How Not to Be Clingy: Dating Advice for Girls

Let your grip go and stop smothering your guy.
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No matter how much he adores you, clinging to him like a Needy Nancy won't keep your relationship going. Finding the "just right" blend between hanging out and hanging on is a must if you don't want your guy to see you as clingy. Before you start shadowing your guy, constantly calling him or texting non stop, take a breath and step back into a less needy approach.

1 Interdependence vs. Dependence

Every relationship includes some form of dependence, notes psychiatrist Mark Banschick in his article "Overcoming Neediness" on the "Psychology Today" website. That said, there's a normal type of dependence -- also known as interdependence -- and an overly clingy version. Interdependence is a mutual behavior, in which you both depend on each other for emotional support. For example, you call your guy when you have a bad day at work and he texts you when he needs to vent about his not-so-nice friend. The first step in cutting the cling is understanding where you fall on the interdependence vs. dependence continuum. If you are both equal in this area, there's nothing to fear. On the other hand, if you're constantly relying on him -- much more than he does with you -- it's time to relax your grip.

2 Don't Act Desperately

A desperate play to become a couple -- clinging relentlessly to a guy -- won't help you to win his heart. Desperately wanting to become one with him can come off as needy. Avoid making drastic changes or trying to assume your guy's identity as a way of feeling closer to him. Although you're a couple, maintaining separate identities is key to a real relationship, according to the article "Am I in a Healthy Relationship?" on the TeensHealth website. For example, instead of always asking your guy if you can go play pool with him -- even though you don't really enjoy it -- go out with your own friends.

3 Stop and Relax

It's been 15 minutes since you texted your guy and he still hasn't gotten back to you. With a desperate need to hear back, you text him again. And again. And yet, again. What are the chances that he'll text you back now? Far less than after the first time that you texted. If you're feeling anxious or like you absolutely have to talk to him right now, take a moment to relax. Unless there's a true emergency -- such as you're stranded at the mall and you need him to pick you up before you break curfew -- turn your attention towards something else. Sit down and focus on your breathing, go for a jog or call a girlfriend instead of getting clingy.

4 Self-Esteem Builder

Sometimes your clingy behavior has a cause -- and it's your lack of self-esteem. If you're looking to your guy to make you feel good about yourself, stop there and take a glance inward. Instead of constantly asking your boyfriend, "Do you like me?" or, "Don't you think I'm pretty," focus on how you feel about yourself. Build your self-confidence, recognizing what you can and can't change about yourself. Stop thinking negative thoughts and concentrate on your positive qualities. Instead of relying on your guy's opinion to boost your self-esteem, list what you like about yourself. For example, write down that you are smart, funny, a caring friend and a good listener.

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.