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How to cope with a needy husband


New Member
I've been married for nearly two years and as the days and months go by I find myself becoming more and more disenchanted with my mate because of his neediness, clinging and his wanting to be with my 24/7. He seems not to understand space, boundaries, differences between personalty types and women. He has never had a relationship (until our marriage) and I think that his high neediness is due to this.

I'd love to hear from others in terms of how to cope with this type of situation/relationship.


still nobody's bitch
Does he have his own hobbies and interests? I would encourage him to do something he enjoys doing by himself.

How old are you guys? Are you roughly the same age? How long were you together before you got married?

Oh and welcome to GF, by the way!


Registered Member
+1 On Jeanie (which is usually standard, lol), and welcome!

This will take some emotional detective work, as you'll have to pin down the root cause before you can properly approach it.

FIRST and foremost, have you raised your concerns to him? Open communication (with measured language and respect for perspectives) does wonders and can sometimes work things out on their own. It's a two-way street and he'll likely feel upset if you implement counter-measures without having spoken to him about your concerns. You might get the, "This all just came out of no-where" line.

I've found that over-neediness sometimes arises when a mate feels or "thinks" they are missing something that they aren't getting. It's analogous to eating when one is depressed; one's trying to "fill" a void with a supplemental element. He might allude to this. Does he repeat any phrases about loneliness? Also, does he make you seem at fault?

A man or woman can be polar opposites in two different relationships--it often just depends upon the "chemical" combinations of each partner. If he's never been in a relationship before being with you, it might be insecurity.

Here's a good example:
I was in a serious relationship a couple years ago with one girl and (admittedly) I was a little over-needy. In that relationship, I wanted to go everywhere with her and spend all my time with her because I felt insecure with the certainty of the relationship. This past year I was in another very serious relationship, but I felt so "certain" of the strength of the relationship that I didn't feel that thirst for attention--it felt like she was always with me.

Does he seem to feel "afraid" to leave your side? Is he a social introvert whereas you're an extrovert? What is your normal week like with him? Here's that important one again: are there any phrases he constantly repeats pertaining to you and your relationship with him?

It's never too late to have a sit-down and discuss what you both feel a "healthy" relationship is. Here's a good exercise on that: have each of you write down (with no word-count limit) what you personally feel a healthy relationship is/should be and then exchange those pages to read. This keeps one person from "modifying" their definition after hearing the other person speak, for fear of judgment, criticism, or the infliction of guilt/pain on the other. Remember, DO NOT FOCUS ON WHAT A RELATIONSHIP "SHOULD NOT" BE! This is meant to be a positive experience, thus focus on the positive. You don't want either of you to feel picked-apart.


Registered Member
Needy is usually a result of insecure. He is unsure if he'a attractive enough, or funny enough, or smart enough, or or or or etc. There's worry he'll lose you. Having you ever present is the only way to guarantee you won't be drawn away. Likely he's very concerned that the outside world will offer you much better than what he can give.

Something I would say to him is that he needs to build up confidence. Like maybe taking a martial art, or a sport team, or a class. Those are activities that provide feedback and results and are goals. He might combine it with some therapy too. I'm sure he can hardly stand this about himself. It's annoying and hard to respect.

Another thing you can do while he develops is to make his world very predictable. Insecure people need to know what to expect and what they can rely on. Ambiguity is their enemy! So take your time away doing your own thing, but say you'll "return at 7pm, have some dinner, and watch Blue Bloods on TV". He needs to know you want to come back, and that you want to spend time with him.


New Member
Wow! Guys, thanks for the replies.

I am 42 and my mate is 38. We knew each other six months or so before we married. I honestly believed I had met the "one".

He likes music, concerts, reading and taking walks. Obviously, he wants to do all these things with me. But, we don't like the same music or books. He reads mostly Catholic writings about saints, miracles, etc. I like mysteries and psychological thrillers.

He does not have other hobbies. When his friends invite him to go out, he wants me to go out with them. He doesn't understand that I do not consider his friends to be my friends and sometimes wish not to go out with them. We usually argue about this.

I moved to Europe from the USA to be with him and so I don't have any friends. I am on this forum to have something and to belong to something apart from my mate.

I have tried to express to him that I am unlike him and that I am a free spirit, an introvert, and I am the sort of person who walks to the beat of her own drum. These are things that he does not understand. He does not understand the concept of being by myself.

He'd like me to be dependent on him and turn to him for advice. He feels rejected and hurt if I don't want to cuddle or hold hands. He will sulk for hours and days if he feels slighted and rejected by me. I find it hard to express that I want to sleep instead of cuddling. I am grumpy in the mornings (never mean) and he doesn't understand that I am not in the mood to talk or anything else in the mornings.

I have tried mentioning therapy but he says that therapists believe in giving a pill for everything and that he will go to therapy as a favor to me. This concerns me because therapy is not only for me but for both of us. He does not believe that he has a problem even though he's a cutter.

My solution at the moment is to spend as much time away from him and to not allow his sulking and silent treatment to bother me just because I won't hold hands or hug.

My sister (a social worker) has suggested a trial separation. But, I believe that if I leave, I will not come back to him.

Finally, I am not a good communicator and I do not know how to approach these issues.


needs practice
He sounds very needy. Unhealthily needy--which is surprising in my opinion...excuse my ignorance sexism but in my experiences/observations the behavior you described is much more likened to a female.

Like everyone else said, the relationship is two way, and even if you're not a good communicator you must be strides to express the situation to him. I hope things work out, but if you're having these problems about being the couple you are--separation might be the answer for now...


New Member
Zenheizer: You make valid points. I too believe he is unhealthy needy and I absolutely agree that his behavior is likened to a woman. I believe this because his only female interaction that has been long term is his mother. He's never had a relationship until now with me. He also does not have any male buddies he hangs with. His father is very sick (has been for a long time) and so he's not a support system either. Essentially, what I have on my hands is a man who appears to have the emotional stability of a teenager, a man who is inexperienced in both life and with relationships, has no network of friends (or family) or a support system of any kind and resorts to cutting himself when things are too tough.


still nobody's bitch
I'm sorry to say this, but it sounds like you're not a very good match for each other. If you think that you wouldn't go back to him after a trial separation, what is keeping you there now? Not to sound like I'm encouraging you to leave, but there must be some reason that you decided to marry him. Maybe you two could build on your strengths, then if and when he feels more secure, tackle the more serious issues.


/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
(dang I typed a long response and it's gone)

Needy is a relative thing sometimes. What you define as being needy right now may just be what others need from their partners (and that if they do anything less, they'd feel that their partners aren't attentive enough or involved with them). So I can imagine why your husband thinks there's nothing wrong with what he is doing (and if ever, it might even be his way of saying that it is what he wants from you, to make him more involved in your own activities the way he is trying to do with you).

What either of you wants is not necessarily wrong, but you're in a relationship and you have to complement each other. You need to find a point of compromise, and not just think of your own needs. Taking a break right now might not be the solution. It will just temporarily fulfill your need of freedom but when you go back, it'll be the same situation. Him on the other hand might interpret it as you just going through a phase and after the break, you will go back to accepting the situation as it is currently. Both of you might think it's a fix but really what you both need is to sit down and talk about this
(what he's making you feel, and ask what you make him feel), redefine boundaries, and talk about consequences. Work from that first and give it a try.
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