How to Stop Being Clingy

Young couple with foreheads together.Young couple with foreheads together.

Perhaps your partner has asked for space, or perhaps you’ve simply come to the self-realization that you are too clingy. In either case, a change needs to be made before your behavior puts damaging stress on your relationship. In the Psychology Today article, “Overcoming Neediness,” psychiatrist Mark Banschick explains that clingy behavior has roots in poor self-esteem, which leads a person to feel incomplete without her partner. However, you can reestablish your sense of self and tone down your clingy habits.

Control the Urge to Contact

A large step in avoiding clingy behavior involves taming your desire to contact your partner too frequently. Whenever you feel the need to obsessively text, email or call your significant other, write your feelings on paper, suggests life coach Maryjane Kapteyn in her article "7 Ways to Avoid Being Clingy." This allows you to release your feelings without actually reaching out for reassurance. Later you can examine your writing and reassess your feelings. Were your fears logical? Or were they formed from baseless assumptions?

Reframe Fears

Rather than trying to cover your behavior with excuses, be honest with yourself. Admit your fears, suggests Kapteyn. For example, you might be afraid that your partner's lack of texting stems from his preoccupation with another woman. Once your fears are out in the open, you can begin to re-frame them to fit a broader perspective. Consider that there are many potential reasons your partner hasn't texted you yet. Perhaps his phone died, or he has it turned off at the moment.

Take Center Stage

Don’t spend your time speculating what your partner is doing. Instead, refocus your attention to yourself, suggests dating coach Kristina Marchant in the YourTango article, “How to Act When He Needs Space.” This includes returning to old hobbies you once enjoyed. For example, go bowling with friends or start working on that painting you never finished. Don’t just limit yourself to familiar activities and people -- get out of the house and have new experiences with new friends. The goal is to become so busy with your own activities that you don’t have time to sit around in fear.

Take It Easy

Practice the art of self-soothing with relaxation techniques, suggests Banschick. Whenever you feel the obsessive need to ask your partner for assurance, take a few deep breaths from your diaphragm. You should feel your mind start to calm, and your fears diminish. In addition, take up some daily form of exercise to clear your mind. For example, try a yoga class or begin a jogging routine. Physical activity is not just good for the body, but also for taming stressful feelings, such as fear.

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About the Author

Mitch Reid has been a writer since 2006. He holds a fine arts degree in creative writing, but has a persistent interest in social psychology. He loves train travel, writing fiction, and leaping out of planes. His written work has appeared on sites such as and GlobalPost, and he has served as an editor for ebook publisher Crescent Moon Press, as well as academic literary journals.

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