Today, I respond to a viewer question: “What should one look at within themselves if one tends to attract a very needy girlfriend?”

Read or watch below to learn more about what attracts a very needy girlfriend/boyfriend.

Zachary Stockill: I’ll keep the preamble brief. In today’s video, I’m going to talk about what you should look at within yourself if you find yourself continually attracting very needy kinds of partners. 

I received a really interesting question. Chris writes:

Perhaps you’ve covered this before. But I’d be curious if you have thoughts on what one should look for within themselves if one tends to attract a very needy girlfriend or boyfriend?

The first thing I would say in response to you, Chris, is that if this is a pattern for you, if you keep attracting a very needy girlfriend over and over again… 

If your girlfriend is needy, on some level, she is buying what you are selling. 

girlfriend is needy

Even if it isn’t immediately obvious to you, on some level, you are communicating that you are available to very needy partners.

So the trick for you is to get clear on exactly how you’re communicating that message, even if you don’t necessarily realize it initially. And obviously, this is where working with a great therapist or coach can come in handy. But I would imagine that you aren’t establishing and communicating your boundaries very well with these women. In other words: 

They’re probably asking you to do certain things for them, or they’re probably asking you to spend more time than you would like… 

They’re probably making requests of you, both big and small. And I would imagine you’re probably not as good as you could be at establishing boundaries. And saying very firm “no’s” when they’re making requests of you that you simply don’t want to accommodate. 

So obviously, this can involve things like spending more time together too early on in the relationship. Or maybe bailing them out financially over and over again. Maybe always being available to them every single time, 24/7, whenever they have anything they need from you. The point is: be clear on exactly what kind of person you’re looking for. And, exactly what that kind of person would be interested in. 

For example, if you would like to be with a woman who is a little more independent, and emotionally stable, think hard about what kind of man that kind of woman would like. I would imagine you would agree that independent, emotionally stable women tend to like independent, emotionally stable men. This is just an example. But you get my drift. 

If your girlfriend is neesy, try to establish firmer boundaries, and be clear on exactly what messages you don’t want to be putting out there to the women you’re dating. 

So coming back to this example: if you have things going on, if you have appointments or work, or you’re simply engaged with your friends, whatever, be clear about that when they ask you to spend time together. “You know what, I’m busy that night, but I can see you in three days,” or something like that.

Or if they’re asking you to bail them out financially, and you don’t feel comfortable with that, establish that boundary as early on in the relationship as possible. 

Over the years, I’ve become increasingly efficient at communicating and establishing boundaries as early on in the relationship as possible. So I’m in a relationship right now. But when I was single not so long ago, and exploring different relationships and dating around quite a bit, I became rather polarizing. 

In my early dates with people, I put out my opinions very strongly. And I would introduce hypothetical situations, and ask my date, what do you think about x? And what do you think about y? I’m not afraid to be somewhat polarizing in my dating. I want to put certain messages out there very clearly, that I don’t want my girlfriend to be needy. I don’t want to be with someone who I have to “save” all the time. I’m not looking to save anyone. 

And I think it’s very important to communicate that as early on as possible.

Also, check in with yourself and ask yourself whether there’s some part of you that kind of “gets off” on saving women. 

Do you ever have “white knight” type instincts?

Do you have a bit of a savior complex in you? Is the idea of dashing and rescuing a woman appealing to you? Because it is appealing to a lot of men.

I have strong feelings about this. Because, a lot of these guys fall into nice guy syndrome, where they act like this “nice guy.” And on the surface, they’re chivalrous, and doing all these things for their woman. But there are a lot of unspoken needs and unspoken expectations that the “nice guy” isn’t verbalizing. 

So he’s accommodating his woman’s request, and he’s rescuing her, and he’s saving her. But there’s a deep resentment that’s building up at the same time. And it is 100% his fault because he’s not being aboveboard and communicating his needs, his boundaries, and his desires. So, check in with yourself if that doesn’t sound familiar.

If your girlfriend is needy, maybe you do have a bit of a savior complex. Maybe there is a part of you that finds the idea of saving a woman kind of enticing. 

Also, ask yourself if you’ve ever thought or spoken the phrase “I can change her.”

Because a lot of women do this in their relationships with men, just to kind of generalize a little bit. A lot of women enter relationships with kind of loser guys, with the attitude, “he has all these red flags and terrible qualities, but I can fix them. I can change him.”

girlfriend is needy

Guys do this too, where they’ll get involved with a woman who’s usually very physically attractive and vivacious and the life of the party. Meanwhile, there’s a parade of red flags behind her. And she’s, you know, falling apart all the time. She needs a guy to bail her out all the time. There are a lot of serious problems, you know, that she presents relatively early on in the courting phase. 

But the guy says to himself, “I can change her, I can fix her.” Ask yourself if you’ve ever said that to yourself. Typically, guys who say things like that are the ones who tend to attract very needy partners because again, they’re buying whatever you’re selling. So even on a subconscious level, if there’s any part of you that thinks.. 

“Oh, I can fix her, or I can help her grow up. I can rescue her…”

She’s going to pick up on that subconsciously, and again, she’s going to buy what you’re selling. Even if that doesn’t seem immediately obvious to you, even though you might be communicating that on a subconscious level. 

So, hope you found this video helpful.

And for you and anyone watching this video who wants a little more help getting in touch with their feelings, getting clear about their boundaries, their values, the red flags, their dealbreakers, and their relationships…

And if you are a retroactive jealousy sufferer at the same time, I wanted to take a moment to promote my new masterclass.

It’s called “The Path to Peace”

It’s my newest project. It’s almost nine years in the making. 

And this is the only online masterclass that I’m aware of that is designed specifically for retroactive jealousy sufferers who have questions about their partner’s past choices, who have questions about their partner’s past values, and who aren’t exactly sure if their retroactive jealousy is more or less irrational or rational.

If that sounds like you, I’d encourage you to take a look at my all-new masterclass “The Path to Peace”.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.