20 irritating characteristics of needy people in a relationship

All of us want to feel needed to some degree.

But when our partner makes us feel their happiness and—god forbid,  existence!—depends entirely on us, it can be quite annoying.

They often make us feel like we’re an awful partner for not satisfying their “basic” needs of love and affection.

Well, enough of that. You’re fine. But if you really want to make your relationship work, you have to acknowledge what it is exactly that you don’t like about them so you can target on which traits to solve first.

To help you figure it out, here are 20 irritating characteristics of needy people in a relationship.

1) They smother you with affection (because they want it in return)

You probably fell in love with them because they’re sweet but you didn’t expect that their affection would turn into an obsession…and now, you have a toxic parent-child dynamic.

They cook your favorite meals, prepare your clothes for the day, and they often greet you with a towel and a glass of water when you come home after a run.

A needy partner likes to pamper you like a baby because they like the feeling that they’re needed and that they’re the more “loving” one.

While it’s kinda nice to be treated this way, it’s annoying because they expect you to make them feel loved the same way.

Worse, they want you to acknowledge their acts of love all the damn time. If you don’t, you’re an ungrateful person who just takes and takes without giving anything in return.

2) They want to do everything with you

There’s no more “you” and “me” with a needy partner. Everything becomes a “we”!

If they’re into dancing, they’ll drag you to the dance floor even if you told them repeatedly that you HATE dancing.

If you’re into playing video games, they will sit by your side and ask you to teach them even if you know gaming is not really their thing.

While it’s important to share some hobbies and interests with your partner, a needy partner thinks it’s a MUST for your relationship to work.

If you start doing your stuff without them or if you don’t want to go with them to do their stuff, they’ll start to question if you’re really meant to be together.

3) They lose their personality

When you’re still dating, they said that they like skiing and baking and playing the ukulele. Five months later, well… they’re just watching Netflix all day every day.

A part of you wonders if they even liked those hobbies in the first place or they just said those things to trap someone into a relationship.

It’s possible that they really like those activities but people who are needy and obsessed with love turn their relationship into a project, therefore forgetting everything else in their life.

For them, your relationship is all they need for them to be happy so there’s no need for them to exert any effort elsewhere.

It becomes even more irritating when sometimes—whether they do it consciously or unconsciously— they mimic your hobbies and opinions just to feel closer to you.

You expected to have a partner who’s unique and interesting but what you now have is a love-obsessed person who has lost their sense of identity.

4) They want to alienate you from your friends and family

Needy people get jealous when you’re happy with someone else, even if they’re just your friends or family. This is a fact.

This might not be obvious at first because they don’t want to be labeled as a jealous partner. They will make it very subtle. However, you know them so you still feel it in your bones.

It might be in the way they smile when you tell them your family is coming over for the weekend or the ellipses that they usually don’t put in their texts when you’re out drinking with your best friend.

If you fail to send them messages while you’re with your colleagues (especially if you’re with someone from the opposite sex), expect them to make you feel a little guilty.

You can’t confront them about it because their actions are so subtle that it’s possible that you’re just paranoid…but well, you just know.

Because of this, you slowly spend less and less time with your family and friends. You have no choice because you love them!

5) They get hurt when you say NO

Needy people don’t care about personal boundaries.

If you decline their invitations and requests, they feel rejected. For them, if you love somebody, you’re willing to do anything and everything to make them happy.

For them, their requests are just “small favors” and you rejecting them is just proof that you really don’t love them at all.

Of course when you confront them about it, they’d say that they’re not hurt and suggest that maybe you just feel guilty.

This is the reason you’re scared of saying no to their requests. You force yourself to sacrifice for them because you don’t want to hurt them.

6) They complain that you’ve changed

So maybe it’s your fault because you were love bombing them like crazy when you started dating. You noticed every strand of their hair, you gave them breakfast in bed, you called in sick for work just to spend the day with them.

And now that you’ve been together for quite a while and the honeymoon phase is over, you just want to chill.

It doesn’t mean you love them less! You just have other things to focus on like exams or work.

They will notice this and start getting emotional that you don’t love them now the way you loved them before.

“You don’t give me breakfast in bed anymore.”

Or “ You love your work more than you love me.”

No matter how much you try to explain to them that long-term relationships are different, they still make you feel guilty. So, of course, you force yourself to cook breakfast in bed, but unlike before, this time you feel like you’re just a slave following orders because they’re demanding it.

7) They act like detectives

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They want to make you believe that they’re just curious when they ask who you’re messaging with. What they actually want to know is if you’re flirting with someone online.

When you go out to have dinner with your colleagues, they will ask the details of your night.

They’re too curious about your past, too, especially with your exes.

“Do you still talk to each other?”

“What do you like about them?”

“Why did you break up?”

They want to know every single thing!

Needy people are not only needy of attention, they demand for the truth every darn time because they need to know they’re still your one and only, and that they’re the best, and that you’ll never leave them.

8) They’re addicted to attention

Alcoholics are addicted to alcohol, smokers are addicted to cigarettes.

Needy people are addicted to attention.

They’re the types who would say “If you love me, you’ll make time for me” even if you’ve given them all of your free time!

They’re the types who would say “Attention is the rarest form of generosity” and would make you feel guilty for being “selfish.”

You see, most needy people are also a little bit narcissistic. They want to feel adored—from how they walk to how they talk—and they want their lover (and other people) to shower them with attention and praise.

If you don’t react to something that they think deserves attention—a new dress, newly shaved beard—they’ll feel awful about themselves.

9) They feel disrespected when you let them wait

Most needy people are impatient probably because they are anxious or they have low EQ.

They hate it when you don’t reply to their messages fast enough so whenever that happens, they don’t hesitate to double text and give you 25 missed calls.

They won’t even care about you or if they look desperate because all that matters to them is that you’ll send a reply.

In fact, they like to make you feel like you’re a bad person for keeping them waiting. When you feel bad and say you’re sorry, they’ll let you promise you won’t do that again.

But of course you can’t control life so it happens again and again.

10) They want you to be dependent on them

While you consider yourself lucky because they’re always there to help you, you realize that you’ve become so dependent on them for almost everything.

It’s your fault but you kinda find it annoying how they slowly turned you into a dependent person.

They like it because they like to feel needed. It’s a form of control, if you really think about it.

This wouldn’t be too annoying until they start using these “favors” to get what they want from you. They do everything for you, now you should do things for them too, right?

They’ll also make you feel guilty when you “fail” to do something for them because why can’t you even give them a nice birthday cake when they give you their world!

The thing is…you never really asked them to do those things for you in the first place.

11) They want your undivided attention when you’re together

When you get distracted while they’re talking—because you have to check your email, someone you thought you know passed by or any other reason—they stop talking.

They would then give you a cold shoulder to make you feel guilty that your mind floated elsewhere.

They will proceed to accuse you of having poor communication skills because you have to give your undivided attention when someone is talking, especially because it’s them.

12) They want you to be always beside them

When you’re out together to grab some drinks with friends or have a holiday with your family, they make you promise that you will stay by their side.

Of course you promise! You don’t want to abandon them when they make the effort to hang out with your friends and family.

However, if you leave them for even a minute, you know they’d feel awkward and alone.

They’d then pout and insist that you go home. Of course they’ll punish you on your way home by getting very quiet.

They will accuse you of not caring about them because how could you just leave them alone with no one to talk to, especially because you promised!

This makes you panic when you’re out together with people. It’s like you have an invisible chain that’s attached to them, making everything less enjoyable.

13) They want you to carry their baggage

They say they have trust issues because they’ve been abandoned by their parents…or they need attention because they’re very depressed.

While you sympathize and would do anything not to trigger bad feelings, it seems like they want more from you. It seems like they want to share their burden to you.

They want you to feel their pain and carry it like it’s your cross to bear. You know that’s what relationships should be like—that you multiply pleasure and divide pain— but they take it against you if they feel like you’re not putting enough effort.

If you’re to be honest, sometimes it feels like they want to drag you down.

14) They need constant reassurance

Most needy people have an anxious attachment style and those with this kind of attachment have a thirst for reassurance that can never be quenched.

They want to know that you still love them.

They want to know that you still imagine a future with them.

They want to know that you won’t run off with a random stranger on the street.

Questions like “Do you still love me?” or “Do you think I’m still sexy?” would always pop up. Even if they asked it three days ago, they’d ask it again because they can’t help it—they NEED to know.

They need your reassurance like air and water, and it can be very exhausting.

15) They want it all or nothing at all

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Needy people are looking for that one person that can finally make them believe in “true love.”

The problem is that their definition of true love is influenced by what they’ve seen in the movies. They want something all-consuming or else it’s not real love. It’s too idealistic!

They want their partner to give them everything, to make them feel that they’re the most important person in the world.

And hey, it’s not that you don’t feel those things towards them, but sometimes you just fail to express them.

Once you start relaxing in your relationship, they will slowly think you’re losing feelings for them and that you’re not really the one. For them, “the one” won’t make them feel less loved, “the one” would always make them feel like a million bucks.

16) They always have a problem

Needy people are highly sensitive and this is partly the reason why they’re drawn to problems.

They carry the burden of other people because they can’t help it. They’re very loving people who’d want to take care of everyone if they can so it’s not a surprise that they always have a problem.

Not only that, they get easily overwhelmed with what’s going on around them that they see problems even when there’s none.

This isn’t so bad if only they don’t dump these problems on you and rely on you as their rock.

You love them to bits but it’s exhausting when they seem to collect problems and would bother you about them every single day.

17) They use their past as an excuse for bad behavior

Needy people tend to have a lot of negative traits but they make you feel guilty for complaining about them.

They exhibit bad behavior and expect you to understand because hey, you already know why they are the way they are.

In fact, they expect you to look at their flaws with affection!

They’re paranoid when you’re out because all their exes cheated on them. Or, they have anger management problems because their parents were very strict.

They always have a reason for everything and their lack of accountability for their present actions is downright frustrating. You can never win with them.

18) They use pity to call attention

“Baby, my colleagues hate my presentation.”

“Honey, my mother shouted at me. My life sucks.”

It’s as if they always have a problem or a sob story handy when you’re busy doing something else and especially when they know you’re having a good time.

You feel guilty for thinking this way but it’s as if they’re kinda glad they’re in a bad situation because now you have no choice but to comfort them and shower them with attention. You’d be evil not to.

They’ll always have a misfortune or an attack of some sort and instead of trying to soothe themselves, they always need you to do it for them.

You’re not a therapist, you’re not working for 911, but it does feel like it when you’re with them.

19)They’re impulsive

Immature behaviors almost always go hand in hand. Nine times out of ten, a needy person is also an impulsive one.

They have this constant need to be stimulated or assured that they usually make decisions without careful thought.

They want to feel good, to feel everything is alright. So you’re not surprised that they make an expensive purchase that they later regret or book a ticket to Costa Rica without telling you.

And when they say “Let’s break up”, you know they really don’t mean it. They’re just hurt or angry or being controlling.

20) They know they’re needy but they don’t want to change

This is probably the most annoying trait of needy people in a relationship.

It’s not like they’re blind. They’re perfectly aware that their needy behavior is slowly ruining your relationship. You even had the courage to tell them about it.

However, they want you to take them for who they are—100%.

They tell you that they can’t help it and it’s just impossible for them to change their ways.

Instead of trying to change, they’ll cry or get defensive if you remind them of their neediness.

Sometimes, you can sense that they’re proud that someone actually tolerates their shitty behavior. They even tell their friends!

Not only is this irritating, this is painful for you because you’ve been doing all you can to be patient and understanding towards them yet they won’t even care about you.


Which of these traits do you find in yourself or your partner?

Which ones irk you the most? And if you’re the needy one, which ones are you most guilty of?

Whether you’re the one who’s needy or you’re the one with a needy partner, always remember that having a relationship doesn’t give you a pass to demand for everything you want.

You’re two separate people sharing a life, and you should find a healthy balance of solitude and togetherness.

No matter how tempting it is to let the other person become our source of everything, we’re ultimately alone in life. It is our 100% responsibility to take care of ourselves and our happiness.

Make the necessary steps to deal with needy behavior before it’s too late.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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