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Today was our scheduled day of MC. We are only 7 weeks out from DDay and working hard on R after WH's EA. I am looking for your opinions on something that the therapist brought up today during our session. We were talking about recognizing our needs and wants in the relationship and whether we are "in tune" with what each one of us needs/wants. Eventually, the conversation turned to a point where she asked my H if he feels he Needs Me or Wants Me and then she posed the same question to me. WH's answer was that he NEEDS & WANTS me and he went on to explain why. When the therapist posed the same question to me, I stated that I do NOT NEED him, I WANT him. The therapist seemed so surprised at my answer and my H said he was hurt by my answer. I went on to explain that my version/definition of NEED is apparently different than his. I NEED air, water, food, money in order to survive. I can "survive" without him, but I don't WANT to.

So here is my question: How do you define NEED and WANT in your relationships? Do you NEED your spouse or WANT your spouse? I felt very badly after our session that I had hurt his feelings and I want to understand other people's views on this. Thanks!
 

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From the way you describe it, to state you NEED someone sounds a bit co-dependent.
 

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I think you gave a healthy answer. I'm surprised that the therapist seemed surprised by such a healthy answer, and if your WH expressed hurt by it, the therapist should have helped "translate" or restate what you said to help explain what you said and soften the blow, because it makes perfect sense.

I think the question is kind of strange.
 

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I like your response also. You are you and he is him. If this doesn't work life will go on. You seem like the one with the right perspective to me.
 

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Broken, I wish I had your strength. I feel I need my H almost as much as I want him. You are correct in your thinking . I suppose I am very dependent on my H never realized the difference till now . I will have to work on myself THX.
 

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Your answer makes sense. But probably I would've said need & want too. I don't need him for survival but I need him in order to be happy. Sometimes it feels like my need of him in my life is as acute as water and food. I'm sure I'd survive without him, but I would be very unhappy losing him, so I need him because he is my happiness. And I want him for the same reason. Try to add a similiar "caveat" to mend his hurt feelings. If you took the effort of going into MC, then you care about this M. Do not minimize how he feels just because he's the WS.
 

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Want=luxury
Need=requirement

I don’t “need” a man, but if I WANT one, there are certain requirements (needs) from him that I MUST have.

Honesty (from him ) is a NEED. It’s not an ‘option’; it’s MANDATORY. Without it, there can be NO RELATIONSHIP. The man I’m with MUST be trustworthy. This is NON-NEGOTIABLE and there is NO SUBSTITUTION. Not sure if it’s a need? Try framing your ‘need’ into its opposite. Can you have a healthy relationship with a LIAR? Didn’t think so. Therefore, honesty is a NEED.

Another ‘need’ I have from him is EQUALITY. Once again, without it there can be NO RELATIONSHIP. The man I’m with MUST treat MY likes, dislikes, ideas, choices etc. as important and LEGITIMATE as his own. He must “do unto others…”. Can you have a healthy relationship with someone who thinks you’re “inferior” to them or that your ideas are “stupid” or “irrational” (even if he doesn’t say it out loud)? Again, I don’t think so…

Those are two ‘biggies’ of mine.

As for WANTS, well…I may WANT a man who knows how to cook something other than hot dogs. But it’s not a REQUIREMENT. I may also WANT a man who likes to bowl, but once again, it’s not a requirement.

Does that make sense?

Vega
 

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Since marriage is supposed to be an elevated relationship, certain definitions change to facilitate that status. I would have been hurt by your answer as well. By your definition of need, you would choose money over your husband ("...I need air, food, water, money..."). When he said he needed and wanted you, he opened himself up and became vulnerable for a moment, and instead of being "in tune" with him and answering the same way, you put up defenses, and distanced yourself from the word need. In that moment, you shifted the dynamic of the relationship. Since you don't need him, and he needs you, he is by default at a disadvantage.

Also, on the topic of codependency, I strongly feel that since marriage is supposed to be an elevated relationship, there should be a measure of codependency between spouses. Knowing that you need your spouse, and that your spouse needs you to live a happy life, should strengthen your bond.
 

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Also, on the topic of codependency, I strongly feel that since marriage is supposed to be an elevated relationship, there should be a measure of codependency between spouses. Knowing that you need your spouse, and that your spouse needs you to live a happy life, should strengthen your bond.
Not CO-dependencey, but INTER-dependency. Co-dependency is UN healthy, whereas INTER-dependency is healthy.

Think of codependency as two people trying to act as one PERSON, whereas interdependency allows two individuals to act as one FAMILY or one PARTNERSHIP.

Vega
 

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Interesting discussion. Semantics, really. But that stuff can be important in the emotionally charged atmosphere of a therapist's office.

Which is why I questioned the therapist's asking it in the first place. I undertand starting a discussion about what people need vs. want in terms of the relationship, such as the qualities Vega mentioned.

But to open that can of worms - does one "need" and/or "want" one's spouse - that just doesn't make sense.

I am questioning the skill of the therapist. What good can come from a question like that? That notion of "needing" your spouse comes out of romance novels and love songs, and such a question doesn't seem to serve any purpose. All it did was expose a glaring difference, and get things off to a bad start.
 

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Just a slant your H may be over stating stuff to comfort you, not to say he doesn't feel he needs you and wants you but his motive may be to prove to you his *new* found commitment(yeah I know but I always am amazed my WS could do what she did and then be so totally in love with me) and as far as him being hurt well he needs all the gold stars he can get so by being hurt by a comment that wasn't mean or malicious is a way to gain sympathy. Again my opinion only
 
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