This article was co-authored by Peggy Rios, PhD. Dr. Peggy Rios is a Counseling Psychologist based in Florida. With over 24 years of experience, Dr. Rios works with people struggling with psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. She specializes in medical psychology, weaving together behavioral health programs informed by empowerment theory and trauma treatment. Dr. Rios uses integrated, evidence-based models to provide support and therapy for people with life-altering medical conditions. She holds an MS and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland. Dr. Rios is a licensed psychologist in the state of Florida.
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Building healthy relationships can be hard. It takes time, commitment, and dedication. If we don’t have positive models in our lives to show us what an acceptable level of attention and affection is, we might misunderstand what constitutes reasonable boundaries. Evaluating whether you are too clingy is a challenge, but listening to the other party, taking an objective look at your own behavior, and thinking through what you expect out of a relationship will help you find out if you are too clingy.
All my friends know this about me—never call when you could send a text instead. I cannot stand talking on the phone. Maybe you can relate. But as much as I love texting (I think of it as my love language), there are times when I don’t feel like responding.
Texting preference aside– have you ever had a clingy friend who you love but makes you cringe a little bit when a notification from them pops up on your phone? Maybe you even avoid opening it? Or when they’re around, you kind of tune them out, because they’ve just been draining you lately and you don’t really know how to say that in a nice way? Don’t worry — because same —and you’ve come to the right place.
Super-close friendships are one thing—but feeling like someone is all up in your grill all the time is another, and it can get suffocating. There are plenty of not-so-great or unhealthy ways to handle a clingy friend that I would not recommend — like ghosting them, or letting frustration pile up until you blow up at them one random Tuesday afternoon. Luckily, we’ve got some healthy alternatives on the table, too. Here are four strategies that will help you nip an uncomfortable situation in the bud in the most positive way possible.
Step 1: Know what your boundaries are (and communicate them).
After texting, my second favorite thing is healthy boundaries. I’m serious. Healthy boundaries ensure that you can love yourself and other people well at the same time— and they’re magical. “If you don’t know, now you know,” as Biggie puts it. Feeling like your friend is clingy is just a sign that one of your boundaries are being crossed, and they straight up won’t know that unless you’ve told them. (Though maybe you have —we’ll get to that later).
More often than not, we don’t set boundaries on day one of friendship. I’ve never said “Hi, it’s nice to meet you—also, please never ever call me,” in my first interaction with someone. It’s something I express when the time comes…which is usually in a text to that person about why they just called me as I send them to voicemail . You don’t have to defend your boundaries to anyone—but you do have to express them. Maybe you don’t want to hang out with them every single weekend . Or answer a “what’s up?” text fourteen times a day.
Once you’ve figured out where the lines are, you’ll know when they’re being crossed. So, figure out what’s okay and not okay within your friendship—maybe a fifteen-minute phone call is great (can’t relate…), but you start to lose your mind when that two-hour mark hits. Now you just have to tell them that.
Step 2: Try to use “I” statements when you talk to them.
Now that you know what you want to say to your friend, let’s think about how to say it. Healthy communication is a key element of any relationship because you should feel comfortable bringing up concerns when you have them. When that gets difficult, using “I” statements can help keep communication positive .
Simply put, “I” statements help avoid tension because they focus on your feelings rather than the other person’s actions . The goal? You have a way to express your needs and can help your friend avoid feeling defensive or shutting down. Let’s say I have a friend who’s called me eight times this week—not my favorite thing, right? When I talk to them about it, blurting out: “Wow, you’re suffocating me with all these phone calls — what gives. ” is probably not going to go over well. Instead, I may say, “I feel a little overwhelmed when I see all these missed calls because talking on the phone really stresses me out.” Now, I’ve expressed how I felt (without being accusatory!), and why . I’ve also set the stage to give them a chance to explain the reason for their clingy behavior—which takes us to Step 3.
Step 3: Be ready to hear them out, too.
If your friend is acting clingy, there’s probably a reason why—so try to find out. After you’ve expressed your boundaries and feelings using “I” statements, add in an opportunity to ask: “How are you doing, really?” Whenever I feel that a friend is hovering I take it as a cue to check in on them.
Step 4: Prepare for possible discomfort.
On the other hand, it may be hard for your friend to hear that you feel like they’ve been too close for comfort lately, even with all of your efforts to use care and compassion when you address it. That happens. If things hit turbulence or don’t go well, remind yourself of your boundaries and why you wanted to bring it up in the first place. You deserve friendships that feel good to be in!
Some unhealthy friendships can be repaired—but some are too toxic. Asserting your boundaries helps you know the difference. If this conversation doesn’t go well, it will tell you that it might be time to pull the plug on the relationship, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve seen a quote while scrolling through Instagram lately: “The only people who get upset when you enforce your boundaries are the ones who benefitted from you not having any”—and it’s so true. Even if it’s hard to hear, a healthy friend will appreciate that you made an effort to improve your relationship and that you were honest about how you felt.
A healthy friend will respect your boundaries—and talking about them doesn’t have to be a brutal experience. Think of it as a halftime huddle—you and your friend just need to figure out how to get things back in a good rhythm. Don’t ghost the situation, and don’t let things build up too much. Instead, pat yourself on the back for realizing your boundaries have been crossed, and then use these tips to get some breathing room, without sending your friend packing.
One of the quickest ways to ruin a relationship is to be too clingy; this is common relationship wisdom, and yet we’re probably all guilty of having violated it in at least one of our past relationships.
The thing is, we’re all needy to some extent. If we didn’t need each other, we wouldn’t bother with relationships at all. And in every relationship, there is someone who is more invested — one person loves more at any given moment. The key is to have that seesaw go both ways; in a healthy relationship, you take turns needing each other more, and even loving each other more.
Psychiatrist Mark Banschick says there’s no shame in being needy. “There are usually good reasons why you became that way; like anxieties in early childhood.” But, he says, if you value your relationship, you need to learn to overcome your neediness. “The more you hold on, the more he or she will want to escape. Love requires trust in order to work.”
If you’re being clingy, you probably already know it, deep down. But in case you need a reality check, here are seven signs you’re being super clingy, and you need to stop it — yesterday.
1. You send three (or more) texts for every one they send you
Yes, it can be nerve-wracking to wait for that text back. And yes, you know they most likely saw your text as soon as you sent it — we have our phones within reach nearly all the time, and we reflexively check them thousands of times a day. (Yes, thousands — a 2016 study showed that we touch our phones an average of 2,617 times a day.)
But bombarding him with texts isn’t going to make him more likely to text you back. Once is enough. Then wait for a reply. And when it comes, don’t text him back right away. We’re more likely to want what we can’t have, so make him sweat a little. It’s okay to be a little elusive.
2. You expect them to spend all their free time with you
When you’ve both got jobs, families, and busy lives, it can be hard to find free time to be together — so naturally, you might want your partner to spend every possible free moment with you, enjoying quality couple time. But resist the urge to try and take up every spare moment of his time. In a healthy relationship, each person has things they like to do on their own. It shouldn’t be a threat to your relationship; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Growing as individuals will help you grow as a couple, too.
3. You always want to talk about the relationship
Communication is key to a solid relationship. But constantly having what psychologist John Gottman calls ‘State of the Union’ meetings is likely to drive your partner crazy, and drive the two of you farther apart. Instead, suggest instituting once-a-week relationship talks. “When couples meet once a week for an hour, it drastically improves their relationship because it gives the relationship space to have constructive conflict and the partners an opportunity to get on the same team,” writes relationship coach Kyle Benson on the Gottman Institute blog.
4. You get mad when they hang out with their friends
If you’re bothered when your partner spends time with friends and doesn’t invite you to join them, ask yourself why. Do you not trust him? Do you not like his friends — and if so, do you have a good reason not to like them? Or do you just feel uneasy not being together all the time? How would you feel if the shoe were on the other foot, and he got mad when you spent time with your friends? Trust is the bedrock of a good relationship; you need to be secure enough to feel fine when he hangs out with his friends.
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5. You shower them with attention
It’s great to do nice things for your partner. Sending love notes, buying them little gifts, making dinner for them, surprising them with flowers at work — these are all lovely gestures. But are you the only one making them? When your cascades of affection are overwhelmingly one-sided, never being returned as enthusiastically as they are given, it can come off as needy and clingy. Back off and let him be the one to do things for you for a change.
6. They actually tell you you’re being clingy
If things are so bad that your partner actually comes out and tells you that you’re being clingy, you definitely need to step back. The usual dance is for the needy person to smother their partner, and the partner to withdraw. It’s rare that they will bother to talk to you about it; more often they just fade away, fed up with your clinginess. So if they care enough to come to you and talk about it, take it seriously, and change your ways.
7. You never give them a chance to miss you
If you never leave your partner alone, how can he ever miss you? Being too available will only make him take you for granted, at best, or at worst, get sick of you. Make a point of nurturing your own friendships, interests, and hobbies, outside of the relationship. The more invested you become in your own life, the less likely you’ll be to cling to a partner. The ironic thing is that by being less available and more interested in things other than your SO, the more interesting you’re likely to be to him. Play your cards right, and pretty soon he’ll be the one clinging to you…
This article was originally published at SheSaid. Reprinted with permission from the author.
Can’t find love and dating seems too hard? Try to avoid appearing clingy or needy – these are two big turnoffs for men! Learn how to curb these tendencies. You’ll find examples of these behaviors and how to turn things around in this post.
Signs You’re Too Clingy or Needy
You may not recognize the signs because this is about how you interact with men. Most men want a woman who is confident, self sufficient and has an enjoyable life as is. You are open to a man in your life and would like to find a good partner. Having a mate would add another dimension to your life, but you don’t NEED a man to survive.
On the other hand, if you act clingy or needy, you are telegraphing your insecurity the minute you get interested in a man. This can look differently for everyone. You may need a lot of attention and reassurance so you want your him to call and see you often, give you compliments or plan dates far in advance. And you’ll want this before it’s appropriate to even expect it.
Here’s how you know you are too clingy or needy during the first 1 – 4 dates:
1) You freak out if his interest cools after a coffee date or even a couple of dates
- You wear out your girlfriends asking them about what your man said and did, going over every detail
- You look for meaning and what might have gone right or wrong based on every little nuance
- You spend more than 50% of any day obsessively thinking about the new guy
2) You initiate contact to see what’s happening
- You call him because you haven’t heard from him
- You text him to say thank you after every date
- You feel compelled to stay in touch regularly
- You share life details on a daily basis
To a man, this behavior is invasive. You are invading his personal space without being invited. This is a red flag to men that you are high maintenance woman and demanding. That’s not something you want him to think about you.
3) You share your feelings too quickly
- You can’t hold back and tell him that you like him soon after meeting
- You express anger that he didn’t call or follow through on a promise
- You give him too many compliments or do nice things beyond normal
- You want to know how he feels about the relationship
Most men aren’t big on sharing feelings even in a long-term relationship, so early on in dating this freaks guys out and makes them bolt.
4) You drop plans when he asks you out
- Plans with others are expendable
- You cancel on your girlfriends whenever he calls
5) You try to take the lead because he’s not stepping up
- You call to ask him out since you haven’t heard from him
- You say you hope to see him again to close the deal at the end of the date which is a man’s job
- You buy tickets to an event so you can ask him out
- You go someplace you know he’ll be to “bump” into him “accidentally”
Why Clingy and Needy Women Can’t Find Love
You may think that dating has changed and things are different. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. Men are biologically still hunters. That means the chase is still a part of courtship, harkening back to when men were hunters. Easy prey offers little excitement because there is is no thrill of the hunt and no conquest. If you think this is ridiculous, chauvinistic and archaic, you are very wrong. (OK, maybe it is chauvinistic, but it is what it is.)
So, when you demonstrate that you are clingy or needy, a man gets turned off quickly. His deep need to “win you over” is negated when that challenge is removed from the process. That’s one of the biggest reasons men pull away or disappear.
Use the Ballroom Dancing Analogy to Find Love
Think of dating like Ballroom Dancing. He steps forward and you follow his lead. You take a step forward and he backs away. Get it? This simple analogy can save you from taking the wrong action. If you ever have a question about what to do next, just ask yourself, “How would I handle this in ballroom dancing?” The answer is always to FOLLOW HIS LEAD so you can be a great dance partner. Follow this idea to find love.
Clingy/needy women don’t wait to see what a man will do or follow his lead. They have no patience, don’t understand how dating works and can’t hold off to see what will happen. They jump to get the ball rolling or start to question him about his intentions before he’s even decided how much he wants to date you. To a man, this behavior is highly unappealing and intolerable.
Most Women Get to “Relationship” First
It’s natural that women see relationship potential before most men do. This is just the way things are. Men require more time to know they want a relationship with you. Which is why a woman MUST HAVE PATIENCE. No one likes to be rushed, especially men about relationships.
Building confidence and self assurance are essential to find love. It will take time before you get a clear message from a new guy. Until he feels certain you are the one, he will keep his feelings to himself. His actions however, give you a peak under the tent about his intentions. Consistent calls/emails and frequent dates over six to eight weeks demonstrate where he could be headed which is into a relationship with you.
To find love, be patient and give a man the space to decide for himself how much he wants to be with you. Avoid anything that even remotely resembles clinginess or neediness. To appeal most to men, boost your confidence and self assuredness – two qualities that are highly attractive and desirable about single women of any age.
A lot of us are clingy sometimes, especially at the start of a new relationship. When everything feels fresh and exciting and you can’t wait to hang out again and again. It can come as a surprise when your partner asks for space. While clingy tendencies may have been “ok” in your previous relationship, being overly needy is generally considered a toxic dating habit. As Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., points out in her article Why Clingy Partners Cling , clingy partners usually have low self-esteem and “fear becoming abandoned,” despite having a positive outlook on their romantic partner. As a result, “they seek constant reassurance, emotional support, and closeness.” And what’s worse is many clingy or obsessive behaviors are portrayed as idyllic in movies and literature, making it difficult to tell when you’re being overbearing.
So, where do you draw the line between being flirty and being clingy? Here are 5 clingy relationship behaviors to watch out for and how to address them:
1. You’re Neglecting Your Friends
It is normal to want to spend a lot of time with your partner. These feelings can be intensified in a new relationship leading the both of you to neglect your relationships with family and friends. However, you shouldn’t feel pressured to sacrifice time at work, with friends, or time needed for yourself to be with your partner. If your significant other is constantly making you feel guilty for time spent apart, you should communicate how unfair and unhealthy it is to make you feel guilty for needing time to yourself. You cannot be everything to your partner and it’s important to make connections with people outside of your relationship.
2. They’re Monitoring their Social Media Activity
If your significant other is frequently questioning you about your relationship with people on social media, wanting to see your text messages or making harsh accusations based on little to no information, you should address the insecurity right away. Likewise, if there is trust in your relationship you shouldn’t check your partner’s social media activity to confirm their whereabouts. Having a discussion that gets to the root of their insecurity or distrust can help resolve this invasive behavior. Be sure to emphasize that you are not okay with the behavior and would like to know the motivation behind it.
3. They’re Irrationally Jealous
Jealousy is an emotion that everyone feels on occasion but it is important that it’s communicated in a healthy way. That said, your partner shouldn’t be lashing out when you mention, spend time with, or communicate with anyone they feel threatened by. Jealousy doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. Honest communication is the first step in addressing the problem. If you sense your partner is jealous, open the conversation and ask them why they feel this way. From there, you can try to resolve these feelings by discussing it further. If the issue isn’t resolved, you have to establish boundaries regarding behaviors you will not tolerate like prying questions about your social media or trying to control your interactions with others online.
4. They Message You Excessively
Getting a lot of messages from your partner is fine, but the content of those messages is what matters most. If you are getting an overload of messages demanding whereabouts or making accusations, this is unhealthy for your relationship. It is important to explain to your partner that you do not owe them information. This will open the conversation to setting boundaries and hopefully resolve the underlying insecurities causing the behavior.
5. They’re Speeding the Relationship Up Too Quickly
Talk to your partner about moving too quickly if they’re pressuring you to take big steps in your relationship, like saying “I love you” before you’re ready. While ideally, you want to grow together, it’s important to be on the same page in terms of the amount of time and attention you can give to one another. If you feel your partner is moving too quickly, you should be honest about your comfortability. To open the conversation, ask them what their current expectations are in the relationship. And make sure you’re honest about your expectations as well. Setting boundaries for the pace you would like to take will improve your confidence in your relationship and relieve any pressures to move faster.
On one hand, it’s totally normal for your partner to need you, however, the trouble comes when they become emotionally overbearing. In most cases, your partner won’t know how their neediness impacts your relationship–in which case, the behaviors can be resolved through open communication. Being honest about what concerns you and getting clear on your motivation will help them move past these unhealthy behaviors. That said, we understand that setting boundaries with your partner can be difficult. Take a look at this article for more tips on handling conflict.
And if your partner displays one or more of these clingy behaviors and open communication about how it’s making you feel does not result in changes in their behavior, that’s a sign that the relationship is unhealthy and you should talk to someone or get help. Connect with a peer advocate in real time by texting “loveis” to 22522 or call 1-866-331-9474.
What to Do When You Are Too Needy
Being clingy means that overall you have a habit of calling friends too frequently, wanting to hang out all the time, being jealous when they spend time with others, or being insecure and in need of emotional reassurance constantly.
Clingy behavior makes it impossible to have a true friendship. That’s because one person is not respecting the boundaries of the other or acting fake because they are afraid of losing the friendship. When one friend is clingy, it puts a strain on the relationship, causing tension that will ultimately end things for good.
Why Is Being Clingy a Bad Thing
Good friendships can only develop if both people are independent and “whole” people on their own, meaning that they have opinions and likes already when they come into the friendship. They don’t need another person to “complete them,” but instead enjoy the company of friends because it adds to their life.
When both people feel safe in the friendship (meaning that they enjoy the amount of togetherness and alone time they have), they will be more authentic (and act like themselves, freely comfortable with their true personality) and therefore able to give and receive as equal individuals. This is the best version of friendship, when people learn and grow from each other but do not lose their individuality.
But if one friend is clingy, there is an imbalance. One friend is making the other uncomfortable and the two aren’t able to share in an equal give and take. Typically the clingy friend will want (demand, beg for) more time together, and being angry or whiny when the other friend can’t devote the time. The clingy friend will also need more emotional assurance from the other friend about things in their life, like their appearance or job prospects. The clingy friend saps the energy from the other friend because they not only take more than they give, they insist that things be on their terms (meaning that the other friend cannot say no easily.)
This does not mean that the clingy friend is dominant or demanding, it means that they aren’t respecting the boundaries of the relationship and therefore not being a real friend. Clingy people are often passive aggressive and have people pleasing tendencies.
If You Are the Clingy Friend
If you know that you need more interaction than your friend, you may come off clingy to them. However, if you were friends with someone else, your need to be together may suit them just fine. So it’s important to understand what your friend feels comfortable with and respect their wishes.
Clingy behavior may be temporary, especially if you have been under stress, had your best friend move away, or had a major life change. In this case, your friend should be able to understand your need for togetherness and help you through it.
If your friendship is new, however, and you immediately want to be with your pal 24/7, it could mean that there are other issues in your life. Healthy friendships are not threatened when one person has other friends, so if you are feeling constantly left out or that your friends don’t give you the time you need, ask yourself:
- Is this person perhaps not really as good a friend as I imagine?
- Is our friendship one-sided, with me doing most of the nurturing?
- Do I have codependent issues I need to work through?
- Have I had self-esteem issues that are playing into this?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you need to dump some emotional baggage before you can have a balanced friendship.
Sometimes apologies can help acknowledge bad behavior, but in the case of clinginess you need to change your behavior before saying you’re sorry will help things. If you have been clingy with a friend, it’s not enough to apologize, you actually have to do something about it before your friend will feel comfortable again.
If Your Friend Is Clingy
If your friend is the one clinging to you, I’ve got some advice here. People have a tendency to end a friendship with someone clingy, but you don’t need to. There are ways to manage it and re-establish your boundaries so you feel comfortable with this friend and enjoy spending time together.
It is a strange aspect of parenting during the coronavirus pandemic that you can spend so (soooo) many hours with your kids during the week, and they can still be hungry for more of your time and attention.
But many parents are dealing with clingy kids right now and wondering how they’ll keep it together when things reopen — whenever and however that happens in their area. Here’s the 411 on kids and clinginess, and how to cope.
Kids cling because they’re looking to feel safe.
One major reason why kids cling to their parents is because they are trying really hard to help themselves feel safe and comforted, explained Steven Meyers, a professor of psychology at Roosevelt University in Illinois.
“Clinginess is an instinctual response to perceived threat and anxiety. In evolutionary terms, offspring of all species are more likely to survive if they stay close to their parents for protection when danger is imminent,” he told HuffPost. “Children have this encoded into their biology, and it can be triggered by the stresses and uncertainties of a global pandemic.”
Clinging, then, is the visible manifestation of your child’s effort to cope with all of the changes and the uncertainty in their world right now.
To help, try to dig into the specific source (or sources) of their unease.
“The question becomes, what exactly are they anxious about? Contracting the illness? Death? Like so many things, clinginess should be understood in context,” Mark Reinecke, a clinical psychologist and clinical director of the Child Mind Institute’s San Francisco Bay Area center, told HuffPost.
Older kids might also regress into some clinginess right now.
Clinginess can be a developmental phase for babies, toddlers and preschoolers — and it is absolutely “age-typical” for younger children, Meyers said.
But these days parents of older children might also have kids who are hanging on to them, and the experts say that kind of regression isn’t necessarily surprising. So your 9-year-old who used to be pretty adept at independent play might be following you around the house all day like a shadow. Or you might suddenly find your tween or teen wants to crawl into bed and cuddle at night.
“Older children may regress under acute stress and act in ways that aren’t as common for their current age,” Meyers said. “This regression is a threat-based response to increase perceived safety, receive comfort and reduce anxiety.”
If you have any concerns about an older child who seems to be especially clingy or regressing in a way that’s giving you pause, all three experts interviewed for this article emphasized the importance of talking to their pediatrician or a mental health professional.
Keeping routines is essential.
Probably the last advice that any parent wants to hear right now is that establishing routines is important. Whatever enthusiasm parents had for creating daily schedules way back when school was first canceled is, for so many burnt-out mothers and fathers, long gone.
But experts say that creating daily routines goes way deeper than keeping your kid on track academically; it’s about giving them an underlying sense of security that is very important right now.
“Many children have become more clingy towards their parents [because] they have fewer avenues to socialize with others.”
“Routines provide kids with the structure and expectations about what happens during the day,” said Jenny Yip, a Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist.
“It can be a flexible, relaxed schedule,” she added, just something that gives them kind of an emotional home base to return to.
One strategy for vanquishing — or at least reducing — clinginess is to make sure those daily routines and schedules include stretches of uninterrupted kid/parent time. Play a board game together, Yip said. Sit down and build or read a book. Giving them your undivided attention for a bit can fill them up emotionally so they’re less likely to hang on you during other stretches on the schedule.
It’s also worth noting that if kids have some level of routine in place, the shift back to life outside the house won’t necessarily be as jarring or feel as dramatic. So to try to get ahead of separation anxiety in the fall (or whenever school resumes), try to stick with some level of daily scheduling throughout the summer, Yip recommended.
Try your best to model calmness and confidence.
Kids are remarkably (perhaps annoyingly) perceptive. So even if you’re doing your best to keep them away from too much news or maintaining some level of routine at home, they might be picking up on other emotions from you that are making them uneasy. In turn, they might cling to you even more, looking for reassurance.
So just check in with yourself and your partner about the kinds of messages you’re putting out there. Experts aren’t saying you can’t or shouldn’t acknowledge how hard this all is, but you should be really mindful of how much fear or anxiety they can feel coming from you. That will also help set them up for an eventual return to school or day care or a one-on-one provider, because it will ground them in some level of confidence that you’re not going to put them in an unsafe position.
“In ambiguous situations, young children turn to their parents for guidelines on how to respond,” Reinecke said. “If the parent is confident and self-assured, the child will perceive this. Is the child’s anxiety inadvertently being modeled or maintained at home?”
And remember, you’re all they’ve got right now.
Many kids are really sad about all of the changes they’ve experienced in the past few months — no school, no friends, no sports or music classes, none of the routines and socializing they’re used to. Sure, they have Zoom or whatever their chosen video conferencing platform is, but it’s not the same thing. As far as in-person support and attention, you’re really all they’ve got.
“Many children have become more clingy towards their parents [because] they have fewer avenues to socialize with others,” Meyers said. “People provide us all with connection and stimulation, and there are few options when we’re stuck at home.”
Experts are still learning about the novel coronavirus. The information in this story is what was known or available as of press time, but its guidance around COVID-19 could change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.
“Love should not cause suffocation and death if it is truly love. Don’t bundle someone into an uncomfortable cage just because you want to ensure their safety in your life. The bird knows where it belongs, and will never fly to a wrong nest.” – Michael Bassey Johnson
Everyone likes to have their own space, even in a relationship. Spending time together is one of the greatest joys in a partnership, but having time to yourself is something that all people need, even if you love being around your significant other. Sometimes, though, our partners can hang around a little too much. Being clingy has a whole host of negative connotations, and you may not notice it until it becomes a problem, or when someone else points it out to you.
Relationship development expert AJ Harbinger says, “At some point, we’ve all exhibited needy behaviors. What’s worse, it can suddenly grip us from time to time in certain contexts, even if it’s not a constant characteristic, which is part of why feelings of neediness can be so scary, difficult and unpredictable to manage.”
Having a clingy partner can cause issues in the relationship, even if you love them and understand where they’re coming from, whether it be abandonment issues or low self-esteem. Knowing the important signs that your partner is too clingy will help you be able to address the issue and deal with it before it starts to cause problems in the relationship.
Here Are 7 Signs You’re Dealing With A Clingy Partner
1. They’re always texting / calling you
This is one of the earliest and most obvious signs that your partner is far too clingy. The minute you two are apart they are texting you, constantly. They seem to get distressed or uncomfortable if they don’t know where you are or don’t have access to talk to you whenever they want to. If you’re out with your friends, you may notice that they’re constantly sending you messages and making sure that they’re always in contact with you.
Psychologist Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC says, “People who are jealous and insecure will tend to cling to their partner as a means of keeping a closer eye on them.” The best way to deal with this is to let them know there are certain times that you can’t talk, and set a firm boundary. It may be difficult for them to adjust to, but it’ll make the relationship go a lot smoother.
2. When you don’t respond, they become distressed
If they send you a text message and you don’t respond within a certain period of time, it may cause them to get distressed, nervous or upset. The reasons for this can be varied: they may catastrophize a situation, or they may be worried you’re angry with them or they’re insecure.
Toronto based dating coach Christine Hart says, “Generally, being clingy and being insecure go hand in hand.” Letting your partner know that there are going to be times that you can’t respond and that it doesn’t mean anything bad can help quell their fears. Your partner may also want to seek anxiety counseling.
3. They’re far too interested in your social media
If your partner likes to look at your Instagram, or tags you in things on Facebook, this isn’t too much of an issue. However, if they’re starting to dig through your social media and begin to ask you invasive questions about a comment that you received on an old Instagram post, or questioning the people you have on your friends list, it may be a sign your partner is a little too nervous and clingy. Discussing with them honestly what their fears are and why they feel the need to dig so much can help get to the bottom of the feeling that is driving the behavior.
4. They hate when you go out without them
Sometimes, people in relationships have different sets of friends. If your partner becomes upset or distressed when you go out with your friends without them, this is a red flag that your partner is a little too clingy – especially if you only go out occasionally, and they get upset every time. This could be due to your partner not having the same type of support system or friend circle. They may be feeling left out if they don’t go out as much. Encouraging them to find a group of friends that they can go out with will make them feel more at ease when you leave the house.
5. They adopt all your interests … and drop their own
An overly clingy partner will want to have as much in common with you as possible, even if this means abandoning things that they once enjoyed in order to adopt your interests, even if they don’t really like them.
That’s because “the basis around clinginess is the fear of not being loved and not being enough,” says Bernardo Mendez, a relationship coach for women.
The best way to handle this is to encourage your partner to continue to do the things that they like, and even engage in them with them. An overly clingy partner will want you to be the center of their world – and sometimes they have to be shown that you’re not!
6. They hold back their feelings or opinions
Clingy partners tend to be extremely self-conscious or have low self-esteem. This can result in them holding back their true opinions, or allowing your own worldview to become their own. Clingy partners tend to do this in order to make sure that they don’t drive their partners away. Making sure that your partner feels safe expressing their political, religious or social beliefs around you can alleviate this desire to change their opinions to match your own.
7. They’re more into you than you are into them
This is a tough one to deal with. If you’re dating someone casually, it may be clear that they’re far more into you than you are into them.
Author Elizabeth Stone tells us why this happens. She says, “When we feel insecure and worry that someone is pulling away from us, often we try to pursue them for reassurance that they’ll never leave us—an insecure behavior and attitude that causes them to want to leave us.”
Making sure you set boundaries early in the relationship, if it’s a casual one, will make it so that your partner doesn’t expect too much out of you, or expect more than you’re willing to put forward. It sucks when the lines of a relationship aren’t clearly drawn.
If your significant other shows signs of being overly clingy, but you still care about them and want to keep the relationship going, it’s important to make sure that you communicate and draw clear boundaries. If your partner crosses those boundaries repeatedly, it may be best to let the relationship go. But, there’s an equally high chance that communication and understanding will help turn a relationship around and make it much more balanced.