“Love should not cause suffocation and death if it is truly love. Don’t bundle someone into an uncomfortable cage just because you want to ensure their safety in your life. The bird knows where it belongs, and will never fly to a wrong nest.” – Michael Bassey Johnson
Everyone likes to have their own space, even in a relationship. Spending time together is one of the greatest joys in a partnership, but having time to yourself is something that all people need, even if you love being around your significant other. Sometimes, though, our partners can hang around a little too much. Being clingy has a whole host of negative connotations, and you may not notice it until it becomes a problem, or when someone else points it out to you.
Relationship development expert AJ Harbinger says, “At some point, we’ve all exhibited needy behaviors. What’s worse, it can suddenly grip us from time to time in certain contexts, even if it’s not a constant characteristic, which is part of why feelings of neediness can be so scary, difficult and unpredictable to manage.”
Having a clingy partner can cause issues in the relationship, even if you love them and understand where they’re coming from, whether it be abandonment issues or low self-esteem. Knowing the important signs that your partner is too clingy will help you be able to address the issue and deal with it before it starts to cause problems in the relationship.
Here Are 7 Signs You’re Dealing With A Clingy Partner
1. They’re always texting / calling you
This is one of the earliest and most obvious signs that your partner is far too clingy. The minute you two are apart they are texting you, constantly. They seem to get distressed or uncomfortable if they don’t know where you are or don’t have access to talk to you whenever they want to. If you’re out with your friends, you may notice that they’re constantly sending you messages and making sure that they’re always in contact with you.
Psychologist Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC says, “People who are jealous and insecure will tend to cling to their partner as a means of keeping a closer eye on them.” The best way to deal with this is to let them know there are certain times that you can’t talk, and set a firm boundary. It may be difficult for them to adjust to, but it’ll make the relationship go a lot smoother.
2. When you don’t respond, they become distressed
If they send you a text message and you don’t respond within a certain period of time, it may cause them to get distressed, nervous or upset. The reasons for this can be varied: they may catastrophize a situation, or they may be worried you’re angry with them or they’re insecure.
Toronto based dating coach Christine Hart says, “Generally, being clingy and being insecure go hand in hand.” Letting your partner know that there are going to be times that you can’t respond and that it doesn’t mean anything bad can help quell their fears. Your partner may also want to seek anxiety counseling.
3. They’re far too interested in your social media
If your partner likes to look at your Instagram, or tags you in things on Facebook, this isn’t too much of an issue. However, if they’re starting to dig through your social media and begin to ask you invasive questions about a comment that you received on an old Instagram post, or questioning the people you have on your friends list, it may be a sign your partner is a little too nervous and clingy. Discussing with them honestly what their fears are and why they feel the need to dig so much can help get to the bottom of the feeling that is driving the behavior.
4. They hate when you go out without them
Sometimes, people in relationships have different sets of friends. If your partner becomes upset or distressed when you go out with your friends without them, this is a red flag that your partner is a little too clingy – especially if you only go out occasionally, and they get upset every time. This could be due to your partner not having the same type of support system or friend circle. They may be feeling left out if they don’t go out as much. Encouraging them to find a group of friends that they can go out with will make them feel more at ease when you leave the house.
5. They adopt all your interests … and drop their own
An overly clingy partner will want to have as much in common with you as possible, even if this means abandoning things that they once enjoyed in order to adopt your interests, even if they don’t really like them.
That’s because “the basis around clinginess is the fear of not being loved and not being enough,” says Bernardo Mendez, a relationship coach for women.
The best way to handle this is to encourage your partner to continue to do the things that they like, and even engage in them with them. An overly clingy partner will want you to be the center of their world – and sometimes they have to be shown that you’re not!
6. They hold back their feelings or opinions
Clingy partners tend to be extremely self-conscious or have low self-esteem. This can result in them holding back their true opinions, or allowing your own worldview to become their own. Clingy partners tend to do this in order to make sure that they don’t drive their partners away. Making sure that your partner feels safe expressing their political, religious or social beliefs around you can alleviate this desire to change their opinions to match your own.
7. They’re more into you than you are into them
This is a tough one to deal with. If you’re dating someone casually, it may be clear that they’re far more into you than you are into them.
Author Elizabeth Stone tells us why this happens. She says, “When we feel insecure and worry that someone is pulling away from us, often we try to pursue them for reassurance that they’ll never leave us—an insecure behavior and attitude that causes them to want to leave us.”
Making sure you set boundaries early in the relationship, if it’s a casual one, will make it so that your partner doesn’t expect too much out of you, or expect more than you’re willing to put forward. It sucks when the lines of a relationship aren’t clearly drawn.
If your significant other shows signs of being overly clingy, but you still care about them and want to keep the relationship going, it’s important to make sure that you communicate and draw clear boundaries. If your partner crosses those boundaries repeatedly, it may be best to let the relationship go. But, there’s an equally high chance that communication and understanding will help turn a relationship around and make it much more balanced.