We’ve all been there: you get into an exciting new relationship, and over time the sparkly, wonderful honeymoon phase starts to wane. There comes a point where you realize that her proximity, her habits, and her emotions aren’t necessarily as cute as they first appeared. In some cases, it’s because she’s attached herself so firmly to your hip that when you find yourself looking at a wonderful girl that you care about, you end up only seeing the worst about her; her neediness has become a glaring issue in your relationship and you’re considering trying to pry her off with a complex system of levers and wedges. How can you work on avoiding this emotional disaster, be it in an established relationship or with a girl you’ve just met? We’re here with a guide to the two most common types of clingy girlfriend behavior – if you can understand the psychology behind your girl’s style of attachment, you can decide the course that your relationship will follow.
The Clingy Girlfriend: What You Need to Know to Be Happy
The Needy Girl
Being a clingy girlfriend doesn’t encompass only a physical facet of your relationship. A truly needy girl is desperate for your attention and emotions at all times, and it can be exceptionally draining on both you and herself. This is almost always coupled with a constant fear that you will leave her- and not necessarily for another woman. Football, bro time, hobbies, family, sports, and anything else that may capture your attention will all be fodder for this (usually) unfounded fear. Though your relationship may start out wonderfully, it will very quickly degenerate into one sided conversations where she will often tell you how much she values your relationship… and that she feels you might not. It’s one of those maddening things that will have you looking for the nearest blunt object to bludgeon yourself with. You’ll find jealousy and paranoia are par for the course as well, and truth be told, this is the hardest type of girl to have a successful relationship with. It’s very likely that you’ll end up leaving the needy girl to save your own sanity.
If you’re in a committed relationship and aren’t ready to give up just yet- and you can confirm that you’re not doing something horrific to help foster these feelings- then the best course of action is both to provide more attention and set firmer boundaries. What this means is that you need to compromise for her, and make sure that you are being compromised with equally. When you two spend time together, make sure you do provide her with your undivided attention. You know there are a million things you like about her, because you want to stay with her, so draw on those and make the time you spend together meaningful. It may be that she’s simply not confident and this will fix everything. If not, make sure that you establish your own time- take a set amount of time you need away from her, lay it out clearly, and don’t back down from it. Even if it’s as simple as doing a Sudoku and drinking a coffee at a cafe a few times a week, don’t let her wheedle you out of it, or she’ll actually be wheedling her way out of your affections.
The Scared Girl
The scared girl is a different type of clingy girlfriend; she harbors the same fears about you leaving her, but she isn’t comfortable talking with you about her needs on a regular basis. More often than not, her clinginess only manifests physically, which is likelier to seem easier to a man at first. If she’s always hanging off your arm, but she isn’t always openly talking to you about what she’s feeling, it’s pretty tempting for a guy to attempt to live on in ignorant bliss. Unfortunately, the real issue is just because she’s not happy disclosing her fears and emotions to you, she’s still feeling them, and without an outlet they can lead to intense bouts of jealousy and explosive fights. The scared girl won’t constantly ask for your reassurance, but she’ll want it nonetheless, and it can make it tough on you to have that unspoken tension hanging over everything you do. It’s likely that you won’t want to stay around for a constant cold war stand off of emotion punctuated with desperate physical attention and needs.
If you’re bound and determined to stick it out, it’s going to take a lot of work. The scared girl requires a true, deep, and lasting trust in you, and that’s simply not something she’ll give away willy nilly. If you can truthfully say that her issues don’t stem from something you’ve done, you’ve got a long road ahead of you, and a lot of it will involve working to draw her out of her shell. I think we all know that fostering open lines of emotional communication isn’t something most guys would put as selected skills on their resumes, so this could be what feels like an insurmountable task. If you are going to work at it, make sure that she contributes too by actually making the effort to be open with you and not forcing you chase her. Like I pointed out in the case of the needy girl, maintaining solid boundaries for yourself will go a long way to preventing you from resenting her.
Can Clingy Girlfriends be Overcome?
There is no right or wrong answer, because both you and she will have your thresholds of tolerance for each other’s bullshit. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take a chance on a girl who has these types of emotional hangups, but men should be aware that they deserve a healthy, happy relationship and sometimes these things are out of their control. However, by arming yourself with a knowledge of what makes a clingy girl tick, you’ll be able to avoid the ones you’re not ready to handle and deal effectively with the ones you can’t live without.