If your family is currently struggling, life can be challenging and downright draining. If one or more members of your family are dealing with mental health issues, a major life change or transition, or a lot of family arguing, seriously consider seeking out family therapy. You don't need to be rich, either, to do so because many types of insurance cover this service and low-cost mental health clinics often have a sliding scale based on parent income. If nothing else, consider going for at least one family session. You might be surprised by how helpful it can be to have an objective mediator in the room, guiding the family overall to greater peace. Doesn't that sound nice?!
If you feel like you could use some good dating advice, check out the go-to website for dating advice. Hayley Matthews runs the site and has offered a wealth of relationship advice in multiple media formats. Check out the website here!
In order to date successfully and find a good relationship,
you have to feel good (enough) about yourself. While everyone has insecurities
or flaws they wish they could change, you have to feel okay about yourself from
the start of the relationship for the relationship to be a positive, lasting
relationship. Of course, many men and women don’t feel so good about
themselves, so I am highlighting four principles to keep in mind and live by so
that you can improve your self-confidence and, by extension, have better
Catch yourself when
you say something negative about yourself.
Men and women who have low self-confidence often talk about
themselves in a negative and judgmental way. They may refer to their
unappealing body, reference specific parts of their body they don’t like, or
talk about their bad luck in dating. Don’t let yourself speak badly about
yourself. The first way to improve to your self-confidence is to stop saying
negative things about yourself, and to say positive things about yourself
instead. For example, you can say to yourself, “I have never loved my body, but
I have always liked my sense of humor. (Remember, a good sense of humor is
powerful in attracting dates.)
Do some activity that
is good for your body at least once per week.
Ideally, you will work out (high aerobic activities) or
engage in another physical activity (yoga, Pilates, dance) several days per
week. But if that’s not who you are now – and it’s not going to be you anytime
soon - at least force yourself to do something good for your body once per
week. Working on your body or trying an activity that helps balance your mind
and mood is extremely crucial in helping you to feel more confident.
Avoid spending too
much time with people in your life who feel negative about themselves.
The people around us influence us every single day. If you
have a friend or family member who is a Negative Nancy or a Sour-Puss Paul
(that last one I made up, you can probably tell), that person often feels
negative and they can bring you down with them. If you want to become more
self-confident, hang out with others who feel positive about themselves and
hopeful about the future. Spend time with people who build you up and make you
feel good and positive. Make a mental note to spend a little more time with the
people in your life who seem happy and healthy, and they will instantly start
rubbing off on you.
Getting more organized in your life is a highly underestimated
virtue. When your bedroom, closet, car and overall home are organized, for
example, you feel like you have control over your life and you feel that things
overall are manageable. Everyone – myself included – could take on some project
in the next week to become more organized (say, dealing with a messy closet or
garage). If you take on such a project and actually complete it, you already
know exactly how you will feel afterward. When you think about it that way, why
would you wait for a chance to feel better about yourself and your ability to
manage things in your life? Plus, when you do have a new date in your car or in
your home, your date will feel better about you if it looks you have your
I often tell my readers that getting a self-help book to
deal with an issue is helpful and often even necessary to fix an emotional or
behavioral problem. When it comes to self-confidence, however, you don’t need
to spend ten or twenty dollars on a book. We all know exactly what we need to
do to feel better about ourselves. It’s painfully simple, and only requires
that you actually take the plunge and start putting healthy thoughts into
action. Exercise, eat healthy stuff, hang out with positive people, get control
over the messes in your life, and don’t say negative things about yourself. If
you truly are committed to improving your self-confidence, you can notice a
real change in a matter of three or four weeks if you stick with it and remain
disciplined about a healthier, more positive lifestyle!
Has anyone ever told you that you’re too needy in relationships? Have you ever felt like you’re too needy? Self-disclosure alert: this is a problem I used to have, so I know it well. In the past, I had relationships where I felt like I was always dependent and needy. Thankfully, I got therapy early in my adult life –starting at age 24 – so that I could correct the emotional problems I was dealing with. But if you feel needy and you’re already in your 30s or 40s, or even older, it is never too late to set out on a course to change. Neediness is something that you can totally change, though it will take time and lots of effort. Are you willing to do the work? To begin, let’s start with some questions and then we’ll move to what you can do to make your life different.
Do you worry how much the person you’re dating likes you?
Most people don’t overthink this issue. Their thinking goes like this: I don’t need to worry if they like me because they wouldn’t still be with me if they didn’t. Needy people fret and worry, and they are
always expecting to be abandoned or shut out.
Do you want to spend almost all of your free time with the person you’re dating?
It’s not normal or healthy to spend all of your free time with the same person. Everyone has different emotional needs, and we all have different kinds of people in our lives to suit the various parts of our personalities. Most people understand that they can’t be the only person to make their date happy, while needy people desperately try to be The Only Person Who Matters.
Do you feel insecure when the person you’re dating wants to go out with their friends and doesn’t include you?
If you want to be savvy and to protect the longevity of your
relationship, never, ever make the person you’re dating feel claustrophobic.
When the person you’re dating tells you they made plans to go out with their
friends, support them and accept it. Needy men and women feel threatened and
insecure in these situations, and the person they’re dating feels frustrated
and overwhelmed when they see this neediness.
Do you try to lock
down the relationship status as soon as possible and make the relationship
monogamous in the first few weeks?
Most people take relationships a little slowly in the
beginning, and this is a healthy and cautious approach. Needy men and women, on
the other hand, live in fear that the person they’re dating will walk away, so
they put pressure on the other person to make the relationship official as soon
as humanly possible. Their thinking suggests that making it monogamous quickly
will make the relationship last, but that doesn’t work so don’t try it!
Do you try too hard
to forecast the future and figure out whether the relationship will last or
It’s normal to think about the future and wonder what the
future of the relationship will be. Will the two of you stay together or will
it end after a few months? Most people wonder about these things from time to
time, but needy men and women can fixate on these questions. They get so caught
up in anticipating the future that they don’t enjoy the relationship or feel
peace of mind from day to day.
How to create a plan
to change if you are too needy
As I mentioned earlier, being too needy was a problem I used
to have. In my teenage and young adult years, I had parts of my self-esteem
that were low. For me, therapy changed my life. But therapy isn’t the only way
to become less needy. If you’re needy, it means that you don’t feel like you
are interesting or appealing enough to attract good partners. It also means
that you aren’t keeping busy and stimulated enough. Aside from therapy,
stimulate your brain and focus your mental energy on self-improvement projects.
Get a couple of self-help books on how to raise your self-esteem and build
confidence; start a new hobby or two to keep yourself interested in the world
around you; do more activities alone (movies, go out to eat) to remind yourself
that you don’t need to wait on anyone else to make you happy; and add a few
things to the calendar to give you something to look forward to (visit a
special restaurant, plan a weekend trip).
The bottom line
The more you like your life overall, the less needy you will
feel. People feel needy because they feel like they are not interesting or
happy enough on their own, and they need someone else to come make them happy.
This is a terribly dependent position to put yourself in, so catch yourself
when you’re doing it and try some of the self-improvement activities I
mentioned above. By setting out on a course to change, you will be focused on
developing yourself and maturing, not on waiting for someone else to fill those
nagging emotional voids.
At lunch recently, a friend invited
another friend to join and that friend talked to us about his dating life.
First, he shared that he never told his girlfriend of five years that he loved
her. Second, he said point-blank, "I don't really show my feelings in a
relationship." It was interesting that he made these comments not in a
I'm-embarrassed-to-tell-you way but rather in a this-is-just-the-way-it-is way.
When clients I work with say something like this, I always ask the following
question: "Is this something you're okay with or something you want to
change?" Because this particular man wasn't my client, I spared him the
psychoanalysis. But the thoughts he shared are important because there are many
other men who are just like him, withholding affection and feelings from their
partner in a relationship.
Women are free to date whom they want, so why would some women put up with a
man who is emotionally withholding? In many cases, women who are drawn to men
like this had an unavailable man in their life early on (father, step-father),
and they seek out unavailable or withholding men because this type of man is familiar
and because this type of man reinforces what she already feels: that she isn't
really worthy of affection or consistent love. Think about the woman I talked
about whose boyfriend didn't say "I love you" for five years. Come to
think of it, when he confided that he had never shared these words at lunch, he
actually smiled. Psychologically, I imagine that this man treated women in this
way as a defense. He feels powerful having the upper hand in his relationships
and believes he will be less likely to get hurt if he doesn't make himself
vulnerable by developing strong feelings.
The "needy" woman
The man who spoke to us at lunch also shared another disturbing consequence of
these unhealthy relationships in which a man is withholding. He talked about how
his girlfriend was "needy" and how he found her neediness
unattractive, causing him to leave her. So, to be clear, here's the
relationship profile: woman dates man for five years; man never says "I
love you" and withholds feelings and affection; man disrespects and has
contempt for woman; and man finally leaves woman. How sad for that poor woman!
Without even knowing the woman's name, I guarantee you that some other man in
her past - probably a father figure - messed up her self-esteem. Some other man
taught her that she should never expect much from a relationship, and that she
ought to appreciate whatever morsels of love or affection she can get. The
reason that woman stayed with that man for five years: she was settling for
whatever morsels she could get. Plus, she was probably also living in a fantasy
world in which she was hoping that he would one day change. (Let's all vomit
Can the withholding man really change?
Reality check: a grown man who withholds affection and won't make himself
emotionally vulnerable is not going to change unless he has a major life
crisis; works on his issues by reading, writing, and asking for help; or he
gets months or even years of good psychotherapy. The poor woman who dated the
man I had lunch with was waiting in vain - for years. Imagine how she must have
felt after waiting for him to change for so many years and then later being
dumped. Everything about the relationship for her was lose-lose. She wasn't
happy in the relationship because her most basic emotional needs weren't being
met, and then she wasn't happy when it ended it because she was discarded. By
the end of the relationship, the woman's self-esteem must have been even lower
than it was when she started the relationship.
One of the techniques I use in psychotherapy is to ask my clients to think
about a certain issue from the perspective of their own hypothetical child. For
example, in this case, I would talk to the woman who was broken up with and ask
her the following question: "If you had a teenage daughter and she told
you that her boyfriend never told her outright that he likes her, what would
you say to her?" For some men and women, it's hard for them to feel
empathy for themselves, but they can access that empathy if they imagine how
they would feel if the same thing happened to their child. Let's agree to set
this goal: We will all work to protect our own feelings as much as we would
protect the feelings of a young child.
Drawing boundaries and minding a
timeline when dating withholding men
If you find a guy you want to date, give him a chance. Look for patterns early
on, and ask yourself if he treats you well enough and gives you what you need
from the relationship. Does he give you meaningful compliments? Does he tell
you he likes or loves you? Does he share his feelings and convince you what
about you he likes and admires? Does he need you enough? Remember, for a
relationship to be successful, both partners need to feel needed. If you have
been dating someone for a month or two and you have the sense that he is
holding back or not sharing himself enough emotionally with you, you need to
have a talk with him. Tell him what needs you have that are not getting met;
tell him you need him to meet these needs on a consistent basis going forward;
and make a mental note to give him another month or two to see if he values and
needs you enough that he is willing to change his behavior. If he doesn't make
the required changes, think about the woman I talked about who was broken up
with after five years and ask yourself how many years of your life you're
prepared to lose to someone who doesn’t value enough to try to change.