Even if you love your husband completely, it doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment together.
When your spouse is demanding your attention constantly, there’s only so much patience you can have before you just need some space—and “me time” is a healthy thing in a relationship.
So, what do you do if your husband never allows you any time to yourself and takes all of your attention instead?
If this is happening, then there’s usually a reason for it. People don’t just change their behavior and become over-reliant on their partner unless there’s something motivating them to act that way.
Finding out the root of the issue is your best bet for solving it and getting the much-needed balance back into your relationship that you crave.
If you aren’t sure what’s changed for your husband, but you know that you need help before his attention seeking gets too much, read below for some of the more common reasons he could be acting this way and what to do about them.
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1. He’s insecure.
Your husband’s constant need for attention could stem from insecurities you never knew he was suffering from. Encouraging him to talk to you about how he feels and understanding how you can offer him more reassurance could help both him and you find a better balance in your relationship.
He might be worried about other men making a move on you when you’re away from him or that you prefer spending time with other people instead of him, so he can’t ever seem to let you have your own space.
By talking through his fears about your relationship, you can find the best way to reassure him that there’s no reason to have these worries. You can both start to better understand his triggers and work on building up his confidence so that you can have your own space when you need it.
Understanding why he feels insecure is something he ultimately needs to come to terms with; nothing is going to change about the way he feels unless he wants it to change. But you can help by showing him that he’s not alone in this. In this relationship, you’re a team, and you are there to help him overcome these insecurities so you can make your relationship stronger.
2. Your family dynamic has changed your relationship.
Having children is a life-altering event. As incredible and unique as the experience might be for you as a couple, nothing is going to be the same as life before children.
As grateful and happy as you both might be, the constant demand from your child could be challenging for your husband to cope with if he wasn’t as ready for it as he thought he was.
It’s an adjustment to go from being a couple—with each other as your main focus—to sharing your time, love, and energy with a child too.
Your husband’s need for attention could be a sign that he’s missing the connection you used to have when it was just the two of you, and he needs to know that your relationship is still as strong as it ever was.
It’s important to connect as a couple once you’ve had children, and although it might feel impossible, spending quality time together will help both of you feel more secure in your partnership.
3. You’re working too much.
Have you thought about how your job could be affecting your relationship?
Work can be all-consuming, especially when you’re trying to get further in your career or you have a lot of responsibility that’s hard to manage. It’s even worse if you have a difficult team or workplace culture where there is an expectation to work late every day which can eat into your free time.
Your husband might be supportive of your career, but your long working hours could be taking a toll on your relationship. If you’re always working or distracted whenever you are with your spouse, then you’re sacrificing quality time you should be prioritizing.
Your husband’s neediness could be his response to your workload. His constant need for attention is actually a cry for help because he never feels as if he sees you anymore. Any time you do have together, he wants to hold on to you because you aren’t around or present in your relationship the rest of the time.
When a career is important to you, it should be something your husband can understand and support you in. There will always be busier times in your life where work needs to take precedence, but it’s how you prioritize your relationship when this happens that counts.
If you do get a chance to switch off and share some quality time with your spouse, then take it. Try your hardest not to bring up work during this time, and carve out even just an hour where your attention is entirely on your husband and you’re not distracted by everything else you need to do.
The quality time you have together might be less during busier times at work, but it’s still vital to make it a priority. It could help show your husband that despite how hectic life is, he is still your number one.
4. You’re missing date night.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together, date nights are always important to have in a relationship.
If your husband has been craving attention from you and doesn’t seem to ever leave you alone, consider the last time you actually had a fun date night.
The more needy your husband becomes, the more suffocating his behavior can feel, making the idea of setting time aside for him less and less appealing.
But the more you pull away, the more he will cling onto you as his need to reconnect with you starts pushing him to the extreme.
It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or fancy; even making time to just watch a film together or have dinner at home can help keep the spark alive. The most important part is that you’re giving each other your full attention.
Spending any type of quality time together reminds you of the connection you have with each other, and it could satisfy the emotional intimacy your husband feels he’s missing.
5. You’re not having sex.
The physical side of your relationship is still an important one, no matter how long you’ve been together or how much life seems to get in the way.
When was the last time you had sex with your husband without it being planned or hurried? Just a night you both enjoyed and reconnected on a physical level again.
If your husband has been after your attention more than before, he might just be missing the intimacy you once had in your relationship. When life gets busy with family, work, and other commitments, and you just never seem to feel in the mood anymore, your sex life can take a backseat in your marriage.
Getting older and losing body confidence as you’ve both changed over the years can affect how you see yourself and make you stop getting the most out of the physical side of your relationship together.
Sex needs to be a priority. You might not have as much of it as you once did, but it’s still a chance to connect with your spouse in a way you can with no one else. It’s a way to reaffirm your trust, love, and appreciation for each other. It could be what you need to get back that connection your husband feels is missing.
6. Your husband is a different personality type.
It’s not unusual for introverts and extroverts to end up in a relationship together. One brings out the social side of the other, while the other partner can bring a sense of balance and grounding to the first.
But when it comes to your social lives, this alternative way of reacting to the world, and in turn, to each other, might be what’s leading to the friction between you. It could be what’s causing your husband’s constant need for attention.
If you’re an extrovert and your husband is an introvert, and you are used to going out and expending a lot of social energy regularly, this could be something your husband struggles to keep up with. Putting himself in social situations in the same way as you isn’t the stimulating and fun experience you find it to be, and it could even be emotionally draining for him.
He’s looking for reassurance that you still enjoy those evenings when you’re home together, just the two of you. His apparent “neediness” could be a plea for you to spend some more of your attention just on him, without forcing him out of his comfort zone.
Think about how you react to social situations and plans. You understand your husband better than anyone else, and if you know that he struggles more than you to keep up with a busy social life, try to compromise by spending some more time together at home. Prioritizing one-on-one quality time shows him that he’s still your main focus despite your need to be a social butterfly.
7. He needs a hobby.
If your husband is being overly demanding of your attention, maybe it’s because he’s bored.
He might need some encouragement to find an activity he can enjoy on his own or with friends. Start by showing some enthusiasm for the things he likes doing or talking about. It could be a type of sport or fitness activity, even cooking or reading; whatever it is, start asking him more about it and showing an interest so he is encouraged to explore it more himself.
See if you can find any local clubs or groups where he can spend time with likeminded people who share the same interest. It might not be something he’s considered before, but by helping him become more serious in his own hobbies, you’re giving him your blessing to go off, be selfish, and enjoy doing something just for him.
Having your own hobbies doesn’t make you any less of a couple. In fact, it’s important to value what makes each other happy, and by learning to prioritize his own happiness a little more, you’ll find your husband becomes less dependent on you so you can prioritize yours.
8. He needs to meet new people.
If you have a larger group of friends that are more accessible than your husband’s, try inviting him along next time you’re all together.
It can be hard when one partner has a lot of friends they can rely on and see frequently while the other doesn’t have as many—possibly because they have a smaller group of friends or ones that live further away.
But new friendships can always be made, and getting your husband together with the partners of your own friends or other social groups can help widen his own social network.
You don’t always have to have the same friendship groups as your husband, but if you’re finding your husband’s need for attention too much and you think he could benefit from getting out with other people, then involving him in your social groups is an easy place to start.
He might find common ground with other plus ones in your friendship group and gain confidence in himself enough to stop needing constant reassurance from you. Not only do you still get to spend time with your friends, but you don’t have to take the responsibility of your husband’s need for attention all on yourself. You can at least share it in a group of people you know, trust, and enjoy spending time with.
9. Invite him out with you.
Inviting your husband out with you doesn’t necessarily mean he has to come or that he’ll even want to accompany you.
You might be out of the habit of asking your husband to join you when going out with friends or for an activity, because you assume he won’t want to join you.
But just asking the question can make all the difference to how your husband is feeling. If you’re finding that he’s been needing more attention from you than ever before, then it could be because he’s stopped feeling as though he’s a priority to you.
Even though you suspect your husband won’t enjoy your outing, remember it’s always nice to be asked to come along. Simply involving him in your plans can make your husband feel as though he’s been considered and thought of and you’re not just desperate to get away from him.
He might even surprise you and come along and turn it into an unexpected date night. But either way, you’ll be offering him the reassurance he’s missing by showing that you do enjoy spending time with him too, and just because you’re apart some of the time, you haven’t forgotten about him.
10. You’re not celebrating his successes.
What your husband may be lacking is the confidence and ability to trust in himself, so much so, that he depends on you for all of his validation.
He can’t make a decision on his own or be mindful of his own instincts without your approval, making him increasingly reliant on any attention you can give him.
Try to combat this by building up his own self-belief. Support his choices and praise him openly whenever something is working out for him. You should always try to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders in a relationship, but in this situation, push it one step further to help your husband grow the self-confidence he seems to be desperately missing.
The more he sees that he can trust his own instincts and make decisions for himself without the need for your approval, the less he’ll need to be hanging on your every word.
Celebrate what he’s good at, what he’s managed to organize or achieve, and show him that if something doesn’t go his way, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Embrace your role as his cheerleader, not just because it will help him to become more independent, but because it’s the right thing to do for the person you love.
11. You’ve stopped being tactile.
A lot of what we say to each other can be reinforced much more effectively through touch.
Showing that you’re happy with your husband through a meaningful hug, or supporting him by physically holding his hand, or even just flirting with him through a passionate kiss can help emphasize the emotion of the moment and love between you.
If you’re struggling with your husband’s constant need for attention, it could be because you’ve lost some of the tactile, physical connection you once had in your relationship.
His continuous need for your attention and approval could be his way of showing you he misses you and the attention you’re giving him isn’t the right sort of attention he needs. He may not realize this enough to articulate it in any way other than annoying you with his clinginess, but if you’ve lost some of the physicality from your relationship, try introducing it back in again and see if it makes a difference to your husband’s mood.
It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking; it could be as simple as putting your arm around him or holding his hand while you talk and walk. But through these tiny touches, you’re showing your physical support, care, love and attention, more than you ever could through words alone.
12. You’re fighting against it.
If you know that your husband has been needing more attention than usual, how have you reacted to him? Do you give him the attention he wants or are you deliberately withholding it?
Right now, your husband might genuinely need a bit of extra support from you. It could be for any number of reasons, and trying to get to the ‘why’ of his behavior can help you understand and sympathize with him.
It could be a stressful time at work or that he’s going through a difficult time with his friends, family, or even health. It could be that he’s lost his faith in himself or is feeling particularly distant from you and wants to feel the connection between you as a couple again.
Don’t just dismiss how he’s feeling because you find it irritating. Inevitably, diminishing his feelings will only make him feel even more alone and in greater need of reassurance and attention than he already is.
Go along with it for a little while and give him the attention he needs. Show him that you’re there for him in the good times and the bad, and see if you can get him back to the positive place he’s usually in.
13. You need to put up some boundaries.
Having some “me time” is an important part of any healthy relationship.
Your husband must be able to respect you when you need some time to yourself so that you’re able to be a better and more attentive partner when you spend time together.
Making your boundaries clear helps you achieve this. When it comes to how you allot your time, choose your non-negotiables and stick to them so that your husband can manage his expectations regarding the time you have for him.
It could be as simple as asking him not to disturb you while you have a bath or giving you an hour when you wake up first thing in the morning when he knows you want to exercise, read, or just do your own thing.
It might be that you ask him to refrain from messaging you when you’re out with your friends, because you want him to respect the time you’re sharing with other people. Then you can show your husband that he has your full attention when you’re back home.
Try not to give in where your boundaries are concerned. Make sure when you do spend time with your husband that he has your full attention. But when you are having some “me time,” make it clear that, unless it’s an emergency, this time is just for you.
It might take time for him to understand, but having some alone time can help you appreciate the moments you have together much more. Having a minute alone with your own thoughts, focusing on just what makes you happy rather than someone else, can help you feel more balanced in yourself, rather than becoming resentful or irritated about what’s being asked of you by your husband.
A lot of what causes someone to become overly attached to their spouse is to do with a lack of confidence. This could be something new, or it may have always been a character trait for your husband, but addressing it is the best way for you to handle his constant need for attention.
Getting annoyed and angry at your husband, although understandable when you just need some space, isn’t the answer and will only put a strain on your relationship. Try to be understanding about his needs, and put your energy into finding the cause of his attention seeking rather than pulling away from him.
Every relationship needs balance and that includes allowing each member of a couple to still feel like the individual they are. Your whole identity shouldn’t be based on just your relationship, you still need your own interests, friends, and time to enjoy life for your own sake and not as a pair.
It might not be easy, but do your best to show your husband you are there for him no matter what. Don’t dismiss his feelings just because you find him irritating or demanding. Stick to your promise of being there for him in the good and the bad and try to work out where his need for attention is coming from.
Work together as a team to find a long-term solution for your present problem so you can bring back the balance you desperately need in your marriage.
Still not sure what to do about your husband’s need for constant attention? This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But HeyRitual can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. It includes regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert and tailored videos, advice, and exercises via an app. Learn more about HeyRitual and start your journey today, either individually or as a couple—get 20% off when you use the code RETHINK20.
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