When a partner can’t meet your needs but also claims that you’re impatient, pushy, needy or difficult, they essentially want you to OK their lack of investment in the relationship. At the very least, they want you to reframe unmet needs and potential incompatibility as a fault of your perception of things. When your needs or dissatisfaction with the status quo are framed as impatience, etc., though, there’s this implication of greediness and ingratitude. Sure, maybe up to this point, you could have blamed what you were feeling and experiencing on umpteen other things. However, claiming you’re impatient, needy or whatever, reveals the truth. It shows you how they feel about meeting the needs of the relationship.
They’ve also shown you how they deal with communication, conflict and criticism—by attacking your right to question things or avoiding these altogether. And if you were to continue, the situation would meet their needs at your expense.
When a partner isn’t meeting your needs despite getting off to what seemed like a great start or the attraction, chemistry or shared interests, it’s easy to second-guess yourself. What if I’m ballsing this up and I just need to give them more time? Maybe I’m crazy to let this go when we have great chemistry.
Here’s the thing: If you’re don’t share core values and your emotional needs aren’t met by the relationship, all the chemistry and shared interests in the world won’t save it.
In fact, if you have so much in common and yet the relationship isn’t working, it’s because whatever you value doesn’t meet your emotional needs. The relationship doesn’t represent enough of your core values.
If you want a committed, loving relationship, and they don’t, or they’re seeing this as something ‘out there’ in the future that you earn after they’ve decided you’ve performed well enough for them to show up, the relationship isn’t going to work. Whatever you had going on in the beginning, their efforts are diminishing. This is always a code red alert that something is very off.
You’re not being pushy, impatient or needy when you are honest about who you are and what you need and want; you’re taking responsibility. It’s intimacy.
What are you supposed to be patient about? You’re not waiting for an Amazon parcel to arrive! It’s a flippin’ relationship that you’re both in right now.
It’s not as if they’ve told you that they’ve got a big surprise for you and that you’re chasing them up. Where is it? Where is it? Um, no. What did they think this was? Were they just hoping that you’d say nothing when their lack of availability became apparent? Sure, that would only make you emotionally unavailable and avoiding intimacy too.
Blame might say, I am pushy and impatient.
They’re a very busy person and have their own issues. The last thing they need is me on their case about what’s happening. Their behaviour’s my fault. Maybe if I hadn’t slept with them or I’d just kept my mouth shut, they would have given me what I want.
Responsibility might say, The decision to stay or go in this relationship is my responsibility.
If I’m sitting at home wondering why I’m not hearing from this person and feeling hurt and resentful that their efforts are diminishing, I need to check myself. If this relationship feels casual and I’m feeling used, it stands to reason that my life could be better. I could stop blocking myself from being open to someone who is ready to step up and stop being passive about my needs.
What can I do to improve my situation and make me happier? Well, I know that I can’t change them, but I can opt out of this relationship. I can own my right to not only take care of myself but to choose the type of partner I want to be with. No one has the right to tell me what I should be OK with. I need to own my right to choose what is and isn’t OK for me.
This is a relationship. The truth is, when a partner claims that you’re pushy, impatient, etc., it’s shorthand for they’re not in the same space as you.
You don’t need to need, want or expect less, and you don’t need to ‘try harder’ or be more ‘worthy. It’s not an impatience thing; it’s incompatibility. If you accept a lesser relationship, you will resent them when they do even less than they do now. You’ll resent them for pussyfooting around them while feeling that they’re getting the relationship on their terms. When you feel crappy about accepting less than mutual love, care, trust and respect or a shared direction, you’ll feel robbed and used.
And if they continue in this relationship, they’ll resent you for the pressure that comes from knowing that they’ve put something off. You know, like when you lie to get an extension on a deadline or gaslight people to distract from the real issue.
They’ll resent knowing that they have to make a decision at some point. And, ironically, they’ll resent feeling as if they’re responsible for you feeling how you do in a less than fulfilling relationship. It’s like Why can’t you just accept the lack of intimacy, commitment and progression and smile about it? They might even resent you for ‘allowing’ them to be less than a loving partner, less than their best self. I know, I know. You can’t do right for doing wrong. You give people a pass to let their less-than-loving and best self hang out, and you end up being a reminder of what they dislike about themselves.
I know, I know. When we get down to it, us humans are contrary mofos! We want the fantasy of our Idealised Self without the work (or sometimes the consequences). We want to get away with murder without having to think about it or see the evidence of our actions.
Fact is, people who are coming from the same place as you don’t call the things you both need and want a problem. You can’t co-create a mutually fulfilling loving relationship with them because they don’t value similar things. And that’s OK. That’s their needs, not yours. Ultimately, you have to advocate for and meet your needs in environments and relationships that allow you to.
Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to “please” or protect yourself from others? My new book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (HarperCollins/Harper Horizon), is out now.