Bad Story of the Week: Needy Guy Strangles Relationship


I get the most feedback on hitting the brakes on the relationship talk.

The one post I get more feedback on than almost any other is this one: hitting the brakes on the relationship talk. Because we’ve all had to check ourselves on this, since we all have the urge to just “know” what’s going on—often, far too early in a relationship. And the problem is that when you endeavor to have The Talk really early, you’re trying to classify a thing as you create it in a way that sometimes limits its growth and exploratory nature (which is what dating is for, after all).

It’s the same reason why it would not help for an editor to stand over my shoulder while I write this draft. Because you have to let yourself get into the flow of a thing before you can start fixing and affixing (names, titles, etc).

Women are often seen as the needier sex, but this isn’t just a lady problem. Yet, often men jump the gun too, to their detriment.

Now, true bad story of the week, told by reader Elizabeth, about how a guy she genuinely liked turned around and ruined everything. I highlighted the best parts.

Letter from Elizabeth:

“…I just left a short-lived relationship after 4 months. I hesitate to say 4 months, because about 1 month in, The Talk happened–that the guy initiated. And yes, I had been counting my time with the hapless fellow since that point.

The Talk happened one night when he was drunk and accused me of not liking him and much as he liked me. It floored me. I thought things were going great. Apparently in this month he felt that I was not acting like a good enough girlfriend: my texts were not frequent enough, not affectionate enough (I’m not a texter), and he wanted to see me more (I go to school and work full time).

I was angry, and turned off as this drunk, whiny, needy guy was telling me apparently how awful I could be to someone in 1 month–despite the amazing chemistry, despite MY initiation of dates, my creativity, and all the effort I made to be real, and treat him with respect. He needed to know I missed him, more. I couldn’t be MIA on him for 6 hours–I had to let him know he mattered by doing everything possible to contact him in those long stretches of time.

I let him know that he might be expecting me to act like another person/old gf, and that I felt things were moving too fast… I spent time letting him know what he wanted was fine, but he might need to find that with someone else, not me. He insisted “no guy will ask for anything different,” and that if I didn’t want to try, I must not want a relationship.

The Talk lasted the next 3 days…Every sentence coming out of his mouth was “a relationship is, it isn’t, in a relationship you should, you shouldn’t.”  I didn’t apologize for his perception of how I wasn’t living up to his ideals. The Talk didn’t things better, or reassure him, or solidify my feelings for him. It actually served to make things less clear with where we stood with one another. He was passive aggressive, pushy, intense, and needy. He amped it up, telling me he loved me multiple times, expecting a reply. I clearly did not say it back. He insisted I was a coward when it came to love and tried, when we were intimate, to get me to say I loved him. Creepy!

The more he pushed me, the less I liked him or “what we had,” which was apparently something really special that I was throwing away. He told me people who love each other can only think about each other, were each other’s best friend, and constantly missed each other. Okay, buddy, maybe that’s your ideal of love. I made excuses to not see him. It took me three tries to break up with him, but eventually he accepted this and broke up with me (try number 4) and proceeded to send me a facebook message about how I “failed” and was a “coward when it comes to love.”



Well, as you can see, this guy f’d things up pretty badly. And fact is, if he’d been willing to release his white-knuckled grip on his “rules” about relationship and stopped trying to correct her “performance” as a girlfriend…he might have kept a girlfriend! But it’s easy to see this guy was threatened by the fact that she wasn’t needy enough. This man experienced what you have and I have—the need to feel needed. Now, they may just straight-up not be a match (you think?) but even through this brief aperture, you can see what made this go very, very wrong.

(Tip: Don’t initiate The Talk while intoxicated.)

When the time is right, two people interested in being in a committed relationship must absolutely talk about it. But if you’re correcting, berating, and complaining within a month, you’re essentially strangling your relationship to death. The only mistake this woman made was not getting out earlier.


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