Understanding the Need for Affection

Understanding the Need for Affection

It appears that in a lot of cases, people on this site expect their partners to be well off to begin with, which is not weird or unusual - everyone would prefer somebody who's as healthy as can be, both emotionally and physically. That's fine.

But at the same time, there are all sorts of derogatory ways to label people who actually really need affection in their lives, they'll be said to seem overly needy, clingy or easily attached.

It is expected of men, in particular, to be strong on their own. But both men and women harbor, and live with, frustrations. The way they express those frustrations is at the same time similar, but completely differently treated by the society.

As time goes by, emotionally frustrated people can get into a very specific cycle where they become extremely self-hating and self-doubting, believing they don't actually deserve to be loved, they give up on social life, become really emotionally frail, and unable to get out of there.

And instead of thinking low of those people, society actually needs to find a sensible way to help them. Saying "suck it up", "get your shit together" and so on doesn't help a slight bit. True, some people who are simply stubborn can be shaken this way, but in a lot of cases, people are not just stubborn, or stupid. They think the worst of themselves because (due to whatever reasons) they have not been shown appreciation or affection.

Yes, being "strong and single" might seem like a virtue today, but it's actually pretty hard to pull off by majority of people because most people lack the mindset to function like singular beings. Humans (and all apes) are social animals, and just like we need food, water and shelter, we also require affection by our very nature. We've evolved to be such so that we'd create strong bonds that also create other societal advantages over species that don't live in such a way.

Mainly speaking, we've evolved to crave others.

Understanding the Need for Affection

A baby will crave their mother's attention, a child will crave their parents' and relatives', a teenager will start breaking off from that bond naturally in order to pursue romance because at some point they will need to form a family of their own. Teen rebellion is in many ways necessary and emotionally healthy, in fact.

But what happens after adolescence? What happens when people are at an age where their peers form families, and they can only see themselves as rejects, as people who cannot find a partner, as those who have failed to form a family (despite wanting to)?

Well, they've long been broken off their parents and relatives, and now they do not have a partner either. Seeking affection from friends is awkward and would not yield wanted results, so they are left feeling all alone, unloved.

This is to be expected of a society that expects everyone to be unnaturally strong and self-certain, that shuns people that are weak in that regard. But the funny thing is, most people are, it just happens that they are either in denial, or they try to hide it.

The reason this site is so huge is exactly because there are a lot of people who seek other's affection, but can't seem to find it. The reason there are so many dating sites in general is that there are a lot of frustrated people who would die to have somebody by their side, but they either have no social circles they could be dedicated to, they live in a small town and can't escape that fate, or are just socially inept.

Of course, there also are people who only want affection for themselves and would not conform to anybody else's needs, but even those people have often been warped by being given too little, and by wanting too much because they've been frustrated for a long time.

Thus, I'd like everyone on this site to be a bit more cautious of this before flagging people without understanding how they came to be like that, and without thinking about how those people would function if they had healthy emotional lives.

Because, the truth is, a lot of people are just sick of loneliness. They come off as bad because that's how we've learned to identify them, but they just crave affection in their own way, just like everyone else is.

Understanding the Need for Affection

It's my belief that every day you've spent not feeling loved and not making somebody dear to you feel loved, is forever wasted. I do not believe in life after death, nor do I believe in reincarnation. I believe that those days are all we get, hence it further depresses me that we live the way we do, because we can't truly open ourselves to others.

I also do not put much value or attention to my job or hobbies, nor do I really care about menial things in general, so I find it quite irritating when people who do try to devalue my viewpoint that it's actually people who are most worthy of being given attention (and affection) to. In a way, people who put everything before others are dehumanizing themselves because, again, people as social animals are supposed to see themselves, and then others, as the most important, before everything else, before things like job, hobbies and such. I also understand why they can't understand why I'd give anything to be a person that has somebody to love, and that is loved back, but it frustrates me even more.

So I hope you've enjoyed my rant, or that it made you think a bit. I also hope you've made somebody happy, and that somebody has also made you happy. Life is too short for tears.

Understanding the Need for Affection
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Most Helpful Guy

  • lightbulb27

    My girlfriend sent this to me. What a great writeup on a great topic. Very impressive for someone in their 20's. You must be high in emotional intelligence, passionate, and sensitive.

    I'm somewhat not needy and I've known people who are, so I'm wired a little different (so far). There may be a "range" for people... This is causing a degree of conflict in my life and relationships, thus I enjoyed reading this and learning.

    I think everyone wants connection, but some appear to seek it more than others, and possibly deeper connection. Some "need" it rather than want it, and some will seek it and push it way. Somewhere in there, there are areas of health and disfunction and are very human.

    I will comment on a few things you said that struck me. I'm not nit picking, but expanding. Would you agree that if you can get the perspective right on a complex problem, it becomes solveable? So...

    I liked the word "crave". That describes it.

    "we can't truly open ourselves to others - why not? I'm not that needy, but I want affection. I just give what I have to love others and retract when I'm tired or realize it is unhealthy (e. g. dealing with narcissists). My "battery" of love does go dry if I don't service it and keep it charged. Everyone wants love, respect and unconditional acceptance. You can give that to everyone and thus every day have a day with love. I agree with what you want, I want you to see a new way to achieve it. Are you saying you need one person to love? My experience is when someone gets depressed it is because they aren't getting something and the solution is to get charged up and give.


    Is this still revelant?
    • "need' - Nothing wrong with wanting to love and be loved, that is normal. But where does your love come from to give? or rather, is it really that when you say you want someone to love, you really mean you NEED to be loved? This to me is a sign of dysfunction in belief system and is key to developing good human relationships.. I think. We all want to be loved and to give love, but people are not perfect nor are we. Some people can suck the life out of you if they don't get what they need and we can drain others. Problem is... we are fragile. We think we mean we are loving someone when in fact we are "needing" to be completed and fulfilled from some void in life... at least I've seen that dysfunction more than once.


    • "those days are all we get, so it further depresses me" - Well, I agree but Id like to note a potential thinking issue here. I suspect the source of the issue is related to your choice to disconnect from the true source of love... that is you were made in the "image" of your creator.

      A component of the above is letting go of expectation and giving what you have. Kinda like you are an independent love energy source, but you are drawing from somewhere. Sounds new agie I know, but I mean it from a Christian viewpoint. If you are reliant on someone else to give love, I don't see that working so well... it is depedent. You have to draw from somewhere within... that to me is God, but maybe your own belief as some people seem to function without acceptance of God.

    • The other aspect then is fear and shame... key human emotions. Given a belief that we are finite and there is nothing beyond, then if we are put in a position of fear or shame in relationship, we are less able to give love and in fact probably convert to anger and flight very quickly. It is perfectly human and hard to control... they are deep emotions. If you believe you are finite, you have to protect yourself so you can live now, cause that is all you've got and you will fight to protect or run for your life... even if the circumstance is a conversation in a bar with a pretty woman that isn't going well or with your broken relationship with a relative. If you believe this life is a short stop on the way and there is much better love beyond, that you are fully loved as you are, then when faced with fear or shame, you have a source of which to draw from to love the imperfect human in front of you... or strength to protect yourself.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Idontwanttobealone

    This is so beautifully written. It doesn't sound like a rant to be at all, until you mentioned it in the end. It is true. Sometimes, I find it so frustrating that I am not able to open myself up to others, because firstly, I will be judged. And secondly, the other party will say "Erm..." and give me an uncomfortable look if I post any intimate questions to them. Like for example, questions on relationships and romance. Therefore, this site is such a life saver. Other than me writing down in my journal (and not having any response to my queries, because well, journals can't respond to you), I have no other means of pouring out my frustrations with myself over relationship issues. It's a pity we, as social beings, are not able to talk about subjects like this to the friends or people we know. Because I find it nice to be able to hear the views of those who I know. Thank you for this piece of writing (or rant) and for this amazing website. I am seriously interested in what the other gender thinks about the issues presented about relationships, and this site just answers it all! :)

    Is this still revelant?

What Girls & Guys Said

  • Bananaman177
    • Japan is in serious social trouble because people are way more disconnected from each other, even more so than they are in the west, or really anywhere else in the world. In a way, Japan being a workaholic environment where work is of a greater priority than interpersonal relationship really puts a strain on people who actually seek meaningful social interactions, hence why somebody would think of this (which doesn't really solve the problem in any way).

  • BruceTrails

    Lovely mytake!

  • Anonymous

    This was a good take. People who are single for years and years on end age 25+ are most likely compensating. It's basic logic to understand that humans are social creatures and crave intimacy if not given to us. The whole "independent lone wolf" shit is just a way to rationalize. Been getting off on one night stands / flings for a while. It's extremely satisfying.. but I recently got into a relationship and it's 10x better.

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