I’m Not “Needy” Just Because I Want My Partner To Compliment Me

I’m self-aware enough to know that if I’m not complimented while I’m in a relationship, I’m not going to be happy. I once dated someone who told me that I was “needy” for wanting that from a partner, but this is why I think that’s a load of BS.

  1. My partner should want to make me feel good about myself. Why would you even date someone if you didn’t want to help build them up? When compliments are absent in a relationship, that indicates a larger problem. At the very least, it shows that my partner has gotten complacent and no longer feels the need to vocalize the things they like about me. At the most extreme, it shows that they’re insecure and don’t want to build me up in case it gets to my head and I leave them for someone else.
  2. There are some compliments that feel better coming from a romantic partner. Of course I have amazing friends and family members who are quick to tell me all the things they appreciate about me, but phrases like “you look amazing in those jeans” are nice to hear from someone I’m dating. It’s not that I don’t love hearing nice things from the other people in my life, I just also like to hear them from the person I’m romantically attracted to.
  3. I don’t need to be worshiped. I don’t need an exhaustive list of all the reasons my partner thinks I’m the greatest person to ever walk the Earth — I just want little genuine comments here and there. There’s totally a line between being high-maintenance and wanting to know you’re wanted, and I know that my own needs don’t cross it. If my partner can’t even do that for me, I’m not going to bother wasting any more time with them. 
  4. I feel silly when I’m the only one doing it. I tend to shower people with compliments, and I know that expecting the same from them is a little ridiculous. But in a relationship, I shouldn’t be the only person saying what I appreciate about my partner, whether it’s how much I like their smile or how I’m impressed with how they handle conflict at work. They don’t need to be on my level of verbal adoration, but when there’s a dramatic difference in how often we compliment each other, it’s a problem.
  5. It’s one of the perks of being in a relationship. Relationships aren’t always easy, but spending time with someone who clearly thinks you’re great is one of the things that makes them worth it. Just like consistent sex and cuddles are things that make people want to date each other, knowing that you can rely on someone to give your self-esteem a little boost is something that makes couples happy. Why should I be ashamed to embrace that need when I’m dating someone?
  6. Verbal affirmation is important in any relationship. Actions speak louder than words, but words are still important. I know myself enough to be aware of how important verbal communication is in my relationships, so even if my partner is showing me how much they like me, I also need to hear it from them. It’s one of the ingredients to a healthy relationship, and while it’s not the only important thing, I’ll notice it if it’s missing.
  7. I like to know that my partner appreciates me. Wanting to be complimented doesn’t mean I’m insecure about myself. If anything, it shows that I know my own worth and want a partner who knows what they have when they have it. I’m well aware of my flaws, but I’m also aware of what makes me a catch, and when my partner tells me what they like about me, it shows me that they value the same things about me that I value about myself.
  8. It’s a simple action with a big impact. Grand gestures of romance are lovely, but I’d never expect someone to take me on fancy dates every night. Compliments are a free, easy way to keep the romance alive in a relationship, and they work wonders in letting me know that my partner is still nuts about me. Similarly, when my partner doesn’t compliment me, it plants seeds of doubt in my mind and can ultimately make my trust in our relationship start crumbling.
  9. The fact that it makes me happy should be enough. Everyone has specific needs in a relationship, and a good partner will do their best (within reason) to meet those needs. If my partner told me that they appreciate forehead kisses, you can bet I’ll be giving them lots of forehead kisses simply because I want to see them smile. Even if my partner isn’t big on verbal affection, I’d hope that the fact that compliments make me happy would be enough for them to make a little extra effort to let me know what they like about me.
  10. Good luck finding someone who doesn’t need it. This isn’t some bizarre fetish or nuts request that only a few people in the world might have. Everyone I know enjoys being complimented, so if my partner thinks that I’m needy because I want it in my relationship, they can go on their way and try their hardest to look for someone who doesn’t enjoy it. What I’m asking for is nothing outlandish, and I have no interest in being with someone who makes me feel bad for it.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu blue belt. She's currently hanging out in Costa Rica with her cat and a lot of really big bugs.