It can be hard to figure out where to draw the line between a partner who is affectionate, loving, and wants to spend time with you, and a partner who is clingy.
After all, clingy is very much a matter of perspective.
Some people are more independent and need more space than others do, so the concept of clingy is definitely on a spectrum.
Added to that, having a clingy partner can be a tricky thing to deal with, so a lot of us choose to ignore the signs until it’s too late.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of signs that can help you identify whether your girlfriend or boyfriend is clingy.
We also explore a few ways in which you can help deal with this behavior without causing harm to the relationship.
Why Is Being Clingy A Problem?
The term clingy is used to describe someone who attaches themselves to the person they’re dating and never wants to let go.
Like a limpet on a rock.
If they had their way, they’d spend all their free time with the one they love.
They might be clingy physically, constantly needing to be shown physical affection.
They might always want to be in text contact.
They might never make any plans that don’t involve their other half.
And they might lose interest in anything that’s not their partner, neglecting their family and friends.
None of which is healthy.
Much as we might love someone, we all need to have our personal space.
Our lives should never revolve entirely around one other person, and our happiness shouldn’t depend on our girlfriend or boyfriend.
Whilst it’s wonderful to blend your life with the one you love and put time and effort into your relationship, you should also think of your own needs, and of all the other people you love.
From the other perspective, someone wanting to spend all their time with you can be very flattering to begin with, and it can be easy to get swept up in an intense relationship…
…but sooner or later you’ll start feeling overwhelmed by it and want to pull away and withdraw.
So, if you want things to last between you, it’s important to recognize the signs of clinginess early on.
9 Signs Of A Clingy Girlfriend/Boyfriend
Now that you know why clingy behavior can be a problem in a relationship, how can you spot it?
1. Their texts are unrelenting.
Some couples text more, and some text less, but your partner needs to be constantly in touch with you by text – all day, every day.
They get worried, nervous, or angry when you don’t text them back quickly enough.
They like to know exactly where you are at all times and hate it when they can’t get hold of you.
2. They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family.
One of the biggest problems with someone being clingy is that you become the center of their world.
They stop making an effort with everyone else they love.
They don’t bother to see their family and friends anymore, and you seem to be enough for them.
3. They’ve given up their hobbies.
They used to have interests before you met, but they’ve let them slide.
They’d rather spend all of their time with you than keep doing all the things they used to love before the two of you got together.
They might have even exchanged their own hobbies for yours, happily coming along with you to do whatever it is that interests you, whether or not they genuinely want to be there (or whether you want them there).
4. They don’t like it when you do things that don’t include them.
They’ve stopped prioritizing their friends, family, and hobbies, so they make you feel like you should be doing the same.
They might have made it clear that they don’t like you spending time with your friends, or would rather you didn’t keep going to that evening class.
5. They need constant reassurance.
No matter how many times you tell them you love them and how much you try to show them that, they need constant reassurance that you haven’t fallen out of love with them in the last five minutes.
6. They’re always there.
They always assume that they’re invited to things, even if you thought you’d be going alone.
They just assume that the two of you now always do everything together.
Read these to better understand your partner’s clinginess and to help them (article continues below):
- How To Be Less Clingy And Needy In A Relationship
- If You Spot These 20 Signs, You’re Losing Yourself In A Relationship
- How To Stop Being Codependent In Your Relationship
- If You Want To Feel More Loved And Wanted In Your Relationship, Do These 10 Things
- How To Be Emotionally Independent And Stop Relying On Others For Happiness
- How To Give Him Space: 5 Things To Do + 5 Things NOT To Do
7. They’re jealous.
A little bit of jealousy now and again is only natural in any relationship, but it shouldn’t be a constant theme.
There should be trust between you, but they seem to always be convinced that there’s something to be jealous of.
They don’t like it when you spend time with an attractive member of the opposite sex, like a friend or co-worker.
8. They stalk your social media.
It’s normal for your partner to like your posts or share things with you.
But you’ve noticed that they’ve started digging through your past posts and don’t bother to disguise the fact they’re doing it.
They can’t resist asking you questions about that guy who commented on your Instagram picture five years ago or the girl you’re friends with on Facebook.
9. They don’t seem to have their own opinions anymore.
The sad fact is that if someone is insecure in a relationship, they won’t dare to voice any opinions that they know you won’t agree with.
They’ve stopped disagreeing with you on political points or have adopted some of your social and religious beliefs, under the impression that it will make you love them more.
How To Deal With A Clingy Partner
If you’ve realized that you’ve got a clingy girlfriend or boyfriend on your hands, you need to do something about it.
Here are a few tips for how to move forwards.
1. If it’s early days, try to set boundaries.
If the two of you haven’t been dating for long, you’ve still got the opportunity to establish some ground rules between you and make spending a good amount of time apart the norm.
The way you are with each other in the early days will go a long way to dictating the routine that you fall into with one another.
Make sure to spend quality time together, giving them your full attention, but don’t neglect your interests, family, or friends. If you do, it might be hard to back pedal later on.
2. Be honest with yourself.
Just check in with yourself to make sure that they really are being unreasonably clingy, and it’s not that you’re not interested in them anymore.
When we’re going off someone, we tend to find their behavior annoying.
3. Encourage them to get out and about.
Why not suggest that they meet up with an old friend or get back to a hobby they used to love?
Whenever they mention doing things that don’t include you, make sure you’re fully supportive of them.
They might soon come to realize just how beneficial taking time for themselves could be for your relationship.
4. Let them know you need time for yourself.
Don’t be afraid to let your partner know that you need some ‘me time’ now and again.
They should be able to understand your need to have time alone.
5. Talk about it.
If trying to change things subtly hasn’t worked, it might be time to sit down and have a proper chat about their clingy behavior.
Just make sure you don’t actually use the word ‘clingy,’ as it’s not something that anyone wants to be called.
Avoid ‘needy,’ too, and generally be careful with your choice of words, as you could hurt their feelings.
Make sure you’re direct and honest, whilst still being respectful.
Let them know that you love spending time with them, value them, and appreciate them, but that you could benefit from having some time to yourself.
And that you’d love for them to take the time to focus on themselves.
Reassure them that you want things to last between you, and that’s why you think it’s important for the two of you to make changes.
6. Make sure you show them you love them.
If your other half is insecure in the relationship, you need to make sure that you are doing your part to show them that you love and value them, and that their clinginess isn’t springing from your neglect of them.
You shouldn’t have to tell them you love them 50 times a day, but you should make sure you genuinely listen to them, care for them, and take the time to demonstrate your love for them.
Over time, that should help them learn to trust in your love for them and relax into the relationship.
7. Remember that this doesn’t spell the end.
Just because you feel that you need more space from your girlfriend or boyfriend, doesn’t mean that you’re not well suited to one another.
Look at this as a positive thing.
If you’re willing to put the effort into creating a better balance in your relationship, that’s an excellent sign that you really want to make it work.
Your relationship should end up being stronger as a result of the work you put in.