A lot of us feel needy once in a while. Especially if we're down, don't feel well, or have a horrific hangover, feeling a little extra clingy every once in a while is totally normal. But if feeling needy in a relationship is your normal state, it can do do some serious damage. "Clinginess, or being overly needy, is one of the great relationship-killers nobody really pays attention to until it’s too late," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "This could entail calling person numerous times a day for no other reason other than to ask where they are. Not being able to make simple decisions without first asking your partner is another sign of being too needy. People need to have some space, and by taking away that space you are creating a toxic environment that generally pushes people away."
But here's the complicated part — it's totally understandable to need your partner, at least to some degree. Your relationship is based off of being an important part of each other's lives. So what's the difference between the normal leaning on your partner and being too needy? When does it go too far? Well, if you want the answers, you need to be pretty brutal about your behavior, its motivations, and even how your partner responds to it. Here are seven questions to ask yourself to find out if you're being too needy:
1. Do I Have Other People In My Life?
Do you have other people in you life? Not just who you know, but who you actually go to, spend time with, even rely on? That's key. "It’s very important to have independence in a relationship," relationship etiquette expert Mara Opperman tells Bustle. "Successful, healthy relationships allow for the both people to form a bond which lets them to not only grow together but also to grow independently as people. It’s essential to have your own sense of autonomy while feeling you can depend on each other. Also, if you give up your independence and abandon the things that used to make you happy, it will be reflected in your relationship." Your partner can't be everything to you. Make sure you have other people around who mean a lot to you.
2. Am I Just Lonely?
It's 100 percent possible to be lonely in a relationship. Though it may be more beneficial when you're single. “It can actually be a time to learn more about oneself and experience the greatest self-growth,” psychotherapist Mary Beth Somich, MA, EdM, LPCA, tells Bustle. “Feeling lonely as a result of being single can actually inspire individuals to have new experiences that they would not have put themselves out there for otherwise.”
But when you're in a relationship, it's a little different — because it can lead you to be too clingy with your partner. Take a look what you're expecting this relationship to be. If you want the relationship to be your whole world, then you're probably going to be too clingy.
3. Does My Partner Reciprocate?
It's all relative. If you and your partner are equally needy, it may not be a healthy relationship, but it's not as complicated as if it's one-sided. The really tricky thing is if you're constantly demanding more of your partner's time and attention, but they don't seem to need yours. So try to see if you and your partner are on the same level.
4. How Much Do I Do Without My Partner?
Do you have any hobbies? Hobbies that don't involve your partner? Even if it's as simple as going for a run, you need something. If you don't have it, get it. "Be courageous, be adventurous, and sign up for something new and out of your comfort zone,” Didi Wong, Integrative Wellness and Life Coach, tells Bustle.
5. What's My Partner Like With Me Physically?
If you're really clingy with your partner and they feel uncomfortable, that can manifest physically. If you find them withdrawing or avoiding you, there's a chance that all of your neediness is pushing them away. Give them some room to come to you — without pressuring them into it.
6. Am I Irrationally Jealous?
Neediness, at its most extreme, can turn into some really irrational jealousy. "We all experience jealousy at some point; the key to keeping things healthy is being able to identify the feeling and not allow it to control behavior," marriage and family therapist and relationship expert Esther Boykin tells Bustle. And if you find yourself debilitatingly jealous and notice it has an effect on your relationship, you need to check your neediness levels.
7. Can I Imagine My Life Without Them?
The idea of breaking up with your significant other might be devastating. But it shouldn't feel like the end of everything. If you feel like your world would end if you broke up, take a deep breath and figure out how to get some sense of self back.
It's normal to rely on your partner and to feel a little needy from time to time, but being too needy in your relationship can lead to its breakdown. Make sure that you're honest about your actions and your motivations — it's the best way to keep your relationship strong.