If it’s time to figure out how to not be clingy, this article reveals 9 simple methods to avoid such unattractive behavior. You can conquer neediness!
How to Identify Clingy Behavior
At the start of dating, you might feel nervous about what will happen in the future with this new man. When will he call again? How much does he like you? Is he thinking about you long-term? Could he be “The One”?
That’s so normal! And a big part of the excitement of dating someone new. How you handle all of that is often dependent on your style of attachment.
According to Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, authors of the book Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment, there are three distinct ways adults behave in relationship.
1. Secure – People who are comfortable with intimacy and are warm and loving
2. Avoidant – People who feel intimacy represents a loss of independence so avoid closeness
3. Anxious – People who become preoccupied and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to return their love
So, if you fall into the Anxious category, you are more likely to exhibit clingy behavior. Maybe you’ve had a few difficult relationship experiences where the guy pulled away or ghosted. Sometimes being clingy stems from having a hard time being alone.
Don’t worry, there are surefire ways to conquer your neediness!
Why Is Being Clingy a Problem?
Clingy behavior can show up in a variety of ways. You might want to text all the time or talk every night. Affection and holding hands in public might seem imperative. Jealousy could be a problem if your man shares his attention with anyone else.
The bottom line on needy behavior often boils down to simply not feeling secure in yourself or your relationship. At the start of dating someone new this makes total sense. But sometimes your clingy behavior continues on into the relationship and can literally destroy the bond you have.
You want to know how to not be clingy so you can calm your fears and manage your natural feelings of insecurity. Otherwise you could inadvertently turn off your love interest and sadly push him away.
9 Simple Strategies to Stop Being Clingy
1. Focus on Yourself
When you feel clingy, you are focused on your partner and what they are doing or not doing. This is an external focus requiring something from your man in order to feel everything is OK.
The truth is, you need to feel OK from within first. You want to create your own sense of security. That’s why the first strategy is to focus on yourself. What can you do to take care of yourself? What one thing will help you feel safer?
Once you figure that out, do not hesitate! Take that step to help yourself feel calmer and know no matter what you will be OK.
2. Respect Boundaries
Everyone needs their own space and this must be respected. A boundary is like an invisible line that separates you from others. It’s about personal space and privacy and crossing this line creates problems in any relationship.
What this means is that you can’t demand all of your man’s time and attention or be in his face about your needs. First of all, you want a man who WANTS to stay in touch, be with you and please you.
Second, you don’t want to always be asking for something from him. This can be terribly annoying and will not appeal to a strong, masculine man. The average man likes things to be his idea, so when you continually make requests or demands, this will not sit well.
Boundaries can be about privacy too. So you want to avoid snooping on his phone, looking at his calendar or digging through his bureau. Always remember how you’d feel if he did that to you. That’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to respecting space and boundaries.
So, even if you really feel like you need your man’s attention, learn to hold back a bit to respect his boundaries.
3. Keep Your Life Separate
If you’re wondering how to not be clingy, do not collapse your life into his. Until you are living together or married, keep your life separate, at least parts of it. Even when you marry, you don’t want to give up everything.
Maintaining some activities that are just for you or you and your girlfriends or family is very important for any healthy relationship. You had a life before you met your man and the things you do to feel fulfilled should be continued.
If you enjoy playing the violin, doing expressive dance, yoga retreats or anything that helps you express yourself or feel fulfilled, should continue on whether or not you find the right relationship.
In fact, the right man would want you to do your own thing sometimes so he can do his own thing too.
A little time apart makes the time together that much more special. You don’t need to be joined at the hip to be close. Give him some space and keep your own life active.
4. Stay Busy
Don’t rely on your man to keep you busy. Instead, make sure you set aside time for your errands, special projects, best friends or just watching your favorite Netflix series. If you tend to become clingy, staying busy will help you keep your mind off your man.
Make a list of projects or things to do when you need to take your mind off your new relationship. This is a great way to distract yourself! Clean out a closet. Read a new book. Create a vision board. Bake some bread.
A busy woman is often a happy woman, so find some things to do and get to it.
5. Learn Something New
When you throw yourself into something new, it can be so exciting. And it’s a great way how to not be clingy. Start a new hobby. Learn a new language. Join a new group.
Whatever it is, infusing your life with new activities or learning keeps you engaged in life and diversifies who you are so you have that much more to offer in a relationship. This is what makes you interesting and maintains a level of independence.
6. Call a Friend
If you feel your neediness rising, pick up the phone and call a friend! Sometimes you have to distract yourself from this feeling and think and talk about something else. Get curious about what your friend is up to. Discover what she has planned for the weekend or the summer.
Maybe you’ll have a good laugh or talk about memories. It doesn’t matter what you discuss, so long as you don’t reach out to your new boyfriend.
7. Spend Time in Nature
If your mind is running you in circles and you know an attack of clinginess is on the horizon, go outside! Spending time in nature has such a calming influence. Really look around and wonder at how everything works. Marvel over the beauty of flowers, clouds in the sky and why birds sing.
It may sound silly but nature can be like a best friend when you start to feel frantic and needy.
8. Train Your Brain
Instead, you have to decide who is in charge. Is it the insecure worrier who will run your life thinking up troubling scenarios? No!
9. Know You Are Worthy
Whether or not your new guy recognizes how special you are, know that you are worthy of love and attention. That knowledge must come from within. If you are constantly looking for validating outside yourself, that would make anyone feel needy!
If insecurity is at the root of your clingy behavior, take time to build your self-esteem and self-worth. This is an inside job, so to speak. If you try to get all your validation from a new man, you are sure to be disappointed.
Regardless of what happened in your last relationship or in your family, you deserve love. Especially self love!
The Truth of How to Not Be Clingy
While I’ve shared nine simple ways to avoid being clingy, there are so many methods that could work. What matters most is your desire to overcome this potentially annoying and off-putting behavior.
Set an intention at the start of your day, “Today, I am worthy of love, no matter what.” This is how you set up the energy for a good day and keep yourself on track to look within for all your validation.
Let some other woman take over the needy parade. For now you are off the hook. And that’s how to not be clingy!
If you want to learn more about building confidence and self-love, you might like the Time to Shine program.