How to stop being clingy and needy with your partner
So, you think you or your Partner might be clingy?
Chances are you are reading this for one of two reasons; Either you are worried you are too clingy, or you are on the receiving end of some seriously clingy behaviour, maybe from a clingy boyfriend or clingy girlfriend.
The good news is, the first step is always to recognize the problem, and we can definitely help you put this right!
In romantic relationships it can be extremely easy to let the heart rule the head and seek constant reassurance. By the end of this article, you will know the signs of being clingy, and what you can do to sort it out once and for all.
Often clingy people or needy partners are suffering from emotional trauma from a previous relationship. This could be a fear of abandonment, or it could be that they are experiencing low self-esteem.
22 Steps To Stop Being Clingy
1. Write Down the Clingy Behaviors
Firstly, acknowledging that clingy behaviour is unhealthy and making that decision to change is a big deal.
You may have experienced a bad relationship and so you are desperate to hold on to this good one. Good relationships are far and few between (trust me I know), so perhaps you feel you need to go the extra mile to show the other person how important they are.
Recognize the behaviors you have adopted and write them down. Visualizing the words can be a powerful tool in the process.
If you are doing one of the following you have picked up a bad habit:
- Insisting or making excuses to go everywhere with your partner.
- Getting angry if they want to go somewhere without you but with others instead.
- Checking on them often on social media to see where they are and what they’re doing.
- Always imagining the worst if they don’t reply.
- Losing interest in your own hobbies or dedicating less time to them.
- Jealousy over your partners work colleagues or friends.
Once you know the root cause of what needs to change, you’ll understand the real problem and it will make life a lot easier and you will stop being clingy a lot sooner.
2. Give Your Partner The Space They Deserve
Often the road to becoming clingy starts with the idea that the more affection you give will clearly be a reflection on the level of your feeling.
I am here to tell you to forget it.
The best way is to give your partner space to be themselves.
If they feel you trust them, that trust will be returned. They will be happier in the knowledge they can:
- Enjoy the day without worrying about constantly texting or calling you
- Meet people without worrying about you becoming jealous
- Be in touch with old partners for necessary purposes like co-parenting etc without stressing over how you’ll take it
- Keep social media private if that’s what they wish to do
- Decide things on your behalf and you don’t see it as a loss of power
3. Understand the Consequences
If you think being a clingy person will make your partner love you more – think again.
The idea that they’ll see it as a sign of how much you love or care for them, and therefore make them want to reciprocate that is simply not true.
If you are all over them all the time, in the long run they can grow to take it for granted that you will do whatever they want.
Having your own ideas, plans and goals is a great way of making the relationship a happier place that they will want to be part of, and you’ll be a more independent person.
4. The Big ‘Trust’ Word!
This is the big one. Trust your partner. The foundation of any long-term relationship sits around trust.
You can reduce your anxiety about the whole thing by realizing that the greater the trust, the less you need to worry.
All you need to do is talk!
Have a frank and open discussion about it. Sit down face to face and thrash it out. If you can talk about your clingy tendencies, (or why you feel they have them) you will arrive at the best outcome far quicker than if you allow it to fester.
Sometimes just hearing the words ‘I trust you’ can be the catalyst to a healthy relationship.
5. Agree on the T&C’s
Overcoming clinginess can be a step-by-step process. Now I am going to tell you something that most people with clingy habits find the hardest to get over.
Your partner has a life outside of your relationship.
The quickest and easiest way to move on from your overbearing habits is to face this fact and realize that what you are doing is pointless.
With that in mind, start small and establish boundaries like:
- Only call once a day
- Allow them time to themselves if they want it. Even setting aside “me time” as a scheduled activity
- Resisting or even banning yourself from checking social media when you are not together. Find something else to distract you if the urge arises
Giving your partner space will make them miss you and want to spend time with you.
6. Be You – Let Them Be them
Make time to be yourself and do your own thing, otherwise it’s all too easy to lose who you are, and you won’t lead your own life anymore. If you always put your partners needs before your own, you will very quickly forget about yourself.
On the flip side, your significant other may end up resenting you when they see what they have given up or changed to accommodate your clingy habits.
Allow them to follow passions or interests. Stop guilt tripping them if they spend more time away from you or if they don’t text for a while. They will appreciate the small things and it is another step on your road to stop being clingy.
7. Switch Off The Tech
It is far easier in the “always on” world to fall into the trap of checking your mobile phone way more than is healthy, and if you constantly check it for messages or updates from your loved one – then you have a problem.
Rather than enjoying some downtime or an activity, you can seek attention by constantly texting or calling. Sometimes just sending links or photos or even emails is a sign of clingy tendencies.
Leave the talking for when you’re face to face. It will help you stop being clingy.
So, the next time your partner is out and the urge to check in is starting, try hiding your phone or give it to a friend to hold on to.
8. Find Things To Fill Your Time
Stop expecting your Partner to fill your day with things to do. It’s up to you to find something else to do with your time in different ways.
Like what you ask…?
- Spend more time with a family member
- Connect with those you knew before the relationship
- Look for a new hobby or interest
- Do an activity you love with new people who feel the same
- Make new friends
All of these things will give your Partner some room.
9. Take The New Relationship Slowly!
That’s right – take that shiny new relationship one day at a time. If you try to latch on to your new Partner too soon, it can be a sign of fear of rejection.
Unfortunately moving a relationship too fast can be a scary prospect for the other person and they could want out ASAP.
Just take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the fact you both want to get to know each other. It will be a healthy relationship in the end if it’s allowed to grow naturally.
10. Cut Down On The Touchy-Feely
It may mean nothing to you but sometimes body language can play a huge part in a relationship.
Constant touch, holding hands and kissing are all important but take it too far, and it can have a negative impact.
If your partner feels you are overbearing, they will feel uncomfortable. They may just not say anything to avoid hurting your feelings.
It’s a good idea to establish alone time when contact is off the menu. Spend time in separate rooms more. Communicate and decide together how best to cut down on the touchy-feely stuff.
11. Social Networking
With the huge array of social networks available it might be time to start using one. It’s time to talk to other people and social media is a great way to do it.
Look at things like:
- Organizing a meal with a group of friends
- Go for a coffee with your best friend
- Join a running club, gym, or similar local group
- Start an evening course
The list is endless…
12. Get Rid of That Low Self-Esteem
It is often true that clingy people have low self-esteem. They seek validation from Partners to try and combat insecurity.
If this is you, look for ways to boost your self-confidence. Start something and complete it by yourself.
Once you learn to love yourself and understand your self-worth you won’t need your Partner to do it for you.
13. Dig Deep to Uncover the Issues
At the heart of it all is the fact that deep down, you may have some issues that need resolving.
Anxiety, jealousy and trust issues can cause you to self-implode in a relationship and bring the whole thing crashing down.
Worrying about things that may never happen can mean you start arguments that just are not necessary.
Address your issues so that you can get on and build a good relationship. Funnel your worries into something productive. If the ‘what if’s’ do happen, remember your happiness is not tied to another person.
14. Swerve Around Those Controlling Behaviors
I am going to cut to the chase on this one. No matter how hard you try it’s impossible to control everything. Things will happen that you did not want to happen.
If you allow fear, obsession and desperation to take over, then you are in controlling behaviour territory and that’s not a good place to be.
Accept that nobody is perfect, mistakes will be made and eventually you will lose that feeling that you need to control it all.
15. Alone Is Good!
Dedicate some free time to yourself. Often in a relationship we get so caught up in the excitement of it all that we forget to nurture ourselves and this can create a bad habit.
Do something that gives you a sense of fulfillment. Eat food that you like that they don’t, watch something on TV that only you’d enjoy.
Even better! Switch it all off and just enjoy the peace of alone time.
16. Learn to Rely On Yourself
Stop and think about yourself. You are a strong person who can build themselves up to be better, and you have your own needs. With that in mind, understand that you are in control of your happiness, nobody else.
Lose the idea that you are only half of the relationship. You are a whole and they are a whole and together you make it what it is equally.
Becoming self-reliant means your other half gets the best version of you and you stop being clingy.
For a little help along the way, check out The Ultimate In Resilience Quotes!
17. Have You Heard of Attachment Style?
Attachment theory is a psychology theory by Dr Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. that breaks down emotional attachment into 4 strategies of which 3 are key:
- Secure attachment style – People who are comfortable showing interest and affection. Very happy to be alone.
- Anxious attachment style – People who need constant reassurance and affection. Often have trouble being alone or single.
- Avoidant attachment style – Uncomfortable with intimacy and extremely independent. Often have commitment issues.
Typically, if you are a clingy person you sit in the anxious style. Never fear though, with hard work you can change your attachment style and stop being clingy.
Work on healthy boundaries and an improved self-image. Find something to focus on and give it your all so that you do not focus as much on your partner.
18. Are You Clinging on For Dear Life?
Another common reason for clinginess is that one of you doesn’t have the resources to survive alone.
It may be that you are studying and therefore unable to get a steady job.
Perhaps you have had a spell of poor health.
In both cases remember it is temporary. Your good health will return, and you can become financially independent again.
If you are choosing to live this way, then stop and ask yourself is it right that family and friends burden the responsibility for your life choice?
19. Create Some Space
Your relationship might be one of the strongest going but I guarantee you still need some personal space. These days to be completely cut off from someone is almost impossible but there are ways.
It’s come up before but turn off those mobile phones! If you can’t turn them off, agree no contact during the working day, even if it’s every other day.
Do something you would do together separately. Do the food shop alone for a change. Take that Sunday stroll by yourself.
If you do it together try it alone. Time apart will help you stop being clingy.
20. You Do Not Need to Be There 24/7
‘Babying’ is a term used in most cases to describe parents of young children who feel they must watch the kids all-day-every-day, and must be there just in case.
This can also translate into grown up relationships.
You might feel your partner needs you all the time and so you want to be there 24/7, even if they don’t really need your help.
This will inevitably lead to frustration for you both, and won’t help you stop being clingy.
Remember your significant other is a grown person who can look after themselves mentally and physically.
They will let you know when you are needed for emotional support.
21. Keep The Conversation Going
Remember things won’t be solved in just one conversation. Open communication is key.
Let your partner know that you are there to listen to them, whenever and whatever they have to say.
They must feel that when you’re showing clingy behaviors, they can talk to you about it. Vice versa they must let you feel you can talk when you need to.
Try to end every conversation with positive feedback.
22. Turn To a Professional
If nothing else works then of course seek professional help.
Therapists are excellent at helping you understand your issues and how to overcome them. A therapist can set up a structured strategy for overcoming the problems.
Remember – it’s not always just your fault. A therapist may suggest that your Partners behavior is partly to blame.
The key is to get it all out in the open, so you can work on it together and stop being clingy.
Relationship can be difficult to navigate, and hopefully you have found some useful advice to help you or your Partner to stop being clingy and enjoy a healthier, happier relationship.
In extreme cases, someone can become so overwhelmed with their feelings that the relationship can become abusive.
If you think this may be affecting you, or anyone you know, take a look at the Warning Signs Of An Abusive Relationship.