You check in with him often, text him all the time, always let him know where you are, and you expect the same from him. This is good dating, behavior, right? Not necessarily. Checking in occasionally is one thing. Demanding to know where your guy is at all times is clingy and needy behavior. Instead of your guy being flattered by all the attention, being clingy can have the opposite effect of what you might have hoped: it can drive him away.
But don’t worry. You can adopt some different strategies and learn how to stop being clingy.
UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU’RE BEING CLINGY
Once you recognize when you’re being clingy, you can try to stop yourself from doing it. You might not even realize just how clingy you are. Here are some telltale signs that indicate you’re a needy girlfriend. Once you recognize them, you can learn how to stop being clingy.
- You have to be with your boyfriend all the time, and if you can’t, you have to know what he’s doing at all times.
- You live in constant fear that he’ll leave you.
- You want to check his phone to see whether he’s texting another girl.
- You text him constantly, even if he doesn’t respond.
- You need to ask him before you make plans with your friends.
- You cancel your plans if he calls you at the last minute.
- You get sad, upset, or guilt-trip your guy when he makes plans that don’t include you.
- Your stomach is in knots all the time when you just think of him.
Now that you know what the signs are, be aware if you’re doing or experiencing any of them, and try to change the behavior. Otherwise, you risk driving your guy away.
Plus, it’s no fun for you to be in a constant state of clinginess. The emotions behind clingy behavior are all negative ones: jealousy, anxiety, insecurity (men feel it, too!), and loneliness. Why would you want to deal with that all the time?
When you recognize what’s going on, you’ve taken the first step to changing your behavior. When you learn not to be clingy, you’re empowering yourself and giving yourself confidence. And that’s what attracts guys to you.
ASK YOUR MAN TO POINT OUT WHEN YOU’RE BEING CLINGY
Even if you don’t think you’re being clingy, if your man perceives your actions as being clingy or needy, you’re being too clingy for him. There’s no arguing right or wrong here. His perceptions are what matter.
Ask him specifically what you’re doing to make him feel smothered and uncomfortable. And even before you ask, you can probably detect some signs that show he’s feeling uncomfortable and wants some space. He might give you little eye contact, start touching you less, have shorter conversations with you, maintain a posture of crossed arms or legs, and generally wants to put distance between the two of you.
Here are some common behaviors that many guys interpret as being needy or clingy. Once you learn what they are, you can learn how to stop being needy:
- You change your Facebook status to being in a relationship after only a couple of dates.
- You start making plans for the month too soon.
- You talk about bringing him home to your parents before you are both serious.
- You leave toiletries, like your toothbrush, at his place without first asking whether it’s okay.
- You viciously put down other women in his life, such as women he works with.
- You check in with him when he’s out with the guys.
If you find yourself doing any of those, stop. You’ll probably drive your guy away if you keep them up.
FIGURE OUT WHY YOU STARTED BEING CLINGY IN THE FIRST PLACE
Once you recognize what started the clingy behavior, you can learn how to stop being clingy. You can deal with the issues that caused it. If you don’t, you might be able to stop acting clingy for a little while, but if the underlying issues are still there, you’ll eventually start the behavior again.
Clingy and needy behavior stems from having anxiety about the relationship. When you feel anxious, you need constant reassurance from your partner that everything is okay. One reason you might feel this way is if you have low self-esteem. You feel good when you’re with your man, but you constantly worry about him abandoning you.
BUILD MORE TRUST WITH YOUR MAN
Talk with your man and explain to him your feelings of anxiety to help you learn how to stop being needy. Once you talk out your feelings, you might be less inclined to act out on them, especially if he understands and is willing to work with you. The key for you to keep in mind is that you can’t expect him to agree to live with your neediness, particularly if it’s unreasonable. But you can expect him to let you know that he cares about you.
TALK WITH TRUSTED FRIENDS
Friends can provide an outside perspective. They can let you know whether you’re truly being clingy and can help you learn how to stop being needy. Maybe you’re with a guy who has an avoidant relationship style. The more you cling, the more that avoidant types push you away. And the more he pushes you away, the more insecure and anxious you feel which makes you even clingier and needier.
This type of dynamic might be too difficult to overcome on your own. If you and your guy are in love and don’t want to call it quits over this, consider counseling, which lets the two of you understand the dynamic you’ve created for yourselves and ways you can correct it.
DEVELOP OTHER INTERESTS
You might be clinging to your man so tightly because you’ve started depending on him to fulfill all your needs. If you need someone to talk with, hang out with, or help you through a difficult time, you think only of your man. Although he can certainly be there and should be there for your needs, he shouldn’t be the only one you can count and rely on. Make sure you nurture other relationships in your life to satisfy your needs so the responsibility won’t always fall on your guy.
If you don’t have a current support group, get busy developing one. You can sign up for a class, join a group for people with similar interests to yours, or start developing your passion—whatever it might be. Once you are a better-rounded person, you won’t feel the need to cling to your guy as much. In turn, he’ll want to spend more time with you.
BE AWARE OF THE RHYTHM OF THE RELATIONSHIP
Every relationship has a certain rhythm, like a dance. Relationships work best when both people participate equally. When you’re being too clingy, you’re probably pursuing too much and being too aggressive. Here are some examples:
- He texts you once, and you text 10 times in response.
- He gives you a modest gift for your birthday, but for his birthday, you barrage him with multiple presents as if you’re Santa Claus.
- He makes time for his friends, but you see only him.
Instead of keeping this imbalance, match what he does and give him some space so that you can make the relationship an equal one.
It’s normal to be a little clingy at times. You long to be with your man, and you don’t want to lose him. But if you overdo it, you could drive your man away. Don’t worry, though. There are easy strategies that you can incorporate into your life to avoid clinginess.
The goal is for you and your guy to feel secure in the relationship. That way, you can trust that he isn’t going anywhere, and he can trust that you’ll stop driving him nuts with your clingy and needy behavior. Then you can both enjoy a comfortable and close relationship.