How to Deal With a Clingy Boy When Dating

Ask your guy why he needs you around 24-7.
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If your guy is clinging to you like a shadow, dealing with him daily may seem difficult at best, draining all the fun out of the relationship. That said, you don't have to ditch the dude just because he's needy. Understanding his behavior and communicating with him can help you to handle him and make the most out of your relationship.

1 Understand His Past

His needy behaviors may have very little to do with you. By understanding his past, you may get a better handle on how to deal with his current clingy tendencies. Some people who experience abandonment or emotional pain in their younger years may get clingy in their later relationships, according to psychiatrist Mark Banschick in an article for "Psychology Today." For example, if his mom skipped out on him when he was 5, he may try to fill this void with his teen or adult relationships. The desperate need for love and attention that results may come off as clinginess. If his past is influencing how your boyfriend interacts with you, you can remind him to focus on the now, and point out that you are there for him.

2 Build a Real Relationship

Even though the electricity of attraction is exciting, it isn't enough to maintain a deep relationship long-term. If your guy is acting clingy, what he's feeling is more likely puppy dog love -- or a crush -- and not true love. While his neediness may bother you, making him feel more comfortable in your relationship can help to ease the tension. Get to know each other on a more substantial level. Share your hopes, dreams, fears and goals, creating a real emotional bond. Doing so may make him back off and realize that closeness and clinginess are two separate things.

3 Identities for Each

If your guy is losing himself in your relationship, put a stop to this noticeably needy behavior as soon as possible. Maintaining separate identities is a must if your relationship is going to continue, the experts with TeensHealth point out. When your boyfriend constantly follows your lead, copies your interests or needs to do everything that you do, explain that you are your own person, just as he is. This means that he needs to have his own friendships, take part in his own activities and live his own life that is sometimes away from you. For example, if he enjoys camping -- and you don't -- he should still go ahead and hit the woods with his buds sometimes, without you. Point out that you'll have more interesting things to share with each other if you spend some of your time apart.

4 Communication Connection

Don't expect your guy to be a mind reader or to just know that you think he's too clingy. If you don't outright tell him that there's a problem brewing, he might never figure it out until you explode. Instead of ending things because he doesn't pick up on your "signals" to change, tell him what's on your mind. While you might feel nervous about bringing up this touchy subject or worry that you'll hurt his feelings, keeping quiet isn't a solution. Show your caring side and explain that you want to work things out, but he needs to make some changes.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.