Clinginess is a romance killer. If you worry that you may be too clingy in your relationship or if your partner -- or past partners -- have complained that you're too clingy it's time to think about how to change. If normal, loving behavior is what your partner calls “clingy,” you'll need to think about what it means to express your love in a healthy manner.
Clinginess In Action
Start by examining your past relationship behavior in order to understand and weed out clingy behaviors. Ask yourself if there have been times when you've felt an anxious need to be spending time with your partner, even if the two of you don't have anything in particular to do together and the time may have been better spent apart. Look for times when you've been apart but sought frequent electronic communication or reassurance, or have sought out your partner's emotional support exclusively rather than ever having others to turn to. Understand that these clingy behaviors are an expression of your emotional need, which is a one-sided form of love. Though need has its place in romance, you will strain the relationship if you mistake it for loving gestures that serve your partner's needs.
The Thin Line
Expressing your desire to be with your partner and your craving for his company is an important expression of love, so don't think you have to toss it out completely. Instead, understand that there's often a thin line between appropriate expression of these feelings and a clingy expression. Where that line lies is often in the eye of the beholder. Ask your partner for feedback to get a sense of his comfort level and show respect to his feelings if he finds certain types or levels of expression intimidating. If you feel he ought to work on having a higher tolerance for your emotional needs, say so. Express gratitude and appreciation for her ability to work with you on this issue.
Affection Minus Neediness
Reign in your clinginess and work on learning to meet your partner's needs while setting your own aside. This doesn't mean denying your own needs, it just means finding other ways to get them met, or saving them for a time when your partner is dealing with less stress. "In personal relationships, needy behavior includes asking twice or three times after hearing a No," says psychologist Temma Ehrenfeld . "Self-reliant behavior might mean finding a friend who likes to check in on the phone most nights. " Also, strive to be equals in the arena of meeting each others' needs. Make your partner feel loved and supported by recognizing that there are moments when his needs are more pressing and you need to be the strong or the emotionally supportive one.
Giving your partner space and time to be alone or pursue interests and a life outside of your relationship is important to minimizing clinginess. Do this in a loving way by working to understand and anticipate times when she'll want time alone or time with friends. Suggest fun events or social opportunities that she can enjoy on her own, especially in areas of interest that you don't share. Invite her to spend time on her own on days when she seems stressed out. After you've been apart, express interest in hearing about what's been going on in her life and tell her that you're happy for her in times when she's had fun or had good things happen to her while you were apart.
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