Chances are you don't have much of interest in being the clingy one in a relationship. It comes with a whole slew of negative connotations — worst of all being jealousy. You might not want to be dating someone who's clingy either. Signs your partner is clingy to a point where it's unhealthy could be staring right at you at this very moment, so let’s stare right back at them and see what you can do to help the situation.
Why are people sometimes overly clingy in relationships? According to Toronto-based dating coach Christine Hart, a lot of it has to do with how the person feels about themselves. Hart spoke to HerCampus.com and said, “Generally, being clingy and being insecure go hand in hand.” That partner who won’t stop calling and texting you when you’re away from each other is likely seeking reassurance that you're not out having a blast without them — or even worse — cheating. Their rationale for checking in so much when you're not around might be to allow themselves feel more secure.
While it certainly is of sound reasoning, it doesn’t make it any easier for us to deal with it when our partners start acting this way. In fact, many of us who’ve dealt with clingy significant others may find ourselves using the words “annoying” and “irritating” when talking about them. If this seems familiar to you, let’s evaluate some of the signs your partner is clingy, and talk about some pointers on ways to best deal with it so that you can get your relationship into a healthy place. Here are 11 signs your partner is too clingy, and what to do about it.
1. Your Phone Is Always Blowing Up — Like, Always
Let’s begin with the most obvious signs of all: Your partner doesn’t seem to want to leave you alone for a second. If you’re not physically together, they’ll immediately turn to using their phone to get ahold of you. Is this unnecessary jealously rearing its ugly head? I spoke to psychologist Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC, who gave me some insight into clinginess via email.
According to Martinez, jealousy and clinginess 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 like they know what their partner is doing at all times. If it feels like your partner is constantly keeping tabs on you in this way, take it as a red flag, my dear.
2. They Get Really Nervous When You Don’t Respond
You were in an important meeting at the end of the day, and when you get back to your desk you have endless calls and texts from your partner. When you talked to them, you find out nothing was wrong, they were just nervous that you weren’t responding. Then, this happens again the next day. This behavior is not normal. Jodi R. R. Smith, president and owner of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting noted to HerCampus.com that if a partner admits to getting all sweaty and nervous if they’re not getting a response from their SO, it shows they might be far too attached to this person.
3. Your Partner Dislikes Your Attractive Coworker
Remember that jealously we mentioned? Here we go again. Is your partner unable to stand the idea of you being around someone else who is especially attractive, like an easy-on-the-eyes coworker? It could all come back to that jealously and clinginess going hand-in-hand notion. If you find your partner is checking in on you more than ever when you’re with a platonic hottie, this is yet another sign. According to Martinez, a clingy partner can be keeping a close eye on you in their jealous state as to be certain you’re not doing anything to break their trust, like cheating.
4. They Ask You Odd Questions About Your Social Media
We’re not talking about a current and simple questions like, “Honey, did you and my mom just become Facebook friends?” We’re talking about really random questions that took some digging to even come up with. Has your SO been grilling you about a person standing in the background of a picture you posted four years ago? Are asking about flirty comments you made on a picture in 2008, long before the two of your even knew each other?
According to her article in Latina, relationships expert and author of Dating RITE: Advice on Dating Woes from Your Go-to Chica , Sujeiry Gonzalez, said overdoing it on social media can scream, “clingy!” This is also true when considering the amount of things they post of you (like 100+ similar looking pictures of you two from a weekend trip) or if they’re posting on your Facebook wall all the time to stake their claim, Gonzalez said.
5. He Or She Hates It When You Go Out Without Them
A night out with your friends without your partner? You’re laughing out loud at the idea of this alone, as it would never happen. Every time you bring up even the mere thought of going something without them, they freak. Why? According to Martinez, a clingy partner will often spend much of the time spent away from their SO worrying about what their doing. For you, a night out might seem just mere fun — for them it could translate to a night home worrying on the couch.
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 is difficult.
6. They’ll Tag Along Everywhere, Even Without An Invite
Those plans you had without your SO, consider them now to be plans you have with your SO — because it’s very unlikely that they won’t be tagging along. AskMen.com, a dating advice website that uses expert voices to address relationship questions, said a clingy partner will come along to whatever outing it is, whether they were invited or not.
7. He Or She Has Gradually Ditched All Of Their Friends
I’ve known many people who have been on the “clingy” side of this, and let me tell you, it hasn’t worked out very well for them. In fact, it almost always ends with them having a broken heart, and having to come back around to their friends begging for forgiveness for going MIA for ages.
According to AJ Harbinger, the CEO and co-founder of The Art of Charm — a site led by a team of lifestyle and dating coaches — those who are needy in relationships tend to not spend time with their friends, and rather only wish to spend time with their SO. Harbinger said downsizing your life so that it only includes your partner is a common mistake. While we all should strive to spend quality time with our SO, it’s also important to have time apart now and then.
8. They Don’t Seem To Have Their Own Interests Anymore
In addition to leaving behind their friends, your partner seems to have parted way with their unique hobbies and interests, too, and rather now completely align with yours. On the point of dropping interests and friends to align with their SO Martinez added, “Clingy partners tend to make their partner their whole world.” This means they won’t feel secure enough to have interests of their own — especially ones that don’t include the other person.
9. You Can Tell They Now Hold Back Their Real Opinions
When you first started dating, he or she was a die-hard conservative or liberal. The more you’ve expressed opinions on the other end of the spectrum, though, the more they’ve started to jump ship to your side. Now, only a few months later, and they’re suddenly completely aligned to your views on politics. What happened? According to POPSUGAR's relationship authority, those who are clingy are likely to hold back their true thoughts and feelings on things in a relationship for fear of doing anything at all that could turn their partner away. The outlet said this type of clinginess comes from a strong desire to be loved and accepted by their SO.
10. You Need To Constantly Reassure Your Love For Them
I mean, constantly. 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. Martinez said, “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.”
11. Your Partner Is More Interested In You Than You Are In Them
Shape spoke to New York City-based dating expert Tracey Steinberg, who said if you’re thinking of your partner as “clingy” or “needy,” it could be a sign that they are more interested in you than the other way around. Steinberg made this point super clear by noting, “Let's face it: If Bradley Cooper texted you ten times, you'd be blasting it to every person you know.” The point is that this same action could seem really, really annoying, though, if it’s coming from someone you have less interest in.
If these points are resonating with you all too clearly but you still want to continue the relationship, there are things you can do to better the situation. Martinez offered her expert advice, noting that you first need to make it a point to set healthy boundaries with your SO 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.”
Now that you’ve gotten the details on what it means to be clingy, use those steps and decide how to approach working on your relationship. If you put in some of the work Martinez suggested, your relationship could end up a lot happier and healthier because of it.