I once had a girlfriend who seemed really cool at the onset of the relationship.
She was a great person, I was really attracted to her—and she was undeniably sexy.
But not long after we got into an exclusive relationship, she started to get so clingy.
She would nearly smother me with attention.
She would constantly hit me up on social media/through text when I was out and about.
And she was so jealous of me doing anything that didn’t involve her that it got to the point where the tension between us was just way too palpable and negative.
And truth be told, I struggled with it.
On one hand, the attention was nice. But then, on the flip side, her clinginess would push things to such an extreme level that it always seemed to result in negativity and conflict.
How do you know if it’s just too much?
And if it is too much, what can be done about it?
Well, these aren’t always easy questions—especially if you’ve never dealt with this specific problem before.
I’m certainly no stranger to clingy girlfriend behavior. I’ve dated my fair share of high maintenance women. And honestly, I used to struggle to figure out how to handle them.
Sometimes, this behavior will make you feel suffocated and trapped.
But then, before you know it, you’ll turn around to find her doing something sweet for you (or something very, very naughty)—and you’ll be left thinking:
Wait a minute. Am I overthinking this?
Well, in this post, you’re going to learn some ‘straight facts’ about clingy girlfriend behavior.
You’re going to learn how to spot it. And you’re also going to learn some techniques for how to handle it.
Let’s dive in.
What Does Clingy Mean in a Relationship?
I define the ‘clingy girlfriend’ as such:
A girlfriend who’s so dependent on your time, energy, and attention for her own happiness and validation that not getting enough of them literally impacts her mood.
If you can pretty accurately judge how good of a mood she’ll be in based on how much time and attention you’ve given her over the course of the last 12 hours, there’s a good chance that you’re in a relationship with a legitimately clingy girlfriend.
- Does she complain when you leave?
- Does she blow up your phone when you’re gone?
- Is she constantly begging you to come home while you’re out with your friends?
- Is she constantly tagging you on social media, and getting low-key mad when you don’t respond?
- Does she take it personally when you don’t focus specifically on her 100% of the time?
These are all telltale signs of clingy girlfriend behavior.
But here’s the tricky thing:
Sometimes, men have a difficult time discerning between actual clingy behavior and normal, loving, affectionate girlfriend behavior.
As a high value man, you certainly don’t want to overreact and accuse your affectionate girlfriend of being clingy if she isn’t.
But you also don’t want to tolerate needlessly absurd levels of it.
So let’s take a look at 7 signs that’ll determine whether or not your girlfriend is actually clingy.
7 Clingy Girlfriend Signs
1. She Doesn’t Give You Space
Is she constantly ‘in your business?’
When the two of you are together, is she obsessed with wanting to be in the same space as you?
In healthy functional relationships, both partners should be able to retain some individuality.
If this feels nearly impossible around your girlfriend, it could be a sign that there’s a ‘clinginess’ issue.
2. She’s Super Preoccupied with What You’re Doing
Does she seem obsessed with how you spend your time, especially when you’re doing things that don’t involve her?
Does she grill you about work and co-workers?
Do you sometimes feel interrogated after coming home from a night out with the boys?
Clingy girlfriends are usually afraid that you don’t actually want to spend time with them.
So any time that’s not spent directly with her will register in her mind as a threat.
Hence the questions, the interrogations, the pressure, the paranoia, etc.
3. Your Routine Dictates Her Mood
Can you predict how good of a mood your girlfriend will be in judging by how you’ve spent the last few hours of your day?
If you go out with your friends, can you pretty much guarantee that she’s not going to be happy when you get home?
If you go out to lunch with a co-worker without inviting her to come along, does she tend to start fights and/or take it personally?
Once again, this all comes back to individuality.
If your girlfriend seems to struggle to have an identity of her own outside of you, there’s a good chance that she’s indeed a clingy girlfriend.
4. She Wants Your Life to Revolve around Her
Does it feel like your decisions need to revolve around her in order to avoid drama?
Does she baselessly accuse you of not wanting to spend time with her and/or of neglecting her if you try to do even one or two things on your own every week?
A girlfriend who wants your life to revolve completely around her is definitely operating at what I call a validation deficit.
In other words, she needs your attention to feel valued and validated.
This is definitely clingy girlfriend territory.
5. She’s Possessive of Your Time and Attention
Do you constantly feel like your girlfriend is trying to compete for your attention?
If you sit down to play some video games, do you feel constant pressure from her to stop paying attention to the game and to start paying attention to her instead?
If you sit down to read a book or watch a football game, does she try really hard to derail your plans by cuddling you, asking you to do things with her, engaging you in conversation despite seeing that you’re otherwise occupied—all without respecting your time and how you want to spend it?
Once again, this all goes back to that validation deficit.
A girlfriend who feels like she’s in constant competition for your attention is probably struggling with a lack of self worth.
And this’ll definitely tip the scales over into the ‘clingy zone.’
I’ve dated a few girls in my life who would constantly tag me, message me, and send me notifications on social media when we weren’t together.
When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal to want to tag each other in funny memes and relatable posts, or just to show each other things that you think the other person would like.
But if it’s happening in excess of a couple times per hour, especially when you’re not with her—there’s definitely some clinginess going on.
And if it’s exceeding 10 or more times per hour, you might legitimately be dealing with someone who has major clinginess issues.
7. She Tries to Get Your Help with Everything
Some clingy girlfriends get really good at using the ‘damsel in distress’ trope to rope their boyfriends into spending more time with them and paying them more attention.
She might complain about certain things in her life in the hopes that you’ll offer to help her.
Or, she may come straight out and beg for your help directly.
If you go along with it and agree to help, she’ll be happy and elated. She might even love bomb you and brag about how good of a boyfriend you are.
But if you draw boundaries and tell her that you can’t help her this time (or that it’s a simple thing that she should be able to do on her own), all hell will break loose.
She definitely won’t be understanding about it. She may become passive aggressive, distant, or even rude and disrespectful.
If you see these warning signs manifesting in your girlfriend, there’s a high probability that you’re dealing with someone who’s exceptionally clingy—at least far beyond the normal range.
How to Deal With a Clingy Girlfriend: 5 Clear Steps
There are 5 main steps that you need to walk through in order to resolve this kind of clingy behavior.
Keep in mind that her clinginess probably has more to do with her life and upbringing than it does with the specifics of your relationship.
But with that being said, as the man in the relationship, you do have a lot of power to dictate whether or not the behavior continues—and these 5 steps are the starting point.
1. Set Healthy Boundaries
For best results, set healthy boundaries about time, attention, energy, and effort right from the beginning of the relationship.
The longer you wait to set boundaries and enforce them, the harder it’s going to be—and the more blowback you’re likely to get from her.
Keep in mind that your girlfriend may not realize that she’s being overly clingy.
It’s possible that she’s dealing with some abandonment issues, or that she’s experienced some other kind of trauma or event in her life that’s caused her to develop clingy tendencies.
Of course, that still doesn’t mean that you should have to tolerate it.
Hence, why a discussion about boundaries is so crucial as early on in the relationship as possible.
Need some help? Read our in-depth guide to commanding respect without being a jerk.
2. Decide If the Clinginess Is Worth It
If a simple discussion about boundaries wasn’t enough to solve the problem, you now have another question to ask yourself:
Is this relationship really worth the trouble to you?
Is she a high value woman?
Could you truly see yourself committing to this woman on a long term basis, or are there so many problems that you’re starting to doubt whether or not there’s any real future together?
Sometimes it’s simply not worth the fight.
Ending an unhealthy relationship is not only the smart thing to do, but also the healthiest thing.
With that being said, clinginess issues can sometimes be fixed.
If the rest of the relationship is really good, and if there aren’t really many other problems, you may decide that it’s worth it to try to fix the issues and continue forward with her.
At the end of the day, however, it’s up to you as the man to make this decision and execute on it.
3. Audit Yourself
Once again, there’s a big difference between:
- Unhealthy clingy behavior, and
- A sweet, attentive girlfriend who loves you and reasonably desires your attention
Make sure to audit yourself for the possibility that you might be overreacting a little bit.
Step back and take a rational look at the relationship.
- Is her behavior mirroring several of the warning signs above?
- Is it delving into unhealthy territory?
Or when you take a step back and really examine it, is there a possibility that you might be acting a bit overly sensitive? Do you need to adjust your own boundaries and priorities a little bit better?
The crucial thing to remember about this step is not to second guess yourself.
Seriously clingy behavior, as outlined in the seven signs above, is pretty easy to spot.
And you’ll know it when you see it.
If it’s there, acknowledge it and deal with it.
Be honest with yourself and trust what you see. Don’t let her play mind games with you.
4. Spend Some Quality Time with Her
In addition to setting boundaries, making an effort to spend some healthy, quality time together can be a great way to show her not only that you care about her, but also to encourage her to uphold her end of the bargain.
Next time you plan to go out with the boys, find an hour or two earlier in the day to go on a walk with her, share a meal with her, listen to her talk about her day, etc.
Keep in mind that relationships do require care and maintenance.
If she’s worth keeping around, she’s worth investing in.
5. Encourage Her to Talk to a Therapist
If your girlfriend’s clingy behavior verges on being truly unhealthy and toxic, it’s possible that you’re actually dealing with something more serious—like abandonment issues or clinical anxiety or depression.
If your girlfriend is dealing with one or more mental health problems, then no amount of boundary-setting on your part is going to solve it.
These things generally require treatment by a therapist.
Therefore, if the relationship is worth working on, it’s important to note that it probably isn’t fair to expect for severe clingy behavior to rectify itself without some kind of external help.
You might want to lovingly encourage her to seek out a therapist or to talk to a psychologist.
And of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt anything for you to talk to a therapist as well.
Maybe venting to a therapist about your girlfriend’s clingy behavior will help you to clear your head so that you can deal with her with a rational frame of mind.
For additional guidance on how to understand your girlfriend’s point of view, I highly recommend you read The Man’s Guide To Women, by John Gottman.
There you have it.
Now you know what’s going on, and what to do about it.
Of course, at the end of the day, never forget that your greatest responsibility as a man is to continue to level up to become the best man that you can possibly be.
The better you become, the better your relationships will be.
So never stop improving—and make sure that you continue to embrace a true alpha mentality in your life.
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Go with grace my friends, and never give up your power.