How to Deal With a Clingy Partner in a Relationship

A needy person can drive a partner away in a relationship.
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Relationships should be full of compliments, love and affection. When a partner feels their significant other is needy and clingy, a relationship can begin to feel more like a chore. Both partners should feel their emotional needs and desires are being met. When one person commandeers the attention in the relationship it can be indicative of low self-esteem, narcissism, childhood issues regarding self-image or just their personality type. It is necessary to redefine the parameters of the relationship to be mutually beneficial for both partners.

1 Negotiate New Terms

A clingy partner may come across as endearing in the beginning of a relationship. But as things progress, the clingy partner may become overbearing and draining. Co-dependence occurs when one partner is excessively demanding of the time, attention and affection of the other. A co-dependent relationship must be dealt with in a way that mutually benefits both parties. Negotiate new terms for the relationship, advises the website Co-Dependence Freedom. The terms should include time for privacy and activities that each partner can do alone.

2 Childhood Issues

The root of a partner’s neediness may be found in his childhood. When someone has had a difficult childhood -- struggling for attention, not achieving what was expected of him -- he can grow into a needy adult, according to a Psychology Today article, “Who Wants to be Needy? Six Solutions,” by Mark Banschick, a psychiatrist. Understanding the root of this incessant desire for attention may make it easier to handle. It does not mean a partner can continue demanding more attention and affection -- unless their partner is willing to accept clingy behavior.

3 A Vicious Cycle

When one person in a relationship is needy for emotional, mental and physical attention he can become depressed if he feels his needs are not being met, according to "Personality, Interpersonal Context and Depression in Couples," by Valerie Whiffen and Jennifer Aube, psychologists. Withdrawal of attention and affection by the non-clingy partner can send the clingy partner into depression because he feels rejected. Whiffen and Aube recommend counseling to address issues creating the clingy nature and help the couple learn new ways of meeting needs mutually.

4 Narcissistic Tendencies

A person demanding endless compliments from a partner, but who is unwilling to focus on anyone but themselves, may be a narcissist, according to the article, "Narcissism and Romantic Attraction," by W. Keith Campbell, psychology professor. Narcissists attract partners who offer praise freely. Campbell says a relationship with a narcissist can become emotionally draining and lacking in intimacy. If the narcissist refuses to deal with the issue, the relationship may not succeed.

Jaime Vargas-Benitez has been a parenting writer since 2010. She has worked in the child wellness field in various roles for over 20 years. Along with the experiences of raising her own kids, she has been privileged enough to participate in the raising of hundreds of other children as well.