How To Stop Being Needy And Clingy

Last updated on : August 01 2021

Couple holding hands

Preface

The advice in this article applies to both men and women in a romantic relationship. 

Both men and women can fall victim to the unhealthy behaviors of neediness and clinginess. However, generally, men tend to put up with neediness in a relationship longer than women do.

We use the words neediness and clinginess interchangeably as they represent similar behaviors.

What Is Neediness 

Neediness is a state of want or need, often accompanied by desperation. In relationships, neediness leads us to seek the validation or attention of our partner excessively. 

In small quantities, neediness can be cute and alluring. However, when accompanied by despair or anguish, or overdone, neediness can quickly lead to your relationship breaking down. 

Yes, being needy has its ups and downs. Having the occasional bout of need can remind your partner how special they are to you and strengthen your relationship. 

But displaying too much needy or clingy behavior can make your partner feel smothered and cause you to feel like you don't know who you are anymore.

The cause of neediness is often a lack of self-worth or respect, leading the individual to rely on their partner to complete them emotionally and bring them happiness. 

Neediness Has Two Dangerous Traits

Firstly, most of us don't know we're needy or recognize the signs of neediness. This failure means neediness is challenging to spot in ourselves.  

Secondly, neediness can destroy romantic relationships if left unchecked and potentially contribute to a cycle of frustration, dissatisfaction, and depression.

Looking back, every person knows what it feels like to be needy. We have all exhibited neediness at some point in our lives. And for some people, it can be consistently present in relationships. 

Girl clinging onto man

Five Common Signs of Neediness

We've listed five common forms of neediness below to help you understand neediness generally and to help you know whether you are needy or not. 

However, note that neediness comes in many guises, and so this list is not exhaustive. 

1. Texting Too Often

Checking in with your partner via text is a cute and sweet way to let them know that you are thinking about them.

But if your conversation seems one-sided or consists of you sending more than two or three texts in a row without getting a response, you have a neediness problem on your hands. 

This behavior indicates that you are trying too hard or need too much attention and can leave you looking clingy. 

Try to give your partner space to get on with their day instead of bombarding them with text messages, which may distract and annoy them 

If you must text, then treat texting like a conversation, where you and your partner send messages back and forth. You will be texting successfully if the text messages are alternating in number, size, and content from both parties.

2. Displaying Extreme Jealousy

Jealousy is the heart's way of telling you that someone is important to you. So, if you feel jealousy, treat it as a gentle reminder to cherish your partner, not as a reason to freak out or control them. 

People often behave in a clingy or needy way because they're jealous or worried about their partner's loyalty or possible interest in others.  

For example, you may want to text your partner throughout the day because you're worried about what they are doing. Or you may want to hang out with your partner 24/7 because you don't trust their behavior without you. 

However, being envious and mistrusting is only going to push the two of you further apart. Since relationships are based on mutual trust, your clingy nature shows your partner that you don't have faith in them or your relationship, making you look weak. 

On the other hand, if you choose to trust your partner and work through these jealous feelings and emotions, you'll be far less clingy, more relaxed mentally, and your relationship is far more likely to succeed. 

3. Always Wanting Reassurance

If you're constantly looking for reassurance, it can drain your partner and damage your relationship.  

You will know you are doing this when you are, for instance, seeking a compliment from your partner, and when you receive it, you don't believe what they are saying to you.  

No matter how many times your partner reassures you of their love, happiness to be with you, or their loyalty, you never believe them. 

The best idea is to keep your need for reassurance under control. You can do this by improving your self-worth and confidence. We cover some steps to help you do this in the section below. 

4. Professing Your Feelings Too Often Or Soon

If you are continuously professing your feelings to your partner, it can quickly become annoying and may make them think less of you.  

It is normal to miss someone you are attracted to, particularly if you have good chemistry. But you need to ensure you don't constantly barrage your partner with messages about how much you miss them or that you need to see them again as soon as possible.  

Instead, try to stay low key about your feelings for your partner, expressing them rarely and only when appropriate. 

5. Overdoing Social Media

If you find yourself stalking your partner or overdoing the interaction on social media, you are more than likely behaving in a needy way. 

A needy person may attempt to publicly stake their claim on their partner by communicating too much on their social media or expecting them to change their relationship status too soon.    

Worse, you might manipulate your partner into giving you the password for their online accounts to check up on them and settle your worries. 

Instead, try to develop deeper bonds of trust – a quality that is essential for a happy relationship - and don't use your neediness as an excuse to social media stalk your partner.  

Couple hugging

Ten Practices To Stop Being Needy

To conquer neediness, you need to work on your self-esteem.

Self-esteem relates to how you think and feel about yourself and how you value your abilities and skills. When you have high self-esteem, you feel secure within yourself and with the people around you and won't be needy or clingy.

Therefore the cure to neediness relies on building up your sense of self, your self-esteem, as this will allow you to self-regulate your emotions, which is essential in a healthy relationship.

Here are some steps you can take to develop confidence in yourself and create a life you genuinely enjoy. 


  • Practice the principles of self-love. Don't look for validation and love from others. Do the small things you need to do, from brushing your teeth to watching what you eat and getting enough exercise. Pat yourself on the back often, be positive and celebrate life. 
  • Always show respect and friendliness for others, and be quick to forgive. These behaviors are respectful and will keep you positive.  
  • Consider and refresh your boundaries and don't violate them. If you break your boundaries too often, you'll expect less of yourself, diminishing your self-respect. Set high standards for yourself, and stick to them. Don't lie and develop good habits and decisions.  
  • Tune into your needs. Don't let other people's opinions sway you. Don't compare yourself to others.
  • Turn your inner voice positive. You are your most prominent critic. Practice telling you how good you are and make it a habit. Strike a hero's pose every day and write positive affirmations. Surround yourself with positive people. 
  • Don't succumb to peer pressure. You don't want to do things to get other people's approval. 
  • Control your emotions, especially negative emotions like anger, jealousy, and resentment. When let out, these emotions can be damaging, not only to our relationships but to ourselves. If you're angry all the time, you'll accept it as a way of life. Focus instead on being happy and cheerful. 
  • Increase your knowledge and develop a passion. Expand your mind and your boundaries by learning more. Being more knowledgeable allows you to interact with a broader range of people intelligently and broaden your perspectives. If you live in a small world, you might not feel others will value your opinion. 
  • Show gratitude and volunteer to help people. These two behaviors are proven to increase your mood and sense of self-worth. 
  • Seek the help of a therapist. If you're struggling, don't fight the battle alone. Instead, seek the use of a therapist. 

Bonus Section - Have Options 

Having options means that you're critical in selecting your partner and are indifferent to the outcome of any given relationship.

With these beliefs, you can focus on finding the right partner for you and not put all your commitment into the first person who comes your way - who may not be a good choice for you.  

Ask yourself, "What kind of person do you want as a partner? Focus on quality and the person who loves your brain and personality. And with this knowledge, find an excellent match for you. 

Finally, be sure that you can walk away from a relationship that is not working for you. If you're unhappy, walking away must always be an option for you. 

Finding the right partner for you and knowing that you can walk away from an unhealthy relationship shows healthy levels of self-esteem and eliminates your chances of being overly needy or clingy. 

Couple hugging

Conclusion 

Neediness and clinginess can destroy romantic relationships and are hard to identify in yourself. So you must be careful about whether you are displaying these emotions or not. 

You can remedy needy behavior by working through any issues of self-doubt and regularly reminding yourself that you are worth time and affection.

But also know that sometimes being in a relationship will make you feel self-conscious, anxious, and needy. If this is the case, check whether you are placing too much focus on a person who might not be the best choice for you, and know that you can walk away if this is the case. 

A happy and healthy relationship should make you feel good about yourself. You should feel motivated, loving, and full of life. 

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