I've been seeing a lady for about two months now and all has been well. However this is the first relationship where i find myself being the man emotionally, and its left me feeling very guarded and unhappy with her. In simple terms i don't feel like i need her, like she needs me. I love spending time with her and the things we do together but my wall is staying up, for some goddamn reason and its putting a damper on the fun. How can one reconcile being the pillar of strength in a relationship with expressing the need to be dependent?
~ The Lady Pillar
Pillar of Strength
Dear Lady Pillar,
Seems to me that the quickest way to tear down your wall is open up to her and let her know how you feel. If you've read my columns - I'm a bit like a broken record with this whole, tell her, or tell him, advice. We enter relationships so that we may know and be known. We must share our feeling in order to actually connect, which is the feel-good part of being in a relationship. Clearly you have appointed yourself the pillar of strength, though it is unclear whether or not your lady is invested in your performing this role.
It is possible that she operates from a place of dependency and perhaps she has communicated to you that she wants you to be "the strong one." This is never a good agreement (and one that is usually unspoken), because it devalues her ability to take care of herself and negates the reality that you have needs too!
This is a common dilemma in relationships - negotiating my needs and his/her needs. I call this the, "If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy" relationship, where the needs of one partner dictate how the relationship goes. When one partner is consistently placing the other's needs above his or her own, over time this transforms from a gift to a burden on the relationship as the caretaker (or clinically known as "enabler") grows weary and feels unappreciated, unknown, and unhappy. Seems you might be headed down that path already. Time for a U-turn. Talk to her. Tell her how you feel.
The first two months of dating are designed to help two people get to know one another. Gather information, be honest, be true to yourself and let her know what she's signing up for should she commit to you - and in return you'll discover how she feels about the real you - not the you that you've convinced yourself you need to be for her.