Some people think that constantly being in someone’s face is a way of showing affection. However, this could be slowly poisoning your relationship. For a relationship to be healthy, each individual should enjoy their privacy.
According to onelove.org, some clingy relationship behaviours to look out for include neglecting your family, constantly monitoring your partner’s social media, wanting to see their text messages or making harsh accusations based on little or no information and being jealous where your partner lashes out when you mention, spend time with, or communicate with anyone they feel threatened by. Another behaviour is getting an overload of messages demanding your whereabouts or someone pressuring you into taking big steps in a relationship.
Clinginess usually comes from being insecure. It is by dealing with these insecurities that a person can stop emotional suffering. It could be a fear of losing a partner but a love founded from fear is not love but neediness. It could also stem from their need for control. There is nothing controlling about love, love gives and shares. Here are some healthy ways to deal with a clingy partner:
There is a need for self-examination to check if these feelings are founded. Is your behaviour the cause of problems in your relationship? Look at the things that your partner is pointing out and truthfully check if their feelings are justified by your behaviour.
“My wife did not like any of my friends and every time I would go out with them, she would become angry. For the longest time I just thought that the problem was with her but after examining the friends I had and the things we used to do together, I realised she was actually looking out for me. I realised that my friends did not have my best interests at heart,” says William Senyange, a counsellor at Life Church in Namasuba, Kampala.
Do things to earn their trust
Senyange says a partner should show the other that there is no need to feel insecure. “Trust is not earned with words but with actions. Begin to take the necessary steps to ease the mind of the person you love instead of resisting or deliberately hurting them. If they do not like the time you return home, come a little early, if they are skeptical of your friends, invite them to spend time together and if your partner does not know your phone password, tell them,” Senyange says.
These insecurities can also come from poor communication in the relationship. This will bring about mistrust because the other person simply does not know. The only option left is for them to be clingy or nag information out of their partner.
“There is no unnecessary information in a relationship. Tell your partner what you hope to do before the day starts, who you are going to meet and in case there are changes that might affect other plans, inform them so that they are not left in the dark. You could be working late and a person imagines the worst simply because you did not inform them,” says Senyange.
“Ask the tough questions and together come up with a compromise that can put both of you at ease,” Senyange says, adding that the most important thing in a relationship is to be supportive.
Once you know that your partner has a weakness in a certain area, it does not do any good to keep on pointing out the mistake. Instead, help them out, do not make their lives miserable by nagging them.
Pay attention to what your partner says to honour your commitment by meeting them halfway. Relationships are work and only those who put in effort reap a good harvest.
How not to be clingy
Put down the phone. If you tend to be the clingy type, you may be used to constantly contacting your partner throughout the day. Do other things to distract you from the phone.
Pursue your own passions. Being clingy in a relationship can often stem from a person’s lack of other interests and hobbies. Know what you love and follow those passions.
Do activities away from your partner so that you give them space and time to miss you.
How to deal with a needy partner
If your partner is overly needy, learn how to deal with them so you can make the relationship healthier for both of you.
Encourage separate interests
A good way to get some space from a needy significant other is to encourage both of you to pursue separate interests. Both of you may have things you like that the other doesn’t, and this is a good thing. Suggest that your significant other get involved in an activity they like to do and then you do the same.
For example, you may encourage your significant other to join a fitness program or recreational sports team, get involved with a volunteer organization or join a community theater. You may suggest they take an art or photography class, or join a club.
As a partner, you should be supportive and positive about your significant other’s pursuit of a new activity. Make it a positive thing. For example, you might try saying something like, “I think it is so cool that you are learning how to decorate cakes! That’s a really great skill to have.”
If your significant other only likes what you like, then help them find their own interests. Ask them what they like, what they did before you got together, and what have they always wanted to learn.
Refrain from saying things like, “We need some space” or “This is a good way for me to find some friends who aren’t you.”
Set boundaries about going out without each other. You and your significant other may have many of the same friends, but you probably have your own separate friends, too. When you go out with your friends, you should set boundaries about contacting each other while visiting with others.
For example, when you are out with your friends, it might be frustrating for your significant other to text you non-stop. Instead, set a limit about number of texts and phone calls you both make to each other when you are with other people, such as just checking in with each other once per night.
There is nothing wrong with texting or calling to let your significant other know you have changed plans or will be coming home later, but neither of you should obsessively text the other.
Suggest doing tasks alone
To help establish your own identities and independence, suggest to your partner that you do tasks alone. You don’t have to do everything together as a couple. Not every moment has to be spent together. Doing things alone doesn’t mean you love or care for one another any less.
For example, you can go to the grocery store or to wash your car alone. You can go workout or go to work in the yard without your significant other. You can even watch television or movies alone.
Be honest about your time apart
When you decide to do things apart, reassure your partner that you care about them. Tell them what your plans are and talk about the fact that you can share your experiences with them after you return.
Tell them that this is a good time for them to do something on their own as well, and that you are excited about hearing about what they did in their personal time.
Meet new people
To help your significant other reduce their dependence on you, make an effort to go out and meet new people. This can be through friends you already have, through family, or through social activities.
Encourage your partner to make friends. Tell them that you think meeting new people and going out with others is a good thing for them.