Why Do I Feel the Need to Make Someone Like Me?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. Feeling the need to make someone have feelings for me that I don’t return. I had a child at the age of 17 with a young man that was less than ready to be a father. After yrs of battling with him I met a wonderful (inattentive) man, we married and he adopted my my daughter and then we had 2 more. After many yrs, my daughter’s biological father has come back into the picture. We have always shared a sex life that has be unrivaled by any… for whatever reason, I want him to have feelings for me. We have resumed our sexual relationship (which I know is wrong) i’m hiding all of this from my husband. I have no feelings for this other man, but I NEED him to have feelings for me, and it seems that I will stop at nothing to get what I want. I was sexually abused for 7 yrs of my life as a child, so I learned emotional detachment many yrs ago… I can go through the motions of this “relationship” without any feelings attached… I dont want to hurt him, I just want him to want me so bad he can’t control himself… I never want to end up with him. This all makes no sense to me… I need help!

A. The need that you feel to have your ex develop feelings for you is extremely unhealthy. The need that you feel to be wanted or needed may be the result of an unresolved childhood issue, possibly related to your sexual abuse. It may be that feeling needed or wanted makes you feel loved. Individuals with a sexual abuse history sometimes confuse sex and love.

Your self-image should not be based on what or how others think about you. Abraham Maslow, who is famous for his “hierarchy of needs” and the study of self-actualization, found that self-esteem among psychologically healthy individuals was based on their own internal perception of themselves. It was self-determined and not based on the positive or negative opinions of others. To put it simply, a healthy person should not need the positive opinions of others. If your feelings of self worth are based upon what others feel about you then you will never be free or self-determined. Are others really “fit” or “qualified” to judge you? Shouldn’t you be your own judge, use your own judgment?

You need help in recognizing the forces that are driving you. Of course you should not be having an affair. You are betraying the man who married you and abusing his trust in you. You are risking hurting him and potentially splitting your family. Do you know why you are doing this? You could find those answers and many more in counseling as well as find the strength to end your affair. Do you really want to lead this lifestyle? From what I’ve read, I don’t think so. You need to move your life into a positive direction of self growth. You need direction and control of your own destiny. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Oct 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Why Do I Feel the Need to Make Someone Like Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/10/20/why-do-i-feel-the-need-to-make-someone-like-me/

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