Can't Let Go? How To Be Less Clingy In Your Relationships

Updated March 26, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Relationships. Everyone seems to want them, and no wonder. A good relationship is a source of joy and fulfillment.

But relationships are also a tricky balancing act.

One of the toughest things to balance: how to enjoy the affection between you and your partner without becoming too clingy.

But what does that mean? And how do you know that it’s a problem? What’s “clingy” mean, anyway?

Am I too clingy?

If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, here are a few warning signs.

Need help navigating concerns in your relationship?

  • Do you feel upset when your partner spends time with friends instead of you?
  • Do you tag along with him everywhere?
  • Do you contact her constantly via text message and social media?
  • Do you get anxious or upset if he doesn’t respond to your messages immediately?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you might be too clingy.

So why is this a problem? Isn’t it good to be attentive to your partner and show her that you care?

Yes, in moderation. But if you are a super clingy boyfriend/girlfriend, you risk making your partner feel smothered and resentful. That’s not good for either of you and certainly not good for your relationship’s long-term health.

How to become less clingy

So what to do?

Here is your nine-step program to become less clingy in your relationship.

Develop other interests and hobbies

What incites your passion and makes your heart soar? Your partner does, of course, but what else?

If you focus on your partner to exclude other hobbies and interests, it’s a recipe for boredom and stagnation. And let’s be honest: no one likes that.

So spend time pursuing an activity that you enjoy. If nothing comes to mind, this might be a good time to pick up a new hobby. Take surfing lessons or join a dance class. Meet with the local garden club – volunteer at an animal shelter.

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s an activity you can enjoy on your own without your partner’s company.

Then you’ll have some great stories to tell him about your adventures later…and it will only make the relationship stronger.

Give your partner space

The fact is, most people need space every once in a while. They need the freedom to think about their thoughts and inhabit their own space for a bit.

Make sure that you allow your partner that freedom so she doesn’t start to feel trapped.

If he wants to go out for a drink with friends, you can show that you care about him by allowing him space and freedom. This gives him the message that his needs and wants are important to you.

After all, you want your partner to spend time with you because she chooses to and wants to…not because you happen to be there every time she turns around.

Trust your partner

Why am I clingy? Wondering what’s really at the root of your clinginess?

For most people, it’s a lack of trust.

In other words, you’re afraid to let him have his space because you think he might abandon or betray you.

These trust issues could be leftover baggage from a past relationship or even from a rocky childhood. If someone lets you down when you depended on them, that can be not easy to overcome.

If you need help dealing with these issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to a good counselor to get to the bottom of them.

Because every time you become jealous or interrogate her about where she is, you’re communicating that you don’t trust her. And that gets old after a while.

Without trust, there isn’t much of a foundation for real, lasting love.

Build your confidence

Often, clinginess can stem from the false belief that you’re not competent to care for yourself.

You may feel helpless without your partner by your side and rely on her to help you solve problems.

But nothing could be further from the truth. You are perfectly able to take care of yourself if you need to.

Furthermore, your partner may feel pressured to rush to your rescue every time you need help, and this can be tiring after a while.

Practice doing small things by yourself, like going to the store or taking care of things around the house. Your confidence will grow as you begin to realize your independence.

Of course, it’s nice to have a partner at your side. But it’s empowering to know that you can also do many things on your own.

Your partner will admire and respect you more as you become more independent.

Work on physical boundaries

Physical touch is a wonderful way to express affection for your partner. Hugging, kissing, and holding hands are ways that the two of you can feel closer.

But have you come to rely on physical touching too much? Do you use it to reassure yourself that your partner is still there?

As with anything, physical touch can be taken too far. Some people feel trapped or smothered if they are being touched all the time. Sometimes, your partner might need a little space.

So pay attention if your partner tells you that the physical touching is getting to be too much. Notice what his boundaries are and respect them.

Remember that physical touch is not the only way to show affection. It’s possible to feel love for someone without needing to be touched all the time.

Spend time with friends and family

When was the last time you called a good friend? Or had lunch with your mother?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably neglected some of these relationships ever since you and your partner became an item.

And if you’ve ever been dropped like a hot potato by a friend or loved one once they’ve begun a new relationship, you know how that feels.

So don’t neglect your friends and family. Instill a sense of balance in your relationships by setting aside time for each of the important people.

And don’t spend the entire time together talking about your partner, either. We all know how annoying that can be! Please give them a brief rundown of how things are going between the two of you, and then talk about other things happening in your life.

Spend time alone

Nothing can replace the insights and clarity to be gained by spending some time in solitude.

So discipline yourself to spend time alone, paying attention to your thoughts and feelings. Reconnect with your true self. Rediscover what makes you tick, your hopes, dreams, and passions.

In doing so, you establish your independence. You’re also taking the pressure off your partner by letting your partner know that you’re not dependent on him for your happiness. You can find it within yourself.

Use your alone time to do things that you enjoy. You might listen to a particular type of music that you love, and she’s not fond of it. Read a book. Watch a movie that you would never watch if she were there; or dance around the living room. Anything that gives you a reason to look forward to this time with yourself.

Spend less time on your phone

It’s all too easy to spend an entire day on your phone, interacting with your partner via text message, email, and social media. Gone are the days when we said goodbye to our partner in the morning and joyously awaited the opportunity to talk about our day with them when we saw them again. Now, with such easy path to our loved ones, there’s no need to ever say goodbye, even for a moment. This is both good and bad.

Realize that just because you can contact your partner at any time of the day or night does not necessarily mean that you should.

Remember that he needs time to focus on other things besides you. If you are distracting him from his work, activities, or friendships, he may become resentful.

So put down the phone for a while and find something else to do.


Need help navigating concerns in your relationship?

Communication is everything! Find a good moment to sit down with your partner and talk about your clinginess. Explain why you’re so clingy, where it comes from, and the kind of events that trigger it.

Once your partner understands your clinginess, she can work with you to try and overcome it.

It will also help you know the specific aspects of your clinginess that your partner finds most bothersome. Pinpoint the most problematic behaviors, and focus on each of them one at a time.

With collaboration and a plan in place, you will feel much calmer and in control, so you will your partner.

Clinginess can stifle and damage even the most promising of relationships. But with a little insight and hard work, you can ease up on the clinginess, freeing the two of you to enjoy the wonderful relationship that you deserve.

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