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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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Wanting vs. Needing

July 2002


A woman walked into my office stating that she desperately wanted to be in a relationship. I immediately knew that we were in trouble. If you need to be in a relationship, the relationship that you will find yourself in will be unhealthy. That is what this woman found. Shortly after making that statement, she found herself getting involved with a man who was very dependent on her. She paid his bills, did his laundry, made his food, and when he lost his job, she supported him.


She came into my office again and wanted to know why she always ended up with such losers. So we started to explore what she was looking for in a relationship, why she needed to be with a man. After much exploration, she realized that the only way she felt whole was by taking care of someone, because that was what she had learned from her mother, who had done the same thing with her husband.


She started to look at other ways of being whole. She began to take art classes. She began to make jewelry. She developed a network of female friends. She came home one day, looked at her boyfriend, realized she had nothing in common with him and asked him to leave. She began meditation. She got involved with her spirituality. She began to exercise.


Several months later, she greeted me at the door of my office, stating gleefully, “Guess what, I like myself and I don’t need anyone else to feel that way!” Shortly after that she met a delightful man who also didn’t need anyone else in his life. They chose to be with each other. They chose to take care of themselves and the relationship. They were two equals who knew that they could survive without their partner but were happier sharing their lives with that partner.


The moral of this story: wanting to be with someone creates a much healthier relationship than needing to be with someone. Enjoy the journey.


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