If you’re obsessive about your relationship and trying to control your boyfriend, then you’re a clingy girlfriend. Here’s how to stop – and how to undo the damage neediness causes in love relationships.
On my article about how to stop thinking about your ex, a reader said: “I am clingy and obsessive to my boyfriend. He said he can’t be my full-time boyfriend, and that we need to relax and back off a little bit. What to do about it? It’s freaking me out.”
The good news is that her boyfriend may not be breaking up with her – he just wants a break. He’s telling her that she is a clingy girlfriend, and he needs space. She hasn’t driven him away (yet!). These tips will help her – and you – develop your self-image and self-esteem so you can stop being clingy and start being the girl you were meant to be.
Many women try to get their value, confidence, self-worth, and sense of security from a man. This is a huge mistake; you’re giving up your very soul for approval and acceptance from your boyfriend. There is nothing worth this, not a marriage proposal, house with a white picket fence, world travel as a couple, a baby, diamond necklaces – you will wind up disappointed. You’ll be empty-handed and emotionally depleted unless you learn to get your value, confidence, and self-worth from God.
5 Ways to Stop Being a Clingy Girlfriend
Learn how to be happy and love life with your boyfriend – or without your boyfriend. Then he will value, accept, and love you for who you are.
1. Stop evaluating yourself in terms of your boyfriend
If you’re a clingy girlfriend, you’re probably also insecure, needy, dependent, and scared to be alone. You’re getting your self-worth from your image of yourself as a girlfriend. You don’t have an image of yourself apart from being in this relationship. Or, this relationship is more important to you than anything else in your life. If you put your boyfriend above all else, you will be a clingy girlfriend.
In Why Men Love Bi**es: From Doormat to Dreamgirl – A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship, Sherry Argov shares an interesting cycle that describes how girlfriends start being too clingy in a relationship, and how they can’t stop.
The cycle of clingy relationships:
- You develop a single-focused view that what your boyfriend gives you is vital to your life.
- Because you fall into the trap of believing that your boyfriend – and only your boyfriend – can give you everything you need, you give up everything else.
- You feel more and more trapped by your own clinginess in your relationship, but you continue to try harder because you believe your boyfriend is the only one who can make you feel fulfilled again.
- Your boyfriend senses your willingness to give everything up for him, so he stops trying.
- You sense your boyfriend withdrawing and you work even harder. You find yourself becoming even more clingy in your relationship and you can’t stop yourself.
- The relationship self-destructs.
The cycle gets worse as you become more and more depleted and desperate for your boyfriend’s love, time, and attention.
2. Think about why you are insecure, needy, and clingy
We’re all insecure and needy in different ways. It’s normal to seek reassurance, love, and affection from our partners. But, if our self-worth and self-identity is wrapped up in our relationship or our partners, then we are skating on thin ice. We can’t get our self-esteem from other people or material things. We need to find more solid, permanent, effective ways to feel good about ourselves.
In 11 Ways to Stop Being the “Clingy Girlfriend” in a Relationship, I encourage readers to get their self-identity and purpose from God. If you connect to your Creator, you will find a security and freedom you never dreamed possible. Are you secure in who you are? I wasn’t, until I learned how God sees me. Feeling and accepting His love was the only way I got what Agrov was talking about! It was the only way I could learn how to stop being clingy in my relationships, because He is the source of my life, light, strength and power.
What is the source of your joy? Stop for a moment. Tell me who or what fuels your purpose, your passion. What brings you alive, fills you with peace, sparks your light and helps you shine?
3. Learn what makes you YOU
Who are you, apart from your boyfriend? What are you good at? What do you love to do? What are your hopes, dreams, goals, plans? If you want to know how to stop being a clingy girlfriend, you have to build yourself up as a person apart from your relationship. I’m learning to get my self-worth from God, who adores me. He loves us so much! When I tap into His source of power and love, I don’t need to worry about what anyone else thinks. To stop being a clingy girlfriend, you need to find a healthy source of love and security…and it doesn’t come from the world or people in it. It comes from God.
Don’t give up don’t those things you love, whether it’s knitting or running committees or driving monster trucks or planning your academic path through medical school and becoming an oncologist. Those things you love make you more interesting and lovable to everyone, including your boyfriend. He doesn’t want to be the center of your life. He wants to be in a relationship with a girlfriend who isn’t clinging to him as the source of everything meaningful and good.
4. Know that independence and fullness makes you beautiful
I don’t think you should stop being a clingy girlfriend to make yourself more attractive to your boyfriend, but I want you to remember that independent women are awesome! Independent women are self-assured and able to stand on their own. They are sexy, fun, exciting, and adventurous. They love life, and feel confident that they are powerful and attractive.
If you’ve always tended towards neediness and clinginess with your boyfriends, read
How to Ask for What You Need in Your Relationships.
5. Plan something exciting
What have you always wanted to do? Start making plans to achieve your personal or professional goals – and I’m not talking about your goal to convince your boyfriend that you aren’t a clingy girlfriend! Start planning your next vacation, career move, volunteer job, or self-improvement class. Take your eyes off your relationship and your boyfriend. Look to the blue sky, the starry night, the vast ocean…can you see your potential?
If adventure and nature isn’t first on your list of ways to stop being a clingy girlfriend. learn practical tips on how to stop being clingy with your boyfriend.
These quick tips on how to stop being a clingy girlfriend in a relationship are from Argov’s book…
- Don’t always be the one to drive 40 minutes or two hours for a date. Let your boyfriend make an effort to see you.
- Don’t beg him for attention or affection. If your boyfriend ignores you, don’t try harder and harder to get his attention.
- If your boyfriend is in a bad mood, give him space. Go do your own thing and let him work through his feelings in his own time.
- Do not be governed by your fear of losing a man; the real loss is losing yourself. Women give themselves up small weights in this empty sense of their life and vitality.
- Don’t try to change your boyfriend or the relationship, or try to get him to talk about how he feels about you. And don’t try to change him! This a sign of insecurity in relationships, and it’s very unhealthy.
- Do not allow your boyfriend or relationship to control your life.
- Don’t dismiss what you used to value in your life and what used to be important you.
- Don’t obsess over your boyfriend’s opinion or try to get his approval. Value your priorities, preferences, and life goals.
Here’s my second-favorite tip on how to stop being clingy in a relationship: don’t stop eating, sleeping, or exercising because of a man! Keep your healthy, joyful routines in life. If a new boyfriend wants to spend more time with you, then you can comfortably give, invite him to join you in one of your activities – like taking your dog for a walk or going for a weekend hike or bike ride.
Bonus tip: read books about strong, healthy, happy women
I’m currently reading I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve by Kate White. She is a New York Times bestselling author – and the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, the #1 young women’s magazine in the world, and a hugely successful businesswoman. In I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, she shares her secrets to success.
I love this book because it offers tips on everything from how to ask for a raise to how to prepare for a meeting. Even if you aren’t career driven, you should read this book. It’ll help you stop being a clingy girlfriend. It’ll give you confidence, power, and the ooomph you need to create your own life.
How to Stop Being a Clingy Girlfriend
In Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy, and Worried and What You Can Do About It, Leslie Becker-Phelps will teach you how to overcome attachment anxiety using compassionate self-awareness, a technique that can help you recognize your negative thoughts or unhealthy behavior patterns and respond to them in a nurturing way.
You’ll also learn how insecurity can negatively affect healthy conversations between you and your boyfriend develop the skills needed to stop you from reverting back to old patterns of neediness and possessiveness in your relationships. If you suffer from anxious attachment, you probably know that you need to change, and yet you have remained stuck. With compassionate self-awareness, you can successfully explore old anxiety-perpetuating perceptions and habits without being overwhelmed or paralyzed by them. You can learn how to stop being needy in your relationship, and be a healthy girlfriend who is happily attached to her boyfriend.
Are you a clingy girlfriend? If you’re not sure, read 5 Signs You’re Suffocating Your Partner.
I welcome your thoughts below. I can’t offer advice or personal help on how to stop being a clingy girlfriend, but you may find it helpful to share your story. Talking about your relationship can help you work through why you tend to cling to a boyfriend.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.