What to do if your partner is very clingy?

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Getting into a relationship is often effortless for couples in love. However, maintaining a healthy relationship is a different story. To keep your relationship in balance for a long time, you’ll both have to invest in yourselves and your relationship. This means being able to set boundaries, but also to accept your partner’s boundaries. In the long run, you can lose your balance when your partner crosses your boundaries too often, asks too much of you, costs too much energy, or is too possessive. How do you deal with an overbearing partner? Read on for tips in this blog!

The balance in a healthy relationship

The art of a stable relationship is not to always stay in balance together, but to regain that balance as soon as you lose it. No one always feels stable in life so, as a couple, that’s not realistic either. Being in a relationship means not only loving, but also working on yourself, investing in your relationship, and making compromises. You’re balancing on a tightrope together and will both have to keep working to stay on it. It’s not always easy, especially when that balance is increasingly hard to maintain.

“The trick is not to always stay in balance, but to work together to regain that balance when it’s lost.”

Clingy behaviour from a partner is a clear example of when the relationship is no longer in balance. The affectionate partner may demand a lot from you, often needs validation, or (unconsciously) takes more than they give. In the long run, this can burn you out and the relationship won’t provide you with positive energy. To recognise dependent behaviour in your relationship, it’s especially wise to gauge what your partner’s presence offers you: does it give you energy or does it cost you energy? Possessive behaviour, which sooner or later just feels draining, often leads to irritation, defensive behaviour, and negative feelings towards each other.

The reason for clingy behaviour

Someone doesn’t just start being possessive for no reason, so often there’s an underlying motivation. Perhaps it’s the result of insecurity or bad experiences in previous relationships, or perhaps it says something about your reserved and closed behaviour. So, try to put your partner’s clinginess in perspective: what’s your partner’s story, and how does it relate to you and your relationship? The dynamic arises especially when your partner has a tendency towards inconsiderate behaviour and you, as their partner, also find it difficult to set boundaries. It often happens both ways!

If your partner acts clingy: here’s what you can do!

Your partner’s clinginess won’t do you or your relationship much good in the long run, so you’ll have to do something about it. The best solution is always to communicate about it. Doing nothing or saying nothing will perpetuate the problem or even make it worse. Don’t go on the attack, but just mention the things you notice and what effect it has on you. Ask your partner how they experience this.

“Doing nothing or saying nothing perpetuates the problem or even makes it worse.”

Acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Clingy behaviour often originates from negative feelings such as insecurity, fear, or sadness. It’s not easy for your partner to feel this way, so approach the conversation with compassion and empathy.

Openness and limiting clingy behaviour

The conversation about your relationship gives you both space to be open with each other. What are your expectations of each other? What do you both have to offer, and what’s definitely off the table? Perhaps this wasn’t entirely clear to either of you, and so a difference in expectations has led to clingy behaviour and all that comes with it.

“By specifically expressing your expectations to each other, you both know more about where you stand in your relationship.”

So express your specific expectations. For example, tell your partner that in addition to quality time with them, you also want to have time for sports, me-time, friends, and family. Taking time for yourself and doing things separately contributes to a stable, healthy relationship. This applies not only to you, but also to your partner.

Have you ever had an experience with a clingy partner? Let us know in a comment below!

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