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As a boy-crazy teenager I said that the two things I would never tolerate from a man were abuse and unfaithfulness. I thought I was too smart and too independent to settle for anything less than a mutual partnership built on love and respect. Unfortunately, by the time I was in college my high standards had dwindled. I began looking to find confidence and purpose in being in a relationship. Over time I became a woman I never wanted or intended to be. I eventually not only tolerated unfaithfulness, but begged my boyfriend not to leave me.

Neediness is not limited to the young, or the single. We can be too needy at any age and at any stage of a relationship, from single to married.

So what are signs you are too needy? Here are some examples from my life (both past and present), and 3 ways to become the strong women I believe God intends us to be.

1. You are the girl who always has a boyfriend

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John 4:15-18 NIV

When we are too needy we don’t know how to be alone. The woman who was talking to Jesus in this passage was a woman like that – she had had five husbands and was now with another guy. In her lifetime, we can guess that she was rarely alone and didn’t want to be – when one marriage ended she quickly entered another one.

Whether we idolize a specific man, or the idea of one, a big sign of being too needy is that being in a relationship defines who we are and how we feel about ourselves. If we are not in a relationship we feel somehow less than others, unwanted, or like a failure. We may become plagued by jealousy, discouragement, or resentment. We think we need to be in a relationship to know who we are, where we stand in life, and to have any resemblance of happiness.

Are you the woman who always needs to be in a relationship? How do you feel when you’re not seeing anyone? Are you able to be at peace and content or do you feel consumed with needing to find someone?

2. Your own likes, hobbies and opinions begin to disappear

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:13-14 NIV

God created each of individually with traits, hobbies, likes, and dislikes that are unique to us and make us who we are. When we are too needy we sacrifice who we are and become who we think our significant other wants us to be.

We do this because we hope if he’s happy enough, and if he adores us enough we will be secure. But we are always left needing more.

Have any of your hobbies disappeared? Have you found yourself afraid to expose any area of your life that you think he might not like?

3. You have no girlfriends

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.”
Jeremiah 17:5-6 NIV

Having no girlfriends can look different for different people. Maybe you genuinely have no friends besides your significant other. Our only relationship is with the the man of the hour. Or, you have friends but you stopped talking to them when you started dating. You reconnect once the relationship is over, or you are in a rough spot. Or, you have ladies you may hang with but none of them are able to influence you or your relationship. And finally, we may have friends, but they are all the wives or girlfriends of his friends.

This Scripture in Jeremiah says that when you rely on a person, you end up lonely. No person can meet all our needs. When we rely only on a boyfriend or husband to meet all our needs we will inevitably end up isolated.

Have you become isolated or distant from your girlfriends? Have you become closer to them or more distant since you began your dating relationship?

4. You are frequently disappointed or angry with your significant other

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1 NLT

When we are too needy we begin expecting too much from our significant other. We expect them to meet our every need, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. This leads to a lot of disappointment because no man will ever be able to meet our every desire. It’s foolish to think a person can take God’s place in your life, and as the Scripture above says, foolish women tear down their homes.

Are you tearing down your relationship with criticism, anger and irritation? If you are always disappointed, angry, or bitter with your significant other, you are probably expecting too much from him.

5. You constantly defend and justify his behavior, or hide the reality of your relationship

For these are rebellious people, deceitful children,children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.”
Isaiah 30:9-10 NIV

Has anyone suggested an area or aspect of your relationship is not going well and you didn’t know how to hear it?

When we are too needy we don’t want to face things in our relationship that may need to change or grow. We get defensive, weepy, or angry. We have reasons or excuses for why our relationship is the way it is, why we act a certain way, or why our significant other acts the way he acts.

When we are too needy we convince ourselves everything is fine even when it’s not, because we can’t bear to be alone.

Do you allow others to influence and point things out in your relationship? Do you hide the real state of your relationship, or how you really feel in it?

6. You’ve dropped your standards and expectations…your goal becomes “just please don’t argue”, “just please don’t leave”, or “please choose me”

6 Some of these men go into homes and mislead weak-minded women who are burdened with sins and led by all kinds of desires. 7 These women are always studying but are never able to recognize the truth.
2 Timothy 3:6-7 GW

This Scripture says that we become weak and therefore lower our standards and expectations when we are burdened with sin and out-of-control desires (neediness). We lower our standards for a mate and settle for someone or a circumstance we shouldn’t. God never intended for us settle for a ‘good enough’ relationship. He destined us to be strong and to have a strong, spiritual man to compliment us and make us even stronger, not weaker.

So how do we go from needy to strong? There are 3 things we must do.

1. Acknowledge God

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:29 NIV

God is the only one who can give us the strength to be truly confident and satisfied with who we are and who we are not. Acknowledging God begins with recognizing he exists and that he knows what is best for you.

2. Acknowledge sin

People of Israel, the Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you. His ears aren’t too deaf to hear your cry for help. But your sins have separated you from your God. They have caused him to turn his face away from you. So he won’t listen to you.
Isaiah 59:1-2 NIrV

This is not something that most (if any) of us like to examine. But the fact is sin separates us from God and therefore steals our confidence, power, and security. Acknowledging and admitting sin brings us closer to God and we become more confident and less needy because, one, we know our true worth, and two, we can repent of sin and become stronger.

3. Acknowledge your need for spiritual girlfriends

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

All of us need some girlfriends who will laugh with us, cry with us, and push us to be the best version of ourselves we can be. Spiritual girlfriends love and respect who you are, and won’t let you settle for anything less. They challenge you, inspire you, and genuinely care about you. To get to know some women like this, get involved with our professionals ministry  you’ll find some genuine friends who will help you become an internally strong woman.

God did not intend for any of us to be needy women. At the BACC we believe in having a strong women’s ministry led by women who believe they are here to make a difference in the  world.

With God, we are meant to be strong women. Women who are impactful, influential, and inspiring. There’s nothing wrong with having a man in our life, but we are meant to be equally faithful contributors to our dating and marriage relationships. Take these tips and become a woman who is no longer too needy in her relationships!

Written by

Jen Straw

Jen is the Director of Instruction and Specialized Services for the Hope Technology School in Palo Alto, California. She has worked in education since 2002, and is passionate about helping students achieve their full potential both inside and out of the classroom.