I’ve noticed that sometimes when people go through difficult experiences in dating, such as being ghosted, they carry a lot of fear going into the next connection.
One of the questions that I ask my clients is, “What is the one-sentence story that you took away from that experience?”
That one-sentence story is your mind’s lesson that it is now taking forward in dating. After a painful experience, the one-sentence story will most often be negative and not serving you.
It could be a statement like “I’m really difficult to love,” or “I’m too needy.”
One of my clients was having a hard time getting her needs met in her relationship, and she believed that maybe her needs were too much.
I shared this metaphor with her:
When we partner up with somebody we each get a bucket, and in that bucket are the needs of the other person.
Everybody’s needs are a little bit different, but they are usually things like checking in every day, going on fun dates together, having sex, communicating, and sharing what’s going on in your life.
A lot of these needs are actually really simple, fun, and easy to meet.
Now if you start to go on this path with somebody and they’re really struggling to carry your bucket, you might start to get the idea that meeting your needs is really difficult and demanding.
Maybe you even take some of your needs out of their bucket and put them into your own so it’s even heavier.
But you’re not taking into consideration the other person’s capacity and readiness to meet your needs.
It’s important to recognize the difference between your expectations being too high and dating somebody whose capacity is lower.
There are a few reasons why somebody could have a really hard time being able to carry your bucket.
If they’re depressed, they might have a hard time taking on the needs of another person because they’re already struggling with their own needs. That’s not your fault or their fault.
Another reason people can have a really hard time with that bucket is their level of emotional maturity.
When a person is not very emotionally mature, they have a really hard time doing things that might feel much more natural with another person.
They might be more easily frustrated or more prone to shutting you out.
This is different from putting something in your partner’s bucket that doesn’t belong there – like if you expect that they will be free every night of the week and will fulfill 100 percent of your social needs.
It can be really helpful to write a list of your actual needs.
What are you really desiring from a partner?
Then look at the list and ask yourself, is it difficult? Is it very time consuming? If it was the other way around, would you find it challenging?
Or do you think you would enjoy doing it?
It’s usually not that you have a big list of demands. They are usually very basic things that would be fun if the other person had the right attitude about it.
If you find your partner is having a hard time with something you would enjoy doing, such as spending time together twice a week, then it’s time to consider this person’s capacity, emotional availability, and emotional maturity.
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This content was originally published on the Women's Dating and Confidence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.