In today’s video, I want to talk about an extremely dangerous mental trap of neediness that I see a lot of jealousy sufferers falling into.

Read or watch below to discover what is neediness (and why it’s so harmful).

Zachary Stockill: Hello and welcome to my dad’s backyard here in beautiful northern Ontario, Canada. And in today’s video, I want to talk about a dangerous trap of neediness that I see a lot of jealous sufferers falling into.

So if you’ve ever struggled with more “normal,” contemporary-based obsessive jealousy in your relationship or in your dating life, or if you’ve ever struggled with retroactive jealousy, I think you’re going to want to see this video. 

An issue that comes up frequently in my coaching calls with jealousy sufferers, is falling into the trap of feeling like they need their partner rather than focusing on wanting their partner. And in my view, this distinction between wanting and needing is absolutely crucial.

It’s a very nuanced point that I’m trying to make here. And hopefully, by the end of this video, you’ll have a better sense of what I’m talking about. 

So first off, let me just say that I think wanting someone is really beautiful. 

Desire is energizing, and people want to feel wanted.

I don’t care if it’s a man or woman, young, old, people want to feel wanted. But I also believe that most people, if they’re being honest with you, and themselves, don’t really want to feel needed for survival. And the reasons why, at least in my view, are pretty interesting. 

what is neediness

So in my view, wanting is primarily about generosity. It’s primarily about giving, as in, “I want this person to feel amazing, I want to get this person an amazing gift. I want to fill this person’s life up with joy and love and happiness, I want to make this woman feel amazing in bed, I want to make this person feel great about themselves.”

Desire, in my view, is largely about wanting and wanting to offer things, primarily about generosity. Whereas, in my view, the experience of needing someone or something is largely selfish. It’s largely about receiving, it’s not so much about offering. “I need this person to feel normal. Maybe I need this person to feel a hole in my life. I need this person to make me feel good about myself, I need this person to validate me, I need this person’s attention.”

The experience of needing is often about receiving rather than giving

And human beings are smart. Human beings are incredibly intuitive. And people can smell neediness a mile away, and they don’t like it.

They’re often repulsed by it because they can sense that it’s largely a kind of selfish thing, rather than coming from a genuine place of genuinely wanting to offer something.

What is neediness? The person who says they “need someone” mostly wants things for themselves.

They mostly want to suck time and energy and love and attention and all these things, rather than wanting to offer something in return. So in my view, this is one of the main reasons why neediness is so repulsive to people.

Even on a subconscious level… We don’t really understand why we’re feeling repulsed by someone or getting the sense that they could be really needy. But I think, on some level, that’s the reason why: we sense, correctly, that there’s going to be an unfair exchange of value going on there. 

Wanting, on the other hand, is energizing. It’s fun.

what is neediness

Another key distinction between wanting someone and needing someone is, as I mentioned earlier, wanting someone is energizing. It’s fun.

It’s fun to want something, to want your team to win the game. To want a gorgeous woman who you just met at a bar, and you’re absolutely captivated by her. And It’s fun to want to be an amazing lover and give someone all kinds of incredible feelings in bed. It’s fun to want to offer your love to someone because you’re overflowing with love for this person.

You just can’t wait to give it to them. Wanting is energizing.

What is neediness? Feeling like you need someone is depleting

Because there’s a sense of fear associated with that need, the sense of fear that “if I don’t get what I need, I’m not going to feel complete. I’m not going to feel whole, I’m going to lose something in the process of needing that person.”

So needing is largely about fear and fear is not energizing.

Fear is what keeps people in toxic relationships, sometimes for years or decades at a time. 

Fear is what keeps people from feeling totally whole on their own, feeling like they don’t need anyone to feel happy and have a great life.

It’s exhausting to feel like you need someone and have this ever-present sense of fear behind your experience of needing them. Needy people are generally pretty exhausted, depleted people when you meet them because they’re wasting all of this energy feeling like they need something in order to feel whole, in order to feel happy. 

So if you are a jealousy sufferer, if you’ve ever struggled with obsessive jealousy, maybe in your relationship or your dating life. Or if you’ve ever struggled with something called retroactive jealousy. (This term basically refers to jealousy of your partner’s past relationships.) Ask yourself: is my experience with my partner primarily one of wanting them or feeling like I need them? 

And if you really want to know the difference for yourself, ask yourself if you’re primarily interested in offering something to your partner rather than receiving, and if your experience of desire for your partner is largely energizing and enlivening rather than depleting.

If you need help working through neediness, through retroactive jealousy, and you’d like two months of dedicated one-on-one support and coaching, check out my “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast” course + coaching package.

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.