Being in a relationship and spending time with partners make us happy. But what if you have a clingy partner?
Have you ever had to deal with a clingy boyfriend? If you haven’t, you must be wondering how to identify one and what you can do about his behavior.
The easiest way to identify clingy boyfriends is from how you feel when you are with him. If you feel uncomfortable and suffocated, look no further, he is clingy, no doubt.
This article explores this delicate topic and comes up with tips and suggestions to help you recognize and deal with a clingy boyfriend.
Do you have a clingy boyfriend?
When your boyfriend disregards your need for personal space, he may be called clingy. There are more signs and indications to identify an overly clingy boyfriend. As clinginess is a broad term, the list of signs of a clingy person is quite long.
- He is selfish and demanding.
- He wants to have you exclusively for himself.
- He prioritizes his feelings over yours.
- He has no respect for your boundaries.
- He doesn’t define or set personal boundaries.
- He gets over-attached to you both physically and emotionally.
- He is excessively jealous and possessive.
- He gets irrationally insecure when you fail to communicate your whereabouts.
- He doesn’t allow you space to grow and be yourself.
- He demands constant validation from you.
- He won’t approve of you socializing in his absence.
- He is neither confident, secure nor assertive.
- He wavers and gets easily swayed.
- He doesn’t have friends of his own.
- He never socializes without you.
- He doesn’t have any interests or hobbies.
- He wants to do everything together with you.
- He stalks you on social media.
- He doesn’t respect your boundaries.
- He doesn’t trust you or your decisions.
You may also see some of these behaviors occasionally in a normal person. So when you are relying on these signs to identify his clinginess, make sure that he is exhibiting more than one sign and that they are consistent and repetitive.
Once to recognize and confirm his clingy behavior, now it’s time to decide how to handle him.
Ways to deal with a clingy boyfriend
Clingy boyfriends may not be the partner you ever wanted or would choose for a partner if given a choice. However, when you end up with one, you are forced to find a way to deal with him. If you can handle this trouble in the right manner, you may be able to salvage your clingy relationship. If not, at least help yourself escape the situation with the least damage.
Let’s see what are your options when saddled with an overly clingy boyfriend.
1. Resist the temptation to lie to yourself
Your reaction to the situation is as important as your clingy boyfriend’s behavior. So, you need to look inward and get an honest view of how you are behaving.
Are you encouraging or enabling him to continue with his clingy behavior? Did you display clinginess in the early days of the relationship? Is the relationship still alive and healthy? Or has it lost its appeal? Have you or your partner lost interest in each other and are looking for other alternatives?
Try to answer these questions honestly and see what it turns up. You may be able to figure out why your boyfriend is a clingy person and what to do about it from the information gathered.
2. Set healthy boundaries
Boundaries are the hallmarks of a healthy and strong relationship. When your partner is clingy, it is obvious that your boundaries are being violated. If you can manage to rectify this situation, you may be able to salvage your clingy relationship.
If your relationship is in the early stages, you will find it easier to set boundaries. Even in older relationships, you can make this happen if you want to and consider this important. It’s never too late to take this step.
If you’re unsure of how to go about setting boundaries, you can start with a few basic ground rules. Such as, what you consider as your personal matter and off-limits for him. Or, your need for personal space.
3. Build trust in him
Trust is a two-way street in a relationship. You cannot ask or expect your partner to trust you without offering your trust. If you want him to trust him, begin by showing that you trust him. Don’t hide things from him. Be honest and transparent in your approach to him.
Once you have done your part of the deal, let him know how his behavior is impacting you. You can tell him directly that you find him too controlling and his behavior smothering.
If you think he is displaying clinginess because of his anxieties, take steps to reassure him and calm him down. If needed, get professional help. The fear of abandonment is a common cause of clinginess. If your boyfriend has an anxious attachment personality, it is understandable that he is overly clingy.
Despite all this, if he continues to be a clingy person, as a last resort, you may also try couples therapy.
4. Reassure him of his place in your life
Let him know that you love him unconditionally and he is important to you. Appreciate and praise his efforts. Make sure that you are not ignoring or neglecting him. Set aside enough time to spend with him and ensure that it is meaningful.
Plan date nights with him. Introduce him to your gang of friends and include him in your activities. Take him to meet your parents and family.
If he doesn’t understand it on his own, make him aware that you value him and the time spent with him.
5. Restrict your interactions with him
As he is overstepping your personal boundaries repeatedly, you need to make it clear where you want to draw the line. Communication is vital for a healthy relationship but too much of it can be harmful.
If he is calling you at work too frequently, let him know that he cannot do that. He can call only if it’s an urgent matter. The same applies to texts as well. Let him know that you find his texts too distracting. You may suggest that you can reach out to him whenever you get free time.
If he is ignoring your suggestions, don’t answer all his calls or reply to all his texts. Slowly yet surely he will get the cues and become aware of reality.
If all these are not enough to cure his clinginess, you can try taking a “break” in the relationship. This can be a few hours, half a day, or a full day. Set the rules as no calls, no texts, or no messaging via social media. Switch off your phone so that he will be forced to comply with this.
6. Nudge him to go out on his own
As he doesn’t have many friends of his own or have any social life without you, you need to help him develop this. You can help him to plan a fun trip or a night out with his friends. Make this a regular weekly affair.
Dig deep into his past to find his interests and help him develop a hobby. Convey to him that you want him to feel happy and enjoy himself. You can add that you have complete trust in him. You may even get the help of his friends to get him to come out of his shell.
You may wonder whether clinginess is an inherent trait or what leads to clinginess. A person with low self-esteem and insecurity may turn out to be a clingy partner. If his clinginess is a recent development, it would be easier to figure out the reason behind this. Is he feeling threatened by something?
Self-doubt is another trap that may lead to clingy behavior. If he is unsure about you or the relationship, he may cling to you to get your love and attention.
Reassuring him of your affection and taking steps to boost his confidence may work wonders and help him overcome this undesirable behavior.
Related: How to Deal with Someone Who Needs Constant Validation?