Inspired by one of my readers who asked me for advice about his girlfriend who was too clingy, I decided to turn my response to his question into a blog since so many men out there relate with this common issue - so men, here you go!
By Author V.S. Atbay
1) SET ASIDE A TIME TO BE HONEST
Set aside some calm and quiet time with your girlfriend.
Express to her honestly, genuinely and calmly about how her behavior makes you feel. If you don't communicate how you feel, she'll never know. Expecting her to know how you feel is unrealistic. You'll have to step out of your comfort zone!
2) CONSIDER YOUR APPROACH & TONE OF VOICE
The tone of your voice and your approach in which you choose to express yourself is important. Yelling at her, avoiding her or the issue, blocking her off, getting angry or frustrated won't solve the problem, in fact, it will make her feel even more possessive and clingy, specially if she's hypersensitive. Talking about the issue with your buddies won't solve the problem either. Approaching her respectfully and setting some boundaries, making her aware of her actions, the patterns and how this might destroy the relationship is important.
Encourage her to hang out with her friends. Also, to engage in a hobby, join a club, go on a girls night out, start up a business, work on her passion and so forth. When a partner is clingy, it could also indicate that she's either feeling left out, responsible for you, alone or bored. Chances are she has become too dependent on you. Perhaps she needs to re-focus on her own personal priorities and goals, but this is something you can only encourage and suggest respectfully without scolding or forcing her. By tactfully and genuinely encouraging her to live a more active and independent lifestyle, you will mutually have more time to yourselves. Just don't be rude or disrespectful about it!
4) PATIENCE IS KEY
Gaining trust usually takes time, but it can be attainable. If you truly love her and believe that your relationship is worth the challenges, then don't give up. A strong relationship is one that has gone through many tests and trials. You will have to remain patient, understanding, compassionate and allow her to relax. She'll trust you slowly, but eventually. Reassure her of your love, compliment her, and don't give her a reason not to trust you. When you hang out with your buddies, send a quick text telling her you love her and leave it at that. More importantly, act first before she does. This will surprise her and allow her to calm down. Communication is key. Assuming is dangerous.
5) AFFECTION, EFFORT AND REASSURANCE
Keep in mind that if you call or text her first, it will make it comfortable for you to get off the phone first and enjoy some time with your buddies or with yourself. This is how trust is gained –through small displays of affection, effort and reassurance. It takes baby steps, but if you truly want your relationship and feel that it's worth it, then taking the initiative is key. She'll start to trust you slowly as she realizes you're not out to harm or betray her and eventually let go of her tight grip.
6) LIMIT YOUR INTERACTION WISELY
Instead of spending everyday or every hour with her, limit your interaction to only once or twice a week. The more you feed into giving constant and unnecessary attention, the more clingy she will become, because it becomes a habit. So you probably need to break past some bad habits. However, set special times to see each other and follow through. Spending time together is about quality and not quantity. The times you do spend with her, make it special. Set up special dates, surprise her spontaneously, do fun stuff together, pay attention to her needs, what makes her laugh, excited or happy. Knowing her in a special way will help her feel important, and less insecure and she'll trust you slowly. We can't expect or demand trust, trust needs to be earned and gained slowly in any relationship. This is only natural.
7) EVALUATE THE PROGRESS
Being with a clingy partner can become suffocating, overwhelming and hard work. But before you end things, ask yourself if you've truly given her a chance to correct or change her unhealthy behavior. Have you both communicated and genuinely opened up? Have you given her a reason to mistrust you? Has she expressed why she acts the way she does? Has she made any progress? More importantly, never accuse her of being insecure. Chances are she'll feel defensive, hurt and offended. However, you can make her aware by asking her questions, being more tactful and suggestive, rather then offensive.
8) TAKE ACTION
If you realize that you have tried everything and nothing helps to change her behavior, then I would seriously question whether you're in a healthy relationship or not, specially if her behavior becomes worse, obsessive or abusive. I would suggest either taking some space and time away from the relationship or cutting all ties with respect. Before you do this, carefully weigh the pro's and con's of your final decision.
Author V.S. Atbay