You met this amazing girl and you’ve gone out a few times and things are really clicking until this laid-back, super cool person who you’ve been getting along with turns into a stage-5 clinger. Suddenly the relaxed go-with-the-flow vibe of your relationship has turned insecure and you’re feeling a little suffocated.
Maybe she’s calling and texting you numerous times a day and wants you to do the same. Maybe she’s demanding a lot of your time or pushing to make your relationship more serious than you’re ready to give. She could even be hitting up your friends and family on social media, infiltrating your personal space and boundaries.
So what do you do when you have a clingy girlfriend? The easiest solution would be to hit the delete button on the relationship, but if you’re genuinely into her, you might want to simply address your need for time and space. Not sure how to do that in the nicest way possible?
Here are some tips to deal with a clingy girlfriend in a nice way that let’s her know you still want to be together:
1. Understand your part.
First, it’s important to understand why your love interest is acting clingy, especially if she wasn’t exhibiting these behaviors before. What you view as needy could be her way of expressing what she needs from you. If she’s repeatedly asking you to do something or perhaps even acting a certain way to get your attention it’s because she’s feeling a lack of attention and/or affection from you.
You might want to take a look at your actions and be honest with yourself: are you spending less time together, texting or calling less often, or showing the same amount of assured affection that you had previously?
If so, then by taking subtle action, like sending a quick “Good morning!” text everyday, or planning a special date night, might put your partner more at ease.
2. Communicate honestly.
Are things moving too fast for your level of comfort? Then say so. Being on the same page is vital in a relationship, especially during the early stages. Though it’s reasonable to be unsure about how you feel at the beginning of the relationship, not everyone feels the same way at the same time. Your clingy girlfriend might be feeling stronger feelings than you are, which is fine—she’s entitled to her feelings—but then it becomes even more important to communicate where you’re at. Saying something like, “I’m really enjoying spending time with you, but I would prefer if we move more slowly so we can get to know each other better and see where things go” is both respectful and honest, and should give her the signal to slow her roll.
It’s important to let your girlfriend know how you’re feeling as the relationship progresses. Make it a habit to express your thoughts and feelings about the relationship and her, and if something isn’t feeling right for you, then say so immediately and explain why.
3. Make me-time a priority.
If you’re someone who needs time alone, or feels like your girlfriend is encroaching on your personal space too much, whether it’s hanging out with you and your guy friends or hitting up your favorite (solo) hobby with you, then it’s essential to communicate your needs. Tell her how much your alone time means to you and why. Something like, “I love hanging out with you, but my alone time is also very special to me. It helps me zone out and process the day and I think it’s healthy and important for us to spend some time apart and have our own interests.” Additionally, make a habit of scheduling both me-time and date nights. That way, your girlfriend will be certain that she’s spending time with you—and thus will feel more secure. It will also establish the difference between me-time and me-and-you-time that she’ll respect.
4. Set some boundaries.
Boundaries are important in every relationship, and must be set and enforced early on so all parties know where the other stands on certain issues. For example, if you don’t appreciate your girlfriend texting or calling you at work multiple times, kindly let her know. For example, “I really like hearing from you during the day but sometimes it’s too overwhelming and interferes with my work. Can we cut back to only a few texts a day?”
If your new girlfriend has recently added your friends and family on social media—and you’ve just started dating—and you feel uncomfortable with that, then you need to let her know how you feel. “While I think it’s great that you want to get to know my friends, I’d appreciate it if you let me take the lead and I will introduce them to you when I feel ready.”
The most important thing about boundaries is enforcing them. So, for example, if your girlfriend is still texting you numerous times while you’re at work, you might have to either ignore her messages, or turn your phone on silent.
5. Be patient and flow with the relationship.
Every relationship has its ebbs and flows. Maybe your girlfriend is clingy now, but in a few months it will be you who longs for more closeness while she wants more distance. Relationships are fluid, and if you believe this partner is worth investing in, then it would serve both of you to ride the wave and be patient and supportive.
Remind yourself of the awesome qualities of your girlfriend and why you love being with her. If her clinginess is a concern of yours, then you might want to dig deeper for the reasons behind it. Maybe your partner has a history of abandonment and trust issues, or perhaps she’s are battling with anxiety or depression.
There’s a difference between “clinginess” and possessiveness and co-dependency. Setting healthy boundaries isn’t about pushing your girlfriend away, but will instill a healthy sense of self, so you can both come together equally as individuals. Giving up your own needs for the needs of someone else isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship. If you’re dealing with someone who is insecure and depends on you for their happiness, then you should evaluate if this is a relationship worth keeping.