How Do You Tell Him Your Needs Without Appearing ... Needy?

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In my last post, I talked about Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find — and Keep — Love,, the new book by psychiatrist Amir Levine and social psychologist Rachel Heller, and gave you their explanation of why playing hard to get is such a bad idea.

In fact, they insist that doing the very opposite of playing hard to get — i.e. expressing your needs early on — is crucial if you want to find a good match.

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When I read that, I wondered: But how early on should we be expressing our needs? I think many of us hesitate to put them on the table because we fear our needs are over-the-top or extreme and that if we express our needs we might come off as ... needy.

So I asked the authors: Is there any way to distinguish between needs that are appropriate and needs that will make us seem neurotic?

They said:

"By expressing needs, we don't mean showing up on your first date with the guest-list for your wedding. What we mean is that when issues arise, you should bring them up. For example: You probably don't want him to introduce you to his family or friends after the second date, but if you've been seeing each other for some time and you haven't met anyone else in his life, it's definitely okay to ask to do so. It doesn't have to come from a place of weakness: You could say: 'I'm really enjoying our time together and I want to get to know you even more, and part of that is getting to know your friends and family.'"

(How long is "some time," you might be wondering? I think that after the one-month mark and before the two-month mark, it's reasonable to expect to meet at least one of a guy's friends. Family is another matter, and it depends on how often the guy sees his folks or siblings himself.)

The authors continue:

"From the very get-go, however, you should expect someone to be consistent in calling you back and following up after a date. If he doesn't, it's a big warning sign. The best thing to do is to bring up the topic or to walk away. But never continue without addressing the issue. If you stay silent, you are basically consenting to being treated badly. This is not a good message. You don't have to say: 'Why didn't you call me?' You can say: 'It's important to me that the people in my life are responsive, and that they call or text back and follow up with me.'"

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