There are so many ways that we get better at being in relationships over time. To do so, we need to undergo some self-reflection and address problematic behaviors at times. If you’re guilty of being what partners describe as “clingy,” it’s important to address those tendencies so you can truly grow into a healthier, more self-sufficient person. Here’s how to stop being needy and start fulfilling many of your own needs.
- Stop and take a break. At the first sign of feeling overtly needy and attached, stop. Take a minute to yourself and reflect. Don’t demand that you fix everything overnight by yourself. Put your phone down and stop overthinking. But, equally, take ownership over the situation. This requires action on your part and on others’, so create space for yourself to come to terms with this. It’s a hard-to-swallow pill and that’s normal. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your partner starts to suggest that they need space. If anything, it’s healthy to communicate that because they value the relationship’s future and want to correct it. Remember that.
- Evaluate your needs. Before you get too bogged down thinking about the needs of other people, think about what you want. What you need. That might involve a different set of questions and answers than you thought it would. Don’t be alarmed if you discover something new about yourself, either. That’s kind of the whole point of this. Write things down if you need to. If that keeps your head clear and focused on how to fix it.
- Unpack your previous actions. Look back on your past and think about why you behaved the way you did. Is it low self-esteem that causes you to rely so much on other people? Do you need to grow more comfortable with being in your own mind? These are hard questions to ask yourself, but we all have to eventually. You will come out stronger on the other side.
- If in doubt, ask for help. There are so many avenues you can look to for help in these situations. Try third-party help, such as a therapist, if talking to friends seems too personal. If it gets you talking, that’s all that matters. Sometimes it can be incredibly helpful to have a neutral sounding board with no personal bias to hear you out and give you constructive feedback.
- Talk to your friends. If you’re scared to talk, don’t be embarrassed. Your friends have all likely been in the same situation before or had similar conversations themselves. They’ll likely have some useful coping mechanisms and advice. That’s why your friends are there, for times of trouble. They aren’t just for decoration or to hype you up when things are all coming sunny side up. They want to help you, so make sure you give them a chance to do so.
- Talk to your partner. Give yourself a minute to talk with your friends and have some self-reflection. Once you’ve gathered your thoughts and focused on what you need, then talk to your partner. Don’t put that conversation off. They might have been the person to bring up your attachment issues, but they also want to work on the relationship in general too. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t mention it and would just let the relationship fizzle out. Remember that – the hard things are worth having. Have an honest conversation and allow yourself to be vulnerable. You might be pleased with the results.
- Check in regularly. Don’t assume that one talk will automatically create a healthy relationship. Engage in healthier habits and reach out when you need clarification. Or, if you see them changing and behaving oddly, check in with them. It ensures you’re both on the same page and that you don’t start slipping into old habits.
- Don’t make excuses. That said, don’t let their feelings over right yours. You want to consider and accommodate them, but not at the expense of what you’re comfortable with. Be strong-willed and know what you need. If the relationship doesn’t serve that anymore, that’s fine. You should always feel like you can leave a relationship.
- Be kind to yourself. That’s it. That’s my final point. Look the problem in the eye but don’t beat yourself up. We’re all learning how to deal with ourselves, let alone a needy partner. Extend yourself a bit of grace and love. Understand that you’re a human being and that imperfections are a beautiful part of the deal. As long as you’re continuing to work on yourself and your growth, you’ll always be okay.
Signs you’re being needy to look out for
It’s possible to be unaware of the fact that you’re a needy person to begin with. Perhaps past partners have described you this way but you disagree. However, if you identify with any of these behaviors, your exes may have had a point.
- You freak out when you don’t hear from him for a few hours. When they go out with their friends or are at a work event and don’t message you for a couple of hours, you start to freak out inside. You wonder what they’re doing, why they haven’t texted you, and your thoughts begin to spiral so much that you end up convincing yourself that they’re either ready to break up with you or dead in ditch somewhere.
- You constantly call or text them when you’re not together. In addition to freaking out when you don’t hear from them, you also call and text them nonstop when they’re not with you to the point of harassing them. It’s like you can’t leave them alone for five minutes because you don’t know what to do with yourself when they’re not around.
- You feel threatened by their colleagues or friends. Maybe they have a coworker or a friend that they really get along with. That’s great! But not in your mind. You’re convinced that your partner will leave you for this other person or that they’re going to secretly have an affair behind your back. You can’t accept that they have (platonic) connections outside of your relationship because you think you should be the center of their world.
- You always fish for compliments and reassurance. This is one of the biggest signs that you’re being needy. We all like to be reassured from time to time that our partner loves us and wants to be with us. However, if not a day goes by without you asking your partner if they still love you, if they think you’re pretty, etc. then you’re coming off as desperate, insecure, and clingy. You should have confidence that they’re with you for a reason: they want to be. However, if you keep this behavior up, they might not want to be for much longer.
- You try to rush through relationship milestones. Someone who’s too needy sees no problem rushing through all the preliminary stages of a relationship to truly lock things down with a partner. You’re always keen to bust through the dating phase and get onto something more serious like moving in together or even getting engaged. Slow down, take a deep breath, and pace yourself.