I need to feel needed
I need to feel needed. I wanted to know that Doug needed me and that life also stopped for him when I wasn’t here.

I was working in the yard the other day when a neighbor stopped by to relay the exciting news that he had just become a grandpa for the first time.  He gave me all the details then talked about how his wife will be away for three weeks to help take care of their daughter and new grand baby.  He appeared so sad when he talked about her absence and how much he missed her.  He said he told her that his life stops when she is away.

I just embraced the sweetness of that statement and it brought tears to my eyes.  I wondered to myself if Doug would ever think, much less make a statement like that.

Actually it appears to be quite the opposite during the rare time that I am away.  It seems life doesn’t really stop for Doug while I’m gone but pretty much goes on as usual or maybe a little bit more exciting than when I am around.

I had to go out of town a month or so ago and Doug went to some friend’s house to a party to watch fireworks.  For some reason it really upset me.  Then a couple of weekends ago I was supposed to go out of town for a wedding but some things happened to derail those plans at the last minute.  However, Doug had already made plans with two of our couple friends to attend a concert as a fifth wheel, which also really upset me.

I really couldn’t put a finger on why I was so upset, because it wasn’t a trust issue and I want him to have a good time.  However, when I reflected on what our neighbor had said, I think it sparked the answer… I need to feel needed.  I wanted to know that Doug needed me and that life also stopped for him when I wasn’t here.  I wanted to know that he was affected by my absence.

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Sure he says that he misses me and all that when I’m away, but I realized that through the years it was very apparent that if I was away or busy he was fine without me.  I felt like my presence was not missed.  He was very independent and would find something to do in my absence.

Because of this I began to believe that Doug didn’t really have any needs that I could provide.  That he was fine without me.  Of course, his emotional affair definitely projected that idea to me.

We had a discussion about all of this that same day and he said that it wasn’t something that he did consciously.  But obviously there are so many behaviors that we all have that have been ingrained in us since our childhood that we just do them without thinking about it, and may not even be aware that we are doing them.

It made me think about a conversation we had recently about his childhood and how different he is from the rest of his family.  I asked him how he handled those differences and he replied that he pretty much just did his own thing.  Sure, his parents were good parents, they loved him very much and had expectations of him, but he really didn’t hang out with them.  He was always off with his friends, playing sports and having a good time.

I suppose these behaviors carried on to adulthood  with his believing that he really didn’t need anyone to take care of him to meet his needs and that he could do that all by himself.  The problem was he did need others and obviously there was a void because of it.  I am not a therapist, but I believe he was afraid to be vulnerable and allow someone to believe that he needed them.

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I hope this is something that we will be able to explore in our next therapy session.  I feel that I may have unlocked a door to some kind of revelation.  I have constantly questioned him and myself about his needs and how I can effectively meet them.  It may be that he was too afraid to receive the love that I offered.

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    20 replies to "I Need to Feel Needed"

    • Teresa

      Linda, have you read the book “How We Love” by Milan and Kay Yerkovich? It really helped me to better understand my H and his “love style”. There’s also a online test that just takes a few minutes…my H sounds a lot like Doug, and my H is an Avoider. They are quite content to be alone, which sucks for their spouse, let me tell you!
      I know what you mean though about wanting life to not go on as “normal” for Doug when you’re not able to be there…same here!
      We want to feel special, needed, so loved, that we KNOW that we are a part of them, just as they are a part of us, and when we are gone either for an hour or a day….they MISS us!!
      I understand completely! ~sigh~

    • Gizfield

      I will say this, from personal experience, my first husband was one of the “needy” men and it is horrible!! Maybe not in all instances but I did not like it. he made such a big deal when I went anywhere that I just eventually quit going. One thing I like about my current husband is that he has a full schedule, and that he can entertain himself (within reason, of course).

    • Recovering

      My husband was always needy… at least until he stopped needing ME! Then he was cruel and mean and basically in love with himself. I don’t think there was room for him to love the whore… he just loved his ego stroking. All in all, it has let me vent, but beyond that, I don’t think that it has helped. I will never understand how he (or Doug, or ANY cheater) could do such a thing to the person that they supposedly love. No book on earth, nor any chatroom or message board will ever make me understand my husband’s choice to be so cruel and evil and sick. I will never forgive him, and not a million discussions about forgiveness and moving on will ever change that. Time is the only thing that will help me, I have come to realize, and my husband being accountable and transparent. Even this won’t help totally heal me… I will always have the wound… I will probably always look at him and wonder… I will probably always have good days where I think I am getting past it, and horrible days where I just want to drink myself into a stupor… hopefully the good will outnumber the bad, and eventually this horrid period of my life will seem like a disturbing nightmare from long ago…. Being on here reopens every insecurity, every pain, every piece of anger that I ever had… Stroking the fire, as it may be… I am done. I cannot control him, nor do I want to! I don’t deserve what he did to me, and no amount of blogging and reading will stop him if he is going to do it again. There will never be full trust, nor should there be, and it SUCKS. I will always love my husband in a different way than before, and I will probably always hate myself a little for staying… Is what it is, and it is time to say goodbye and FINALLY try to move on…

    • Gizfield

      Recovering, I’m not trying to get in your business but do you mean you are done with him and your marriage, or with the website and the postings? Just want to make sure you’ re alright. People do care about you, I hope you know that! Take care. And, yes, your average cheater is about as self centeredas you can get. It’s part of the job description.

      • Recovering

        Gizfield,

        I am done on all cheating sites, including this one. I have found that they are just making me dwell on the issue and not really helping. I have read enough, done enough… I am done DOING I guess. Am just tired of trying so hard to fix something that I didn’t do, and that I didn’t have anything to do with. I am tired of this consuming my day and interrupting my work. I am tired of letting him being a cheater drag me down anymore. There isn’t anything I can do to stop him from cheating again. Period. I can work on US until my face turns blue, and put him first until I have NOTHING left to give… I am tired. I am tired of worrying about him going to work, about what he is doing while he is at work, tired of researching cheating and if I will ever start to feel somewhat normal again… I am tired. I am also tired of all of the damn excuses from cheaters that they try to give as “reasons” and all of the “Reasons Men Cheat” crap on the internet. Men cheat because they are immoral asses who care about themselves and need the ego trip. They are selfish children who can’t deal with real life. I am not his mommy and I am tired of worrying. I was invited out for a a girls night (just dinner with my friends, who I haven’t seen in over a YEAR because I closed myself off) and I was afraid to say yes because I don’t know what he will do. I mean, I know he will be at home with the kids, but I don’t know that he won’t resent me going out when he can’t anymore… I am tired. I love my husband! I love him, but I can’t feel like crap all of the time anymore! I can’t sit around worrying if he loves me or not, when he clearly showed me that he didn’t. I think I am finally seeing the truth, and it sucks, and now it’s time to face up and see where it all goes and deal and stop running away looking for answers on the internet that I will never find. He cheated. I didn’t deserve it and I didn’t do anything to make him. He chose to be a bastard. If he choses to do it again, then he does. I am tired of always getting upset when mushy movies are on, and tired of worrying that she has contacted him or vice versa. I am tired… and nothing is helping… and I don’t want to live like this anymore. I appreciate your caring! I do! I know you have been on both sides… I am just tired of it all. She can have him if he wants… so be it…. Not sweeping it under the rug, just not making it the foremost part of my life anymore. I married a cheater. I am embarrassed and ashamed. I hate myself for that, regardless that he is totally at fault. I am the one who lives with the pictures of them having sex in my head. I am the one who can barely enjoy my time with him now… I just need to move on in some way, and getting off of the internet seems like the best move… Thank you for all of your support!! :+)

        • Anita

          Recovering,
          I do understand your level of frustration.
          I want to bring a different view or angle to you, it may not
          erase the pain your feeling right now, but it may help you
          to endure.
          In my own healing I had to look up and take a look around
          at other people, and when I did that I realized something,
          I realized that in almost everyone’s life in one shape or form
          or another, all our lives are touched by some kind of trial.
          It could be a mother who has a child dying of a horrible
          diease, it could be a the person themselves battling a diease or tornadoe wiped out your home, and killed some
          of your family neighbors and friends. They’re are even more sad situations.
          I know right now your upset and you feel the betrayel of this
          all, however don’t let that betrayel eat away at you, the only
          thing that I know works, is forgiving them, I know you do
          not want to hear that, but it works.
          I have always learned that we overcome evil with good,
          and let God do his own vengeance. I know this is hard, however that’s whats needed to endure and preserve. Put this in God’s hands and you live with the trust that God will bring good from all this.

          • Anita

            Recovering,
            Your right, you have no control over the choices your husband makes. You have control over your own choices and how you handle them.
            I remember 2 occasions in my life when I hurt the most, one was the loss of my parents and the other was my
            divorce. Both were painful in their own way, but somehow
            that pain doesn’t last forever, I grieved my losses and each day took me further away from the pain. In each case when
            my parents passed and my divorce, all I could think about
            in the beginning was the loss, however as time when on
            I would find that I didn’t think about the loss for 1/2 a day,
            then pretty soon it was a full day, then it was 2 days, pretty
            soon a week would pass and then 2 or 3 weeks would.
            However there are always reminders, but you get use
            to them and it doesn’t bother you and more.
            Your life will always have the past, however we don’t have
            to life in the past. Its the past and the memories of the good and bad will always be there, but you live for today.
            This is only a season in your life and the pain of it will
            pass, however if forgiveness is needed, we need to do
            that also, so it doesn’t eat away at you. Forgiveness is for
            you, its for your own health and well being.

            • rachel

              Anita,
              You give me hope.

            • Anita

              Hi Rachel,
              I know this is a difficult time for you, however it does get better over time. Its a process, your going through the hardest part now.
              It takes time to establish a new routine and life for yourself.
              Take Care of yourself.

        • WA_Betrayed

          Ah Recovering…I feel for you! It’s been 4+ years for me (found out December, 2008) and I can still get so spun up. I’ve always loved him, but now I also hate him a bit too. Even after all he has done to apologize and make it up to me. Hard to reconcile the two, and I also will never forgive. That he carelessly and callously tossed me aside is a tough pill to swallow, but now I know the only person I can rely on to look out for me…is me. Not that I’m not capable of taking care of myself, but I just thought we had something special, and I guess we don’t.

    • Gizfield

      Thanks, Recovering, for the info. I think you are making a good decision to avoid Cheating sites for a while, possibly for good. I had been signed up for some email newsletters for a long time and one day just had to get off them one day because it was bringing me down! I even stayed off here a long time, but I am trying to work things out in my mind and writing them is really helping. Also, since I am a long time reformed cheater (almost 20 years ago) I hope I can st least help people know real reform is possible. I do think the average cheater is too lenient on themself, not too harsh. I can only see that from being out of the situation for a long time. I agree, there are NO valid reasons for cheating, and there are no exceptions. If every person could get that concept, they could probably make amazing progess in their Marriage. It’s a weird day for me, it would have been my late first husband’s 63rd birthday. He died when he was 49, just a few weeks before the 50th birthday he so dreaded. All I know is that there are no answers for some things. When I married him 28 years ago, I thought he was my soul mate and the person I would always be with. That went horribly wrong, but I have learned there is no one person I can’t live without. I just am trying not to get hung up on stuff I can’t control. When I see people talk about No Contact, I’m like “really?” Do you know how easy it is to get email accounts, secret phones, smoke signals, who knows? They just get better at hiding stuff, and like you, I dont have time to be a grown man’s momma. I dont ever talk to him about this stuff, we have talked it to death!! Ugh. I know everything I ever need to know about his girlfriend, she is just one more nasty cheater, just like him, just like I used to be. Nothing novel, at all. I wish you well. There is LIGHT at the end of the tunnel for us all!!!

    • Gizfield

      Oh, and dont forget Skype and Twitter ! I will miss you Recovering, I think we share a lot of the same general outlook…

    • ChangedForever

      I can relate to Recovering…this new
      ‘Life’ sucks, but somehow, you have to go on…for your children, for those who count on you…for yourself. Recovering, i will not be a hypocrite and sugar coat anything. I too am the victim of my H’s PA. And part of me will always hate him for that…no matter what level of ‘healing’ i attain. But i, too, still hang in there.
      The suffering (on again, off again,) is the worst. There will always be a trigger waiting for me…somewhere.
      But i have to make the best of the rest of my life. Maybe after more time goes by ( so they say.)
      You do too. In your own way, in your own time. Whatever it takes. There is a Take Back Your Life retreat coming up in September, then another in November. Check out Anne Bercht’s Beyond Affairs website. I’m hoping this will help me. Maybe I’ll see you there.
      Always looking for hope…i wish the same for you.
      Best to you on this journey,
      ChangedForever
      22 mths from DDay #1

    • Surviving

      Linda,
      Did you feel this way before the EA?

      Before the EA I always encouraged my H to go with his friends to sporting events, boating or business meetings.

      After the EA unless it includes me I’m not comfortable I trust him it’s the triggers…. During those times he was texting her or she attended same events.

    • Surviving

      Recovering,
      Yesterday I was thinking how do you know when it’s time to leave the sites and go on?

      I will miss your postings I related to almost every word you wrote.

      Take care

    • Gizfield

      I know before the cheating, I was the marriage version of the “cool mom”. No jealousy, no questioning, no stalking, no worries, no stress, lol. Guess he f’d that up, didnt he? Doubt he will ever experience that again. And I want to know, what is up with the texting? She had no body, and I wasn’t around me so whyyyyyy text? Nobody else would even care. I dont get it. they could have been talking but they were emailing they wish they could be talking??? Pick up the damn phone.!

    • chiffchaff

      I can also relate to Recovering’s post, and can get that wound up too if I let myself. It’s hard not to sometimes when you’re suspicion demons take over (like today, as a result of my H turning his phone off overnight now as he says the battery discharges otherwise whereas I am ‘worried’ that it’s actually to stop me looking at it when he’s out. Plausible excuses are a damn nightmare as they were plausible during his affair too).

      I also think, in relation to Linda’s post, that my H is a needy person, or a selfish person when seen in a different light. Yet he’s always chosen partners, me included, who were self-sufficient types. Maybe he liked the challenge of getting independent people to need him, I don’t know. He has frequently said that he needs to be needed at home and at work, if not, he misbehaves. At work that means doing nothing and getting away with it. At its worst that included getting them to pay for a week with his mistress.

    • WriterWife

      I can understand the fear of needing someone — it’s difficult to trust someone else to meet your needs and often it’s easier to learn to rely on yourself. I think I’m often that way. So perhaps that’s why I come at this from a different POV…

      A few days after I found out about my H’s EA, I was talking to his brother (who was the BS in his own marriage) who said that so often people feel that a spouse should fulfill 100% of their needs when in reality it’s probably healthier if that number were closer to 80%.

      At the time I balked at this — I wanted 100% of my husband. I wanted to be his one and only — I wanted him to need no one else because if he needed me, he couldn’t leave me, right?

      Our marriage counselor uses this analogy for marriages: each spouse is the mayor of their own city and the bridge between the cities is the marriage. But each spouse needs to take care of themselves — they can’t spend all their time and resources on the other city because that neglects their own. And the bridge is all about collaboration: working together as partners.

      I struggled with this analogy because, as I said above, I didn’t want to be that separate from my husband. But more and more I came to accept and embrace this vision of marriage. I’d let my city crumble: I was unhealthy, had stopped making my own decisions, had stopped having an identity outside of my husband and marriage. I was so focused on his city, my own had fallen to pieces.

      I agree with Linda that when I leave town, I don’t want my husband continuing on as though I never existed but I don’t want it to be based on need, I want it to be based on want. “Need” to me feels involuntary — that it’s not his choice how he feels. I prefer that he actively choose to miss me — not because he needs me, but because he wants me.

      Life shouldn’t stop when a spouse is away — to me that sounds unhealthy. And to a certain extent, that places an unreasonable burden on the traveling spouse — I can’t go on business trips that I dearly love because life will stop for my husband? I like that he misses me when I’m gone, but I like that he has a life apart from me as well (though I am still his #1 and priority)

      My understanding from reading Intimacy and Desire by Dr. Schnarch is that it’s impossible for one spouse to provide all the needs of another and attempting to do so leads to difficulties down the road.

    • gracefortoday

      My husband has always been very needy of my time and attention. We met in high school, and he came from a very emotionally cold family. Mine is just the opposite and he thrived in that environment. I think that really became part of the problem over the years. Due to me being in university and then working awhile, we waited until we had been married eight years to have kids. I think as each one came along, and my life got busier and had more demands placed on it, he began to miss the “instant availability” I once had for him. Fast forward to the couple of years before the affair. Our marriage was good, even he says so. But we had a number of big stressors come crashing down on top of us. Losing a parent and nearly losing our business and income, just to name two! We both were tremendously stressed, him with work (sole provider) and me with four active kids, the house and all that entails. Before he knew it, a work friendship and slid some boundaries. This woman had been planning how to catch him (by her words) and the key was attention, and more attention. Build him up, make him feel great about himself. Give him an escape bubble from the stress of screaming children, bills that are getting hard to pay, a stressed out wife. Carefully plant seeds of discontent and the idea that he deserved so much more than he was getting at home! Easy for a single woman with no kids to provide 24/7 attention.
      And he fell for it. Big time. And here we are.

      • Nerimastinga

        This is so true!!! I am with you. My husband escaped busy loud house with three little demanding children, stressed and tired wife to a single older woman who has all the time in the world to give him attention that he says he is craving for. While I was looking after the house, two kids, being pregnant with the third one, doing school runs and also studying at university, he found himself abandoned and found comfort in some other woman. Instead of helping me run our life and make it easier for all of us, he chose to start new relationship, and now I am at fault of not being attentive ? You can’t be much attentive if you just crash out at the end of the day. I have been attentive to him, doing everything I can to look after everyone, but instead of being appreciated and helped, I have been cheated on!!!
        Everyone brags about communication, how men don’t get what they deserve, I don’t buy it, I did not contribute to any of his cheating, it’s just trying to justify his stupidity and lack of morals!!!
        At last I got it out, my frustration, sorry 🙁

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