How To Stop Being Clingy (21 Helpful Ways)

by April Maccario

Does your significant other complain about your needy character? If so, it’s likely you’re too clingy. So what exactly does being clingy mean? It means being too physically and emotionally dependent on your partner when in a relationship.

Not only does it make you eventually forget how to be happy by yourself, it puts you in a vulnerable position, making your man hold all the aces while you’re at his mercy. You’ve probably noticed this already, that’s why you’re trying to find out how to stop being clingy. Okay, I know it takes a lot of courage to actually admit to being a clingy person. 

The reason is, there’s a thin line between being clingy and wanting to be loved. The simple truth is, it’s easy to cross that line because we all want to love and be loved in return. You’ve made the first step by searching for practical steps to boost your self-confidence and hopefully, end the constant crave to be clingy.

With that said, allow this article to give you a self-check and useful steps to stop the unhealthy habit, and hopefully have more healthy relationships from now on. 

21 Steps On How To Stop Being Clingy

1. Admit That You Are Clingy

admit that you are clingy

It’s important to know how much this behavior is affecting your relationships, and not just the romantic ones. You may feel like being clingy doesn’t harm anyone, but if it didn’t, I guess we wouldn’t be here. The following are questions to help you determine if you have an unhealthy clingy behavior.

  • Are you in constant fear of losing your man for no reason?
  • Do you nurse the feeling that you are nothing without him in the picture?
  • Does life feel meaningless without him with the fear that he’ll leave you?
  • Are you always around him, and how often do you indulge in doing things on your own. 
  • Do you constantly want to be with him so much that friends & family engagements don’t matter?

If you answered yes to even three of the questions, then it’s time to adopt the remaining steps to stop being clingy.

2. Understand The Implication Of Your Clinginess

Now you understand the clingy meaning, the next step is understanding the implication of the problem. Perhaps you think being clingy will help your partner understand how much you love him so that he eventually reciprocates the behavior? That’s not always the case, suffocating your significant other may not give you the results you crave. 

He’ll unconsciously make you feel unwanted when he starts looking for ways to just enjoy his personal time. Don’t feel bad when this happens, everyone needs personal space, and when you deprive them of that, it makes them feel like they’re trapped, not loved. Even worse, it can make people take advantage of you if you are unlucky to be with a manipulative person. 

3. It's Time To Put Yourself First

Now, this isn’t about being selfish, if you want to know how to stop being clingy, one of the most effective ways is to spend time loving yourself. What made you a clingy person in the first place is excessively focusing on the object of affection and his needs, thereby losing yourself in the process. 

This naturally makes you spend time with him because you have unconsciously reduced your needs to just being with him. You need to realize that your needs as a person is more than just being around your man. 

It’s time you stopped sacrificing your needs, passions, and put yourself out more. Do more, want more, express yourself more in your own unique way rather than under his shadow. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the world should revolve around you only, but your world shouldn’t revolve only around him either.

4. Handle Your Anxieties

Let’s be real, clinginess isn’t always deliberate. Many times it’s a result of anxiety from past experiences, for example, abandonment or a bad break up. This can cause a person to feel like something bad will happen whenever they aren’t with their partner.

Many folks left by parents at a tender age often find solace and comfort in their lovers. While a good relationship can be a very great avenue to heal old wounds, you cannot afford to allow the anxiety that he might leave just like your parents did affect your behavior.

Stress can play a role in triggering anxiety. Therefore you need to learn to identify your stress triggers and develop different coping mechanisms to manage them rather than turning to your partner as a means of rescue all the time. 

 4. Work On Yourself

work on yourself

While this might almost sound like a cliché, the need to continuously work on yourself cannot be overemphasized. Being in a relationship offers people some form of satisfaction. 

This makes them find themselves more focused on growing the relationship and neglecting personal growth and development. There’s no better way to put it, the best version of yourself is what you should operate within your relationship. Your partner must also get involved in his own self-growth too because better individuals make better couples. 

6. Get The Trust Issues Fixed

Trust issues come with a lot of anxiety and insecurities, that’s why it’s important to curb them early. If you are in a relationship where you have reasons to suspect your man, keeping a close watch on him will come naturally. Some women feel a strong sense of insecurity that affects their self-esteem. This makes them feel the need to constantly do more in order to keep their man from leaving them. 

If you are in this boat, you need to learn how to trust your partner so that you are not always on edge. Disengage your thoughts from the “what if’s.” If you have strong reasons to believe your man might be cheating, you need to approach him and settle it. 

Your suspicions might be baseless and untrue. Once you clear your mind and trust him more, you’ll be able to enjoy a healthy relationship devoid of the fear that he’ll leave you for another woman.

7. Improve Your Self-Confidence

One of the primary reasons many women cling unhealthily to their partners is for fear of losing them. Now, this isn’t because their man is so great he isn’t worth losing, but because over time, they have reduced their own self-esteem in the relationship. Permit me to say at this point that craving for security isn’t a bad thing.

Every responsible person that wants to build a family would desire stability in their relationship, but this shouldn't translate to being clingy. You need to take care of yourself more, both physically and mentally. Build and improve your worth in readiness for the unforeseen. Pursue a career, make more money if you have to. 

Being financially independent particularly, makes women strong and confident especially if there’s a divorce scenario. Also, in a research conducted in 2013, results revealed that partners with more individual self-confidence were more satisfied together in their relationship. 

8. Get Busy

If you find that you are unhealthily clingy, it might be that you have a lot of time to spare. If you are not working, I suggest you take up a job or a project. If you are married and you are the one keeping the home full-time, pick up a book or an online job you can easily do from home to keep your mind engaged. 

In relationships where both partners are busy, there’s really less time to miss or bother each other every minute.

9. Give Him Some Space

A deliberate act of allowing your partner to breathe without your presence or calls is essential in all relationships. If you meet up every day after work, give him some space till the weekends. If you call him five times before lunch break at work, take a break, don’t call him till the close of business. I know this is hard but it’s worth it. 

Loving someone does not equate to being with them all the time. While time shared together helps in building relationships, couples who have their own personal space, they are better equipped to handle relationships. 

Spending too much time together causes monotony. Not only will some space make you less clingy, it will also help you miss each other more and give room for spontaneity. 

10. Tell Him How You Feel

tell him how you feel

There’s almost nothing as good as effective communication. It keeps people on the same page about issues. Rather than act out your feelings with the hope that all will be well, why not be honest with your partner about how you feel. 

While he might accommodate your behavior, perhaps at the beginning when you just met, it’s only a matter of time before he gets tired of your clingy and needy nature. Being honest and calmly discussing how you feel can help him understand what you have been going through.

If you are afraid he might leave you any time for another woman, communicating with him can give you the reassurance that you need to trust him more. This will get your mind more settled and in turn, significantly reduce the need to be clingy.

11. Respect Boundaries

Being clingy isn’t only on the emotional level, it is physical as well. While public displays of affection can be good for couples, there's a limit to what some people can handle. Some individuals don’t mind French-kissing for a couple of seconds in the middle of the park, yet they are not very comfortable holding hands over a very long walk. 

You need to understand your partner’s boundaries and respect them. Do not demand a show of public affection as proof of love. Just because he may not be as touchy as you want doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings for you. 

People show affection differently and if you are serious about being less clingy, consciously respecting physical boundaries is a good way to start.

12. Engage Your Family Often

When the sparks are still very strong, it’s not uncommon for people to engross themselves in their relationship leaving no room for any other kind of relationship, including family. That’s totally natural because the excitement of meeting someone new is still fresh. However, you can’t afford to cut off family just because you’ve got a new man. 

Family is a support system, they always have your back one way or another. While your partner may represent a significant aspect of your life, make sure he isn’t all you’ve got. That’s one of the moves that make people clingy because once they cut themselves off from the family that loves them, they become desperate

Losing their boyfriend becomes a dreadful thought they don’t even want to imagine. Therefore, if you’ve cut your family off, get them back. Trust me, no matter how long you’ve not called, family is always there for you especially when it’s time to pick up the pieces. 

Plan a trip to go visit, it’s an opportunity to get out of your man’s space. This way, you’ll expose yourself to love and you won’t dread the feeling of being alone.

13. You Need Your Friends

you need your friends

Friends are even easier to let go especially when your circle doesn't like your man. Make no mistake, everyone needs support from time to time especially when the chips are down. 

It is possible you are clingy because you are in a relationship with a manipulative person that plays mind games to get you eating out of his palm. If you keep your friends close, they are like the third eye that can see what you can’t because you’ve been blinded by emotions. 

In addition, connecting with them actively both offline and online will naturally reduce your dependence on a man for everything. 

14. Get Extra Help

There’s no shame in asking for help. No help is too much to get you at that confident, self-self loving state you are meant to be in. Sometimes friends and family can only do as much as they can.

If you feel you might need professional help to get you through it, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you are weak, it actually takes a lot of courage and strength to admit you need help.

15. You Need Your Hobbies And Passions

One of the ways to be less clingy in your relationship is to have your own thing going. As you invest in your relationship to get the best out of it, you shouldn’t let go of the things that make you happy and bring out the spark in you. 

Your passion and hobbies are likely things that’ll be exclusive to you in your relationship. Therefore it’ll be an opportunity to have your alone-time devoid of the need to be around someone else. Engaging in your hobbies and passions does not only create an atmosphere to enjoy yourself, it’s also an opportunity to improve yourself.

16. Get Out More And Meet People

Like I said earlier, you don’t have to allow your man to be the only thing going on in your life. Getting out more and spreading your social tentacles can actually be beneficial to you. 

Research shows that the happiness existing among a circle of friends can rub off on you if you connect with them. Therefore, take the initiative of broadening your social circle. Now, I don’t just mean virtual online friends that you’ll probably never know or meet in person. 

If you really want to stop being clingy and needy, you need to put yourself out there physically so that you can meet people that you can share experiences with. Overall, meeting new people will add more meaning and unique experiences, and bring a healthy balance into your relationship.

17. Drop The Controlling Attitude

While clingy and needy people may appear weak and vulnerable, clinginess is often accompanied with a tendency to be in control. This stems from the fear of what the relationship holds for them in the future, they always try to control their man with the aim of making him be with them at all cost. 

If you are at this point of controlling your boyfriend, you don’t need me to tell you that neither of you will be happy in the long run. So, accept that everyone has free will, and the best way to love and be loved, is doing that willingly. If they don’t want to be with you anymore, you can’t and shouldn’t make them.

18. Get Out Of His Cyberspace

I understand you guys are probably friends on Facebook and a whole lot of other social media platforms. Remember when we talked about giving your partner space? That includes his cyberspace. 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your thing with your online friends, what I’m clearly pointing out is, don’t snoop around his social media accounts every minute of the day for no reason. If there’s a genuine reason to actually put on your FBI pants, that’s a problem of trust you need to address with him. 

However, if you know he’s not cheating, there’s no point stalking him offline and online to see who’s he’s following or who’s following him. It’s not pretty, give your partner his space.

19. Learn To Enjoy Solitude

learn to enjoy solitude

If you are one of those that don’t heal from a bad break up before entering another relationship, then you might be in that relationship just because you dread the feeling of being alone. While relationships can be a good form of support, being complete and happy by yourself is vital to functioning well in that relationship. 

The period of solitude gives you the chance to self-reflect and make decisions that are not influenced or impaired by the presence of anyone in your life. 

While you are in a relationship, it’s a good idea to make out “alone-time.” These are the periods when you learn to enjoy your own company. If you do not know your passions, periods of solitude are great for self-discovery. The bottom line is if you can be happy on your own, the need to cling unhealthily to another person for happiness would not exist.

20. Be Self-Reliant

You can’t totally stop being clingy and needy if you have a problem with being confident. Since clingy behaviors stem from insecurities, it’s only natural that the easiest way to come out of it is to be more self-confident. I know it’s easier said than done, but it all begins from the mind. Realize you are already complete without anyone. 

Yes, you need companionship, but make sure it is not the only thing that drives your joy or peace. Furthermore, accept you don’t need to hold on tight to anyone to make them stay. If they do leave, it’s okay. You’ll be far better than when they were with you. 

21. Be Ready For The Worst Scenarios

Before you assume I’m asking you to be a pessimist, think again. There are no guarantees that any relationship will last as long as you want even if you do all the right things and invest well in the relationship. 

Realize that no one is indispensable including you. While you take the risk of trusting your partner with your heart, be ready to go on if the relationship doesn’t go as planned. It’s totally great to find someone to share life with, but it’s more rewarding to stand tall and be happy all by yourself. 

FAQs

What causes clinginess in a relationship?

Psychologists suggest that clinginess is caused by past emotional or psychological trauma, either from childhood or adulthood. It is believed that people who have stable and healthy upbringings healthily attach to people. However, those with a less stable upbringing may display clinginess because of the natural deficit of stability or love during adolescence.

How do I stop being so attached?

Once you admit that you have the problem, develop more confidence, and self-worth. Find time to enjoy yourself alone while you give your partner space at the same time. As you go out more often, make friends, and engage in your passions, you’ll naturally see less need to be clingy.

How do you know if you're too clingy?

When you notice you have an unhealthy feeling of holding on to your relationship or man to the point that you can’t see a future without him, or if you dread being alone, always in constant fear that he’ll walk away for no reason, then you might be too clingy.

How do I stop being a clingy girl?

The first thing is to be more confident and have self-worth. Admit to yourself you can’t force anyone to stay with you as you have no control over their actions nor the consequences. If you go out more, make more friends, and engage in your own passions/ hobbies you’ll feel less need to be clingy.

Can being clingy ruin a relationship?

Yes. While you might think being clingy will make your boyfriend appreciate you and perhaps return the feeling, the opposite is what usually happens. Being clingy drives people away as most people see it as a desperate and needy behavior.

The Bottomline

I hope you enjoyed the article. You’ll find that it not only lists some practical steps to stop being clingy, it also points out some self-assessment questions. Following these steps will set you on a journey to becoming more confident and happy with yourself which will in turn make you better in your relationships. 

I’ll like to see your comments and know what you think on the subject. Please feel free to share if you want others to read this.

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

One comment on “How To Stop Being Clingy (21 Helpful Ways)”

  1. If someone you have been dating 8 months doesn't text or call you after he spends a good weekend with you and you are concerned and text them and call them. Is that being clingy?

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