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Are You 'High Needs'?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have high needs or that you are high maintenance.

Anyone who tells you this is not looking to fully engage in a relationship and is deflecting their inability to get involved by putting it back on you.

Having needs means that you have high self-worth, you know what you deserve and how to be treated.

So let me get clear on what needs I’m referring to:

  • Needs for receiving more pleasure - most of the women in my practice right now are not having orgasms from their partner and are not experiencing sex as pleasurable. And this has been happening in their relationship for years and also with previous partners. Granted it’s difficult to change something that’s been happening for years but you have every right to request that sex be fun for you too. Change can happen now.

  • You have much of the physical and mental labour at home and require greater collaboration (not help, they aren’t ‘helping’, it’s their house too).

  • You request quality time together.

  • If you have children then you both contribute to their care.

  • If you have children then you organise time for the 2 of you (date nights).

  • If you have children that they independently take on some of the childcare so that you have time for your own hobbies and activities.

  • You request for your emotional needs to be met such as sharing how you feel, sharing any upsets, sharing any ways that you feel they have transgressed boundaries and agreements and they listen with curiosity and attention instead of defensiveness and projection. Your desire to feel listened to and understood is valid. You don’t need to be changed or fixed. You deserve for someone to hold space for you

  • Conversations around money, the future, marriage, having children, household chores - ‘adult’ conversations where values are shared and agreements are made.

These are just some examples… you get the picture.

The fact that you ask is a bid for connection. To work on the relationship. To want to engage and be involved. They may see this as criticism or you telling them that they are not good enough but this comes from their own wounds of low self-esteem.

If someone is not willing to put the effort into a relationship, if they are not willing to listen, hold space and show up for you in the way that you ask, then it’s time to take a look at how YOU are damaging your self-worth — by allowing them to treat you this way, you are teaching them that this behaviour is OK.

How they reply to your bids for connection or bids for communication is a sign of where they are at in their own self-development. It isn’t a sign of your own self-worth. What is a sign of your own self-worth is how you let that person continue to do and say the things that upset you, that fall short of what you need.

Many of the woman in my practice right now are in a transition period in their relationships. They’re doing the work. They are looking at where they haven’t had good boundaries and have in the past chosen to people-please. They are looking at where they have self-abandoned to hold onto the relationship.

They are looking at where they didn’t ask for fear of rejection. They are looking at where they didn’t ask so that it wouldn’t put pressure on their partner or hurt their ego.

So what they did, is they started to create a life for themselves. Outside of their relationship to their partner. They made friends, they educated themselves, they sought therapy or coaching. They decided to explore life and know what brought them fun and joy. They decided to create a life that made them feel good about themselves. So that once in this place, once having the life they desire they could then choose to be in a relationship which complemented that. Instead of having a relationship that filled a void.

I remember reading recently somewhere that an indigenous shaman said ‘the western woman will raise human consciousness’ and I believe that to be true. As we women rise, as our standards meet the people we are, the relationships that no longer serve us have to evolve with us or they melt away. We choose to stay and work with that evolution or we leave. Knowing that next time we are getting closer to the relationship that we deserve.

Choose a man who sees your needs as up levelling the relationship.

Choose a man who wants to can have difficult conversations.

Choose a man who can stay grounded whilst listening to your shares.

Choose a man who’s walking with you side by side rather than feeling like you’re dragging him along with you.

Choose a man who will lean into the discomfort and choose solutions over avoidance.

Choose a man who chooses you.

This isn’t about holding onto resentment and projecting that onto our partners. Resentment comes from not expressing our needs and then not having them met. It’s also not about blaming or pointing the finger. Patriarchy has affected men too. It’s affected their ability to ask for help, it’s affected their ability to be vulnerable, to listen to other people’s emotions. It’s had a huge impact of how they have learnt to show up in relationship.

How can we lovingly hold many experiences and perspectives without feeling like it’s ‘taking away’ our own or making our own ‘less than’?

It’s lovingly acknowledging that the person in front of you has their own trauma/baggage/patterns empathising with that while also simultaneously meeting our own needs/boundaries.

Their behaviour says more about them than it does about you. Their inability to engage in the relationship and take the necessary steps to listen and understand your perspective is about their fears. Fear of emotional intimacy, fear of not being able to show up, fear of loss of perceived freedom… so instead of engaging they push away, get defensive, withdraw. It isn’t because you aren’t good enough or you aren’t worthy. Your sense of self-worth comes from how you choose to respond to this.

Take this relationship as a lesson to what you will accept and what you won’t.

Know what you deserve, ask for it, then you get to make the choice of how to feel about that.

Of course how we ask for these things are important. As someone who works with men and has trained in men’s sexuality, how to have these conversations is something that you can learn and better support yourself and your relationship.

Choose a man that can hold space and listen without fixing. And if you come to them with a problem that requires a solution, that they are right there with you looking together at how that solution can be worked out.

The right person holds boundaries and doesn’t self-abandon, they also know what’s important to you. There’s a mutual desire to want the best for each other and also to want to make each other’s lives better and to support each other.

You get out of your relationship what you put into it.

You create your own self-worth by what you allow.

Give fully, both to yourself and to your relationship and the behaviours that arise from this will be a compass to your next step.

Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at 

Other articles and podcasts which are supportive around this topic are:


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