How to Not Be Clingy in Relationships

  1. 9 Ways To Be Less Clingy In Your Relationship
  2. 1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically
  3. Warming up
  4. Stay hydrated
  5. Meditate
  6. 2. Focus on your goal
  7. 3. Convert negativity to positivity
  8. 4. Understand your content
  9. 5. Practice makes perfect
  10. 6. Be authentic
  11. 7. Post speech evaluation
  12. Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation
  13. Improve your next speech
  14. 5 Clingy Relationship Behaviors That Are Hurting Your Love Life
  15. 1. You’re Neglecting Your Friends
  16. 2. They’re Monitoring their Social Media Activity
  17. 3. They’re Irrationally Jealous
  18. 4. They Message You Excessively
  19. 5. They’re Speeding the Relationship Up Too Quickly
  20. 9 Signs Your Partner Is Too Clingy (& Expert Advice For Handling It)
  21. 1. They Are Always Blowing Up Your Phone
  22. 2. They Feel Insecure Around Your Attractive Friends Or Co-Workers
  23. 3. They Come On Too Strong With Social Media
  24. 4. They Hate It When You Go Out Without Them
  25. 5. They’ll Tag Along Everywhere, Even Without An Invite
  26. 6. They Don’t Seem To Have Their Own Friends Or Interests
  27. 7. They’re Holding Back Their Real Opinions
  28. 8. You Need To Constantly Reassure Them Of Your Love
  29. 9. They’re Physically Clingy
  30. What To Do About A Partner Who’s Too Clingy
  31. 9 Signs You Might Be The
  32. What does it mean to be clingy?
  33. Where the behavior comes from.
  34. 1. Demanding reassurance again and again
  35. 2. Expecting constant communication and interaction
  36. 3. Hypervigilance and surveillance
  37. 4. Indirect communication of needs 
  38. 5. Complete awareness of your partner's moods at the cost of your own
  39. 6. Reluctance to give space 
  40. 7. Insecurity about the people in their life 
  41. 8. Controlling mannerisms
  42. 9. A partner's withdrawal
  43. How to stop being clingy in a relationship.
  44. 1. Learn to manage your anxiety on your own.
  45. 2. Include your partner in the process.
  46. 3. Take small risks to build trust.
  47. 4. Work with a therapist.
  48. How to respond if your partner is being clingy.

9 Ways To Be Less Clingy In Your Relationship

How to Not Be Clingy in Relationships

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.


Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which ly includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Decide on the progress you’d your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this you normally would with a close family or friend. It is having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting.

A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:


5 Clingy Relationship Behaviors That Are Hurting Your Love Life

How to Not Be Clingy in Relationships
 Written by Writer’s Corps member Alexis Anderson 

A lot of us are clingy sometimes, especially at the start of a new relationship. When everything feels fresh and exciting and you can’t wait to hang out again and again. It can come as a surprise when your partner asks for space.

While clingy tendencies may have been “ok” in your previous relationship, being overly needy is generally considered a toxic dating habit. As Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.

, points out in her article Why Clingy Partners Cling, clingy partners usually have low self-esteem and “fear becoming abandoned,” despite having a positive outlook on their romantic partner. As a result, “they seek constant reassurance, emotional support, and closeness.

” And what’s worse is many clingy or obsessive behaviors are portrayed as idyllic in movies and literature, making it difficult to tell when you’re being overbearing.

1. You’re Neglecting Your Friends

It is normal to want to spend a lot of time with your partner. These feelings can be intensified in a new relationship leading the both of you to neglect your relationships with family and friends.

However, you shouldn’t feel pressured to sacrifice time at work, with friends, or time needed for yourself to be with your partner. If your significant other is constantly making you feel guilty for time spent apart, you should communicate how unfair and unhealthy it is to make you feel guilty for needing time to yourself.

You cannot be everything to your partner and it’s important to make connections with people outside of your relationship.

2. They’re Monitoring their Social Media Activity

If your significant other is frequently questioning you about your relationship with people on social media, wanting to see your text messages or making harsh accusations little to no information, you should address the insecurity right away.

wise, if there is trust in your relationship you shouldn’t check your partner’s social media activity to confirm their whereabouts. Having a discussion that gets to the root of their insecurity or distrust can help resolve this invasive behavior.

Be sure to emphasize that you are not okay with the behavior and would to know the motivation behind it.

3. They’re Irrationally Jealous

Jealousy is an emotion that everyone feels on occasion but it is important that it’s communicated in a healthy way. That said, your partner shouldn’t be lashing out when you mention, spend time with, or communicate with anyone they feel threatened by. Jealousy doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. Honest communication is the first step in addressing the problem.

If you sense your partner is jealous, open the conversation and ask them why they feel this way. From there, you can try to resolve these feelings by discussing it further. If the issue isn’t resolved, you have to establish boundaries regarding behaviors you will not tolerate prying questions about your social media or trying to control your interactions with others online.


4. They Message You Excessively

Getting a lot of messages from your partner is fine, but the content of those messages is what matters most.

If you are getting an overload of messages demanding whereabouts or making accusations, this is unhealthy for your relationship. It is important to explain to your partner that you do not owe them information.

This will open the conversation to setting boundaries and hopefully resolve the underlying insecurities causing the behavior.

5. They’re Speeding the Relationship Up Too Quickly

Talk to your partner about moving too quickly if they’re pressuring you to take big steps in your relationship, saying “I love you” before you’re ready. While ideally, you want to grow together, it’s important to be on the same page in terms of the amount of time and attention you can give to one another.

If you feel your partner is moving too quickly, you should be honest about your comfortability. To open the conversation, ask them what their current expectations are in the relationship. And make sure you’re honest about your expectations as well.

Setting boundaries for the pace you would to take will improve your confidence in your relationship and relieve any pressures to move faster.

On one hand, it’s totally normal for your partner to need you, however, the trouble comes when they become emotionally overbearing.

In most cases, your partner won’t know how their neediness impacts your relationship–in which case, the behaviors can be resolved through open communication. Being honest about what concerns you and getting clear on your motivation will help them move past these unhealthy behaviors.

That said, we understand that setting boundaries with your partner can be difficult. Take a look at this article for more tips on handling conflict.

And if your partner displays one or more of these clingy behaviors and open communication about how it’s making you feel does not result in changes in their behavior, that’s a sign that the relationship is unhealthy and you should talk to someone or get help. Connect with a peer advocate in real time by texting “loveis” to 22522 or call 1-866-331-9474. 


9 Signs Your Partner Is Too Clingy (& Expert Advice For Handling It)

How to Not Be Clingy in Relationships

The word “clingy” rarely conjures positive associations when it comes to relationships.

When you think of a clingy person, you’re probably picturing someone suffocating their partner with constant affection, or someone who falls to pieces if they have to spend any meaningful time away from their other half.

But, according to sex therapist Vanessa Marin, that less-than-flattering portrait might not be giving the partners we label clingy as much empathy as they deserve.

“My general approach on clinginess is usually that it's coming from a place of anxiety and fear rather than from a place of controlling,” Marin explains. “I think [the word] implies a certain judgment. I think people who are exhibiting clingy behaviors are really coming from a place of insecurity.

They've probably had lots of experiences in the past where people took advantage of them or broke their trust.

” So we might call it clingy if a boyfriend can’t stop calling their significant other, but on the other end of that phone might be someone trying to deal with an extreme worry that perhaps something happened to their partner, or maybe they’re out cheating on them at that very moment.

Still, that isn’t a reason to excuse the behavior. A partner whose insecurities and fears result in a smothering relationship isn’t healthy for anyone, no matter how well you can empathize with their concerns. Here are some signs of clingy behavior that are worth paying attention to.

1. They Are Always Blowing Up Your Phone

If you find that you’re constantly getting a barrage of calls and texts, Psychologist Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC, has some insight on this oft-labeled clingy behavior.

According to Martinez, jealousy and clinginess often go hand-in-hand. Martinez said, “People who are jealous and insecure will tend to cling to their partner as a means of keeping a closer eye on them.

” Part of that, Martinez added, is wanting to feel they know what their partner is doing at all times.

If it feels your partner is constantly keeping tabs on you in this way, it may be a red flag to take note of.

If their behavior springs less from jealousy and more from fear and anxiety, Marin explains they may continue the calls and texts, and act hurt when you finally do get in touch. Regardless of the motivation, it’s an important behavior to address together.

2. They Feel Insecure Around Your Attractive Friends Or Co-Workers

Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images

Marin explains that seeing you hanging around with your super hot pals or even professional acquaintances might trigger insecurity in someone with clingy behaviors. Beyond the expected fears that infidelity may be a concern, that partner could get lost in a spiral of comparison.

According to Marin, it might make them ask themselves things , “‘Oh my God, is that person more attractive than I am? More desirable than I am? Smarter than I am? More charming than I am?’” This kind of reaction further underscores the connection between clinginess and insecurity.

3. They Come On Too Strong With Social Media

Does your partner constantly post about you guys? Did they want to be ‘in a relationship’ on a little too soon? Have they been grilling you about a person standing in the background of a picture you posted four years ago? According to Marin, this might be a sign of clingy behavior.

She also sees a lot of “checking in” on a partner on social, wanting to keep tabs on who they’re following, who they’re leaving comments for, etc. It can be a particularly tricky issue when it comes to random ‘hot person’ accounts that aren’t mutual friends.

It triggers that insecurity of, “Well, why are you following them?” Marin explains.

Some people don’t mind their partner double tapping hot pictures of butts all day on Instagram, and others get very insecure and maybe even clingy as a result because of it. The trick, Marin explains, is about understanding your limits as a couple.

“I try to coach couples around defining the boundaries that feel good for them. So there might be some couples who say, ‘I don't care, it's on social media, nothing's happening in real life.

’ But there might be other couples for who it feels it's bordering on cheating,” she says. “So it's something that every couple is going to have to navigate for themselves.

And it's definitely tricky when you're just dating and not really talking a ton about what kind of guidelines and rules you want to have for your relationship,” she adds.

4. They Hate It When You Go Out Without Them

If your partner reacts negatively at the prospect of your hanging out with your friends without them, that’s a sign to pay attention to. According to Martinez, a clingy person will often spend much of the time spent away from their significant other worrying about what they’re doing.

For you, a night out might seem a chance to let off steam and catch up with friends — for them it could translate to a night home worrying on the couch.

“A clingy partner would feel the desire to want to spend as much time together as possible, and would probably be asking you to schedule a lot of things, and maybe get hurt or upset if you make plans with other people,” Marin adds.

Martinez said it could go the opposite way as well. If they have plans without you, they might feel unable to enjoy that time away from you, and might spend most of it thinking about you, what you’re doing, and when you’ll be together again. For people that value alone time (something that is very important for anyone in a relationship), this can present a difficult situation.

5. They’ll Tag Along Everywhere, Even Without An Invite

AleksandarGeorgiev/E+/Getty Images

This is one of those signs that on a surface level appears just an inconvenience — picture a puppy following you from room to room — but is actually veering more toward sinister. Showing up uninvited, Marin explains, is a sign that the behavior might be more controlling than clingy.

“The clingy person would have the desire to just spend a lot of time together, but might not necessarily take the step of actually hunting you down,” she says, adding that dropping in unannounced could be a signal of a partner wanting to check up on you, survey who you’re spending time with, and make sure you’re on your “best” behavior. This type of behavior is a big red flag, Marin says, and could be indicative of coercive control.

6. They Don’t Seem To Have Their Own Friends Or Interests

Clingy partners may leave their friends, hobbies, and interests behind in favor of aligning themselves with yours. Martinez explains, “Clingy partners tend to make their partner their whole world.

” So if they used to love badminton but quit in favor of joining your rec kick ball team, this may mean they don’t feel secure enough to have interests of their own — especially ones that don’t include you.

“There can be a such a desire for closeness that that person's willing to mold themselves to fit into the person that they think you would be most attracted to,” Marin adds. This often comes from a fear that they’re not good enough as they are, and a desire to become the perfect partner, she says.

7. They’re Holding Back Their Real Opinions

When it comes to a clingy partner, they’re ly to try and share opinions they think you’ll agree with. If you want to order pizza for dinner, then that’s what they’ve been craving all day. If you thought the best picture Oscar nominees were all overrated this year, then they agree, all those films were trash!

“They're trying to create closeness at the expense of their own needs and their identity,” Marin says. “So I think they would be pretty tuned into, ‘What is it that this person wants to see from me?’”. Marin adds that you’re unly to see a slow decline into this type of deference to a partner, and that it would probably be present from the start of the relationship.

8. You Need To Constantly Reassure Them Of Your Love

No matter how many times you say it, they want you to say it once more. In any relationship, all of us expect a certain amount of reassurance that our partner loves us, but clingy partners take this to the extreme. This might be due to their constant need to be reassured of the soundness of the relationship and to overcome that relationship insecurity.

“The sad thing is that often, no matter how much the partner gives, or allows, it will never be enough to make the [other] partner feel trusting and secure in the relationship,” Martinez says.

9. They’re Physically Clingy

Obvious as it may seem, it’s an important sign to address nonetheless. Clinginess can certainly manifest physically, be it a need to constantly hold hands or pack on PDA by way of kisses and touching when you’re out and about. “They just want to always be touching you and have some sort of physical contact. They can be soothed by that level of contact,” Marin explains.

But, she adds, this is where things can get tricky, because people have different tolerances for levels of touch. “To one person it feels , ‘Oh my God, my partner is so clingy.

’ And to the other person, it feels , ‘Wow, my partner just hates being touched!’”.

So before writing someone off as clingy, it’s worth exploring if it may in fact be your personal sensitivity to touch that’s creating or adding to the tension.

What To Do About A Partner Who’s Too Clingy

Wang Yukun/Moment/Getty Images

If many of these points are resonating with you but you still want believe the relationship is worth working on, there are things you can do to improve the situation.

Martinez offered her advice, noting that you first need to make it a point to set healthy boundaries with your significant other as soon as possible. According to Martinez, this means explaining to your partner the importance of spending an equal amount of time together and time apart.

Martinez said if you work to make this balance the ‘norm,’ you’re helping to set a good pattern for the relationship.

Martinez added, “If the partner continues to struggle with these issues, and they care about them, they may want to suggest individual therapy as a means of working on where these issues and needs are coming from. Another option is a few couples therapy sessions where they are able to set ‘ground rules’ and talk about where each of their needs come from. From here they can come to compromises.”

Marin adds that there may be some internal interrogation for you to work on, too. “There are definitely red flag behaviors that we want to look out for with partners and discuss with them before they get bigger and more serious,” she says.

“And at the same time, I think these kinds of things are opportunities to check within ourselves and say, okay, is this a red flag about this person, or might there be something coming up for me around this?” It might be more about the dynamics between you two that are stirring something up, and not necessarily that one person is clingy and one person is distant, full stop. Sometimes people can be different with different levels of needs, and that dissonance causes conflict. Figuring out your potential triggers and contributions to that dissonance can help push the conversation forward.

It’s important to remember that clinginess has many different root causes, and while certainly alarming, may not be the relationship death sentence it seems. With open communication, empathy, and clear boundaries, you and your partner can develop a much healthier outlook — and give each other a little space.


Vanessa Marin, Sex therapist

Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC

This article was originally published on April 13, 2016

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9 Signs You Might Be The

How to Not Be Clingy in Relationships

Love can inspire transcendence and a yearning to melt with your partner profoundly.

However, that longing can quickly slip into overwhelming neediness if you begin to prioritize the relationship above all else.

«Merging» in relationships generates physical and emotional closeness, but taken to its extreme, it can veer into what people sometimes refer to as being «clingy» or «clinginess.»

What does it mean to be clingy?

Clinginess is an act of resisting separation by holding tight or grasping onto something.

In romantic relationships, the term is often used to describe someone who needs reassurance from their partners in a heavy-handed, frenzied, or even compulsive manner.

It often looks someone who asks for repeated promises in the relationship, yet even after their partner goes their way to demonstrate their love and commitment, the «clingy» person remains skeptical of how the other person is really feeling. 

«Clingy behavior comes from a person's desire to fulfill their unmet needs, whether it be emotional, physical, spiritual, or mental,» couples' therapist Beverley Andre, LMFT, tells mbg.

«The person is experiencing fear and anxiety that is attached to a belief they won't get their needs met, so they cling even harder to a person or situation to prevent the risk of this happening.


Notably, the word «clingy» tends to have a strong negative connotation, according to couples' therapist Aparna Sagaram, LMFT. «It's more helpful to use the term 'anxious attachment.

' This means you worry about the other person losing interest or leaving you, so you need constant reassurance.

» The anxious attachment style is one of four attachment styles a person can have, according to the psychology framework known as attachment theory.

Clinginess often gets a bad rap, but oftentimes, people who are exhibiting clingy behavior may not be aware of how they're coming off. The terror of abandonment overrides their ability to stay cool since they are more focused on soothing their insecurities.

Patterns will commonly manifest in behaviors such as incessantly texting your S.O.

throughout the day to check in, excessively monitoring their social media accounts to see what they're up to, and making early effusive professions of love (which may ring hollow in certain moments) to secure a closer connection.

Where the behavior comes from.

Clinging actually serves as a unique tell that a person ly has a dysregulated relationship to their attachment system. In other words, as both Sagaram and Andre explain, attachment issues are the underlying reason behind their relational anxiety. 

«Attachment develops in infancy between parent and child. How a parent responds to their child impacts attachment style,» Sagaram adds.

«If a child is unsure how a parent will react or the parent is inconsistent with responses, the child is ly going to develop an anxious attachment.

Your attachment style to caregivers is most ly the same attachment style you will develop with a romantic partner.»

If there wasn't an early opportunity for you to fortify trust with a caregiver, it becomes harder, later on, to nurture emotionally safe relationships and feel your needs can be expressed and attended to. As an adult, you may then externalize that internal angst toward your partner and what they can do to remedy your insecurities. 

«Attachment styles are a factor when understanding why some people are clingier than others,» Andre explains.

«Someone with a secure attachment style will have healthier boundaries and most ly not see their partner's independence threateningly, as compared to someone with an anxious attachment style who leans more toward clingy behavior when it comes to separation.

The need for independence would most ly be perceived as a lack of investment in the relationship, or [a belief] this is an indicator the relationship is ending.» 

1. Demanding reassurance again and again

Clingy partners ask for reassurance constantly and yet still feel persistent doubt. That might sound : 

  • «I don't believe you love me. How do you know that you do?»
  • «Do you think I'm attractive?»
  • «Are you sure?»
  • «Will you ever leave me?»
  • «I don't deserve you.»
  • «I love you so much, I would do anything for you. Would you do anything for me?»
  • «Can you tell me again?» 

Your partner can say and do all the right things, but it won't calm your fears in a meaningful, long-term way since you don't totally believe them.

You might pose the same questions again a few weeks later or when you're feeling particularly apprehensive about your S.O. and their affections.

To solidify the relationship, you may accelerate I-love-yous and want to forcibly take big, tangible steps in the relationship (maybe even before the relationship is ready for it) so you can feel confident about their feelings and your future together. 

2. Expecting constant communication and interaction

«There is a driving need to know what their partner is up to constantly,» Andre says. You may bombard your partner with texts, emails, GChats, and Facetimes throughout the day when you're not together, and you panic if they don't respond quickly enough.

Your passions and hobbies take a back seat as you make yourself available for your partner in case they want to hang out. You expect a plus one if they're going out with their friends, or you may secretly hope they'll cancel their plans to spend more devoted one-on-one time with you. 

Any attempts for them to live their life outside of the relationship could be misinterpreted as abandonment or them pulling away from you. In response, you try to close the gap to gain more intimacy. While you feel panicked if they're not around you physically, your partner can feel exhausted and resentful you're using them as a crutch for your emotional welfare. 

3. Hypervigilance and surveillance

Overbearing behaviors may also show up in the form of checking your partner's social media, asking to share phone passwords because you don't trust them, and at its worst, snooping through their phone without their permission. You might also ask them to share locations but then never want to turn it off to ensure they're doing what they say they're doing. 

Since you've ly emptied your life of most things besides your relationship, you might also use your extra free time to stalk their exes online or forensically go through their comments, s, and followers. (There's also a tendency to bring past baggage into the present relationship.) 

4. Indirect communication of needs 

Relationships with clinginess don't always have the cleanest boundaries since you might always want to move closer to your partner to the point of total immersion.

As a result, Sagaram notes, clingy people may struggle to ask for what they need in a relationship.

For example, instead of a straightforward request, you might beat around the bush first to gauge if they think it's a problem and if they would be interested in having that conversation with you before pushing it forward. 

Making such requests can make you feel deeply vulnerable because you're scared that if you bring up your needs, which feel unwieldy and big, they will back away and leave you. So you may resort to mixed signals, indirect methods, or strategic manipulation to get what you're hoping for without having to say it. 

5. Complete awareness of your partner's moods at the cost of your own

Sagaram says a person exhibiting clingy behavior will be «very attentive to [their] partner's mood and behavior and will adjust accordingly to ease any tension.

» There's a chameleon effect in play as you adjust and discard certain parts of yourself to elicit a specific reaction and reestablish security in the relationship.

You want to be more loved, so you may change your identity to fit what you think they want because inherently, you don't believe you are good enough as you are. 

You could drop whatever's going on in your life and your real thoughts to do anything you can to seek reassurance from them.

The problem is that your sense of self locks up in a holding pattern and remains in flux as you shape your values and personality around your partner's momentary preferences.

While their emotions provide valuable information, feelings are transient and aren't meant to operate as static truth since it's always shifting. 

6. Reluctance to give space 

When you're together, you want to literally «cling» and be super close through cuddles and lots of kisses.

It sounds wonderful in theory and is often idealized in pop culture and movies, but in practice, it can feel suffocating to be on the receiving end.

According to Andre, there's little to no regard for boundaries and physical space even if your partner expresses their discomfort.

7. Insecurity about the people in their life 

Sagaram points out that a clingy person may also feel easily threatened by their partners' friends or acquaintances. You may be insecure around the people in their life and believe your S.O.

is attracted to, their attractive co-worker, their childhood best friend, or the new cashier at the salad bar you both frequent.

No matter who it is, there's a real feeling of threat by the people they surround themselves with. 

8. Controlling mannerisms

Clinginess can take a turn toward controlling behavior if power and wanting to gain the upper hand enters the picture.

You may want your partner to fulfill specific expectations, and if they don't, it can intensify thoughts that they aren't doing what you need because they don't love you enough.

«The [clingy] person believes they have all rights and authority to dictate many aspects in their partner's life,» Andre says.

9. A partner's withdrawal

You can also look to your partner for signs that you're behaving in a way that's being interpreted as clingy.

«One way to recognize if you're being clingy is if your partner starts to withdraw emotionally and physically.

This is called the pursue-and-withdraw cycle—the more attempts you make to connect with your partner, instead of the connection being reciprocated, your partner withdraws,» Andre explains. 

How to stop being clingy in a relationship.

«You can be in a healthy relationship with an anxious attachment,» Sagaram says. «It's about learning how to manage the anxiety.» The goal is to work toward having a more secure attachment style, she adds.

Here are a few places to start:

1. Learn to manage your anxiety on your own.

The first step is awareness and admitting you might be perpetuating these patterns. It can be uncomfortable to examine your insecurities, but it is an important step so you can start to nourish your relationship with yourself to achieve proper balance and manage your anxiety on your own.

For strategies to work through the anxiety, Sagaram recommends surrounding yourself with people who are securely attached. «Get comfortable asking for what you need in relationships. Believe your partner when they reassure you. It's OK to need reassurance from others, but learn to give yourself reassurance too,» she says. 

2. Include your partner in the process.

It could also be helpful to include your partner into your processing so you can get their perspective and work on recreating the relationship together. «Ask them how they are understanding and experiencing your behavior. Partners are able to provide invaluable observations to a problem that you may not be able to see,» Andre says.

3. Take small risks to build trust.

«Healing looks getting clear on your needs. It also looks allowing people in and taking small risks to trust they will show up for you,» Sagaram advises. «Start with low-risk situations, and build from there.

It also helps to state to your partner that you are worried about the reaction if you express a need. Vulnerability goes a long way in relationships and has the potential to heal anxious attachments.

The right person will want to make you feel emotionally safe in a relationship.»

4. Work with a therapist.

If a partner's reassurances are still falling flat for you, she recommends getting professional help. «This might be a sign that the attachment wound may be deeper than what a partner can soothe.» Therapy can help interrogate the root of your fears, rebuild trust, and lead to healthier relationships as you learn to communicate honestly with yourself and others.

How to respond if your partner is being clingy.

If you've ever experienced a clinging partner, it's ly that despite your best efforts, you weren't able to address their fears without losing yourself. When the relationship is going through rocky extremes, it's essential to recalibrate and work on containing yourself. 

Having a talk with your partner and naming specific boundaries will help develop interdependence in the relationship. It's good to remember to be empathetic to your partner during these conversations. Their clinginess doesn't sum up the entirety of who they are—they just need some help anchoring back to their own sense of self.

«I suggest lovingly bringing it to their attention. I stress lovingly because tone can easily turn this conversation into an accusatory one,» Andre recommends.

«Convey to your partner the behaviors you have been noticing, and from a place of curiosity ask if they have noticed it as well, and if so, what is the behavior connected to.

Once those answers are known, both of you can address any unresolved issues that may have come up and then transition to creating healthier boundaries within the relationship.»

Sweaty palms and a racing heart are typically associated with love, but real love inspires calm, not anxiety. Your partner can do their best to offer certainty, but one person isn't meant to give that level of encompassing security to anyone. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you can have. 

As you move toward secure attachment and healthy regulation, you will cultivate a growth-oriented mindset that calls for your partner to embrace life and its myriad changes with you.


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