When I was a teenager I liked a boy and kept it hidden away. Finally I got the courage to tell him. I still remember the day. It was a carefree springtime.
I don’t remember what I wrote in the note but I remember how I folded it up. With each fold my heart swelled with anticipation. I slipped it into his locker and went through the day excited and hopeful. Later we transitioned to English class. He stood in the hallway but wouldn’t make eye contact.
I waited. The feeling of heaviness and dread got thicker. I could sense it was time to go into class but I didn’t want to go in yet.
Finally, he walked up.
“Did you get my note?”
“What did you think?”
He looked me in the eyes and dropped his voice.
“I want to be friends and nothing more.”
His words reverberated in my ears. He walked into class and I waited and followed behind him. In class, my eyes were dry but my heart ached. I watched him carry on with his friends like nothing happened.
This was a defining moment because a need I had was left unmet.
Abraham Maslow an American psychologist created a classification system to reflect 5 main categories of human needs (1) being most fundamental:
(1) Physiological : food, water, rest, sex
(2) Safety: safety, security
(3) Belonging & love: intimate relationships, friends
(4) Esteem: self-esteem, prestige
(5) Self-actualization: achieving one's full potential
While you can experience all of these levels of needs it's more likely you have one or two dominant needs that you long to have met over and over again.
I have only been as needy as my unmet needs. Mine are belonging and love as well as self-esteem. When I realized this things became a lot easier in dating and relationships.
To determine your dominant need try this:
Look back over your lifetime and think about the dominant need that drives you today in love and dating. You can focus on a need that emerged from an overall pattern of experiences or on a single experience that really impacted and defined you. Once you do this you can begin to heal it by giving yourself compassion, learning to meet your own first and practicing interdependence in relationship.