy quiet type of activities, such as journaling or creative writing, solo sports, dining or attending movies alone. Often times they were raised in a less affectionate household with less consistent reassurance. These people mature faster than others and tend to venture out on their own at a younger age, hence, being most comfortable when independent.

When Mr(s). Indie wants his/her space and Mr(s). Needy thinks (s)he loves you less, Mr(s). Needy appears standoffish or insecure. It’s important to understand that (s)he recharges her batteries differently than you, and this has nothing to do with his/her level of commitment.

How the indie deals with his/her needy partner is touch and go because at times, (s)he is constantly pulling back. Indies, understand that your needy partner needs to feel supported and is encouraged by spending time together. If dinner and movie dates get monotonous, suggest more relationship-building dates, where you aren’t just having a conversation over sautéed scallops, but rather challenging yourselves or sharing a bonding experience, such as going hiking or taking a cooking class together. “Needies” love this activity too, and you indies out there will feel less smothered. Cope with the difference in your personalities by keeping your communication open.

Mr(s). Needy does not live by the “grass is always greener” mantra. They believe if you are compatible in almost all aspects of your life with your partner, there is no reason to not to want to be with them all the time.

The flip side is that if you agree you mesh so well, then you don’t need to spend every waking moment together to ensure it. Indies hit their breaking point when they feel smothered. It’s important for both sides to be honest about what they need, being space or more time together. Indies feel supported when they are understood and not judged for wanting to spend less time with their partner.

If you are really in love with your partner, these differences should be embraced. Having open conversations are encouraged. Cherish moments together yet learn from your time spent apart. Your relationship will benefit by experiencing growth. Every relationship is a work in progress. Couples grow together, regardless of how much time is spent one on one, with an open line of communication.


1 Comment
  • I wish I had had this column to give to my ex when we first started going out. I take issue, however, with the following: “The needy partner might have a difficult time communicating that (s)he wants to spend more time together.” In my experience, gay men who are the needy partners have no difficulty at all communicating that.

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