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Clingy Girlfriend


holyohio
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Been dating this girl for about 3 months. She's wonderful.

 

Im a conservative, she's a liberal

I am content with spending the day doing nothing, she constantly has to be entertained.

Im a science major, she's into liberal arts

Im a man and...well...she's a feminist!

 

It's a great relationship and I truly value the time we spend together, even given that we are so different from one another (we never argue !)

 

She seems to be getting a little "clingy" the past few weeks. We went from speaking every night on the phone for about an hour (she lives couple hours away until we go back to school in a couple weeks) to her calling me at 8am in the morning (from work), twice at lunch, one time between lunch and 5am, after work, and then 2 hours at night.

 

She has told me she has fears of being too dependent on someone to be happy (she has had quite a bad run of luck in the past with guys) in which case I tried to encourage her to be the strong independent woman that she so often aspires to be. She was also (delightfully...i think) surprised when I insisted that she go out with her friends (sans myself, because I was tired from moving apartments) even though "other guys were going to be there" (i sensed she was a little disappointed when I said I didn't want to go, almost as if I was inferring she couldn't go because I wasnt). I try to encourage her to do fun activities outside just me and her all the time, but she seems to be using "seeing me" as an excuse to blow everyone else off (as if she doesn't see me enough .

 

I know the quick answer is stop answering phone calls ALL of the time, maybe just limit it to 2-3 a day MAX. Already tried. If I do this my phone constantly rings off of the hook, and I end up either having to turn it on silent, vibrate, or off completely (and my job requires that I be reachable on the phone)

 

Any solutions to try and remedy the situation? I love spending time with this girl and really do care about her a great deal, but I feel that the more we hang out and the longer the duration, the higher the probabiltiy that we will end up fighting or get bored with each other. I don't think it's healthy to spend ALL of your time with your S/O.

 

Thoughts? Thanks y'all!

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You're absolutely right....too much time spent with a significant other can definitely have a negative effect, especially if one of you wants more "together time" than the other!

 

I don't think a passive-aggressive approach, where you just stop intentionally answering her calls, etc., is the way to go here. I think that would have the opposite effect, possibly making her even more "clingy." Instead, I think you should sit her down, and talk about your expectations from the relationship--yours and hers.

 

Tell her you love the time you spend together, and the times you get to talk, that you care about her and truly enjoy being with her. But let her know that you also want to make sure she doesn't neglect her friends, family, alone time, hobbies, etc., or you yours, because in the long run, a healthy balance among ALL those things in both of your lives will make your relationship stronger and healthier--which is what you both want.

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I would "solve it" by not giving into it or rewarding the clingy behaviour. And by talking to her directly about your expectations of time apart/together and that it does not mean "I don't like you" if you choose to not spend 24/7 together

 

I think that as much as she says she is worried about being "dependent" - she is this way. I am not sure how old she is..but I suspect it is because she puts a lot of weight on her "role" in life being tied to her relationship status. And, she may not know herself well enough yet to be strong and independent...or to have her own identity outside and within a relationship. The fact she told you she had fears of being too dependent on someone to be happy is actually, a rather large flag that she IS dependent and does depend on you to make her happy (rather than being happy within herself and creating her own happiness).

 

This means, make sure YOU are busy and doing your own thing, encouraging her to do hers, and not answering all the calls.

 

Of course...there is also the chance she will become more clingy/needy as this is whom she is...and if that is the case, you have to evaluate what you want in a relationship/partner.

 

I agree with you that retaining your individuality and own passions/friends is very important for the health of the relationship too. I when younger gave up too much for boyfriends, with disastrous results. It took me a while to both know whom I was and realize that being my own person was HEALTHY. It also led to much healthier, positive partnerships. And now...I definitely make my passions/hobbies a big priority in and out of a relationship. I respect their "individual time" as well.

 

But, when one person is independent (even moderately) and the other is more clingy/dependent.....it tends to cause a lot of conflict as you are trying to retain your identity, and the other is trying to absorb yours for themself.

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Have you tried voicing your fears about this with her? She may not be aware of what she is doing.....you know, like the way she is acting comes naturally to her is what I am thinking.

 

To me it sounds like she is really into you, and you have a good thing going here. I'd just tell her about your fears, and possibly even restate what she told you in the beginning (that she doesn't lke being dependent on someone else) and that you want to make sure that she doesn't "lose herself" while in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship.

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I think that as much as she says she is worried about being "dependent" - she is this way. I am not sure how old she is..but I suspect it is because she puts a lot of weight on her "role" in life being tied to her relationship status. And, she may not know herself well enough yet to be strong and independent...or to have her own identity outside and within a relationship.

Actually, from what I understand she has not really been in a lot of healthy relationships. I knew her for a long time through a friend and she always seemed to be a self-proclaimed "comittmentphobe" (her words). She hated being termed boyfriend/girlfriend, didn't like the idea of exclusivity, flaunted the fact that she "dated" lots of guys to me, etc... so I assumed (incorrectly perhaps) that she wasn't really the clingly sort. Before exclusively dating me, I don't think she just came out of any really serious relationships and had been semi-single for about a year and a half (from all I know, she really doesnt go into detail about her ex-boyfriends, just refers to them as "exes" when she talks about them...probably for the best!).

 

After we had been dating for about 1.5 months, she confesses that she loves me, she's never liked a boy before, and "If I ever get too annoying, just kick me out, but dont break up with me". All these insecurity problems just out of the blue !!

 

The fact she told you she had fears of being too dependent on someone to be happy is actually, a rather large flag that she IS dependent and does depend on you to make her happy (rather than being happy within herself and creating her own happiness).

Bingo. Hit the nail on the head. That's how I took it too.

But, when one person is independent (even moderately) and the other is more clingy/dependent.....it tends to cause a lot of conflict as you are trying to retain your identity, and the other is trying to absorb yours for themself.

Right. And it kind of makes conversation a little awkward and boring when we DO get to hang out with each other since we talk every day for 300 hours about every little thing that has happened recently. I just fear that we'll eventually get bored of each other. Part of the excitement in the honeymoon phase is to learn and come to like certain aspects of the other person !! She keeps probing and probing (like all girls do) about every little detail of my life, she wants to know silly stories of my childhood or my experiences (and I'm, by nature, a pretty private person) and I feel that if she knows everything about me, its gonna get real boring !

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Have you tried voicing your fears about this with her? She may not be aware of what she is doing.....you know, like the way she is acting comes naturally to her is what I am thinking.

 

For one thing, I know she is conscious and pretty sensitive to this subject because she brings it up ... semi-frequently, saying "If I ever hang around too much, just tell me to leave, don't break up with me".

 

That being said, I don't see this conversation ending without an argument or someones feelings being hurt. If this happens and she storms out without a word, I'll feel like she's trying to guilt trip me and I do not respond very well to these things (im a taurus, we're too proud !) and we might end up on the rocks...but hey, I guess I'll start getting some of the space I've been wanting.

 

But I guess an argument at this point might be inevitable anyways and we might as well have our first one. From my experiences, girls like this will tend to notice even a very subtle change in behavior and start to take "I dont want to talk on the phone/hang out with you because i have xxx to do" (in effort to get some me time or night out with the boys time) as "I dont like you anymore. You annoy me"

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I can completely empathize with your gf. I used to be like that, although with my last relationship, the last year of it, I learned that if one is distant and doesnt get clingy to a guy, it actually makes the relationship better and makes the guy want you more. Sad thing is I learned it at the expense of said relationship. The first year of our relationship, I was the clingy one, constantly wanting to see him, talk to him, etc and that turned him off a bit and caused some problems in our relationship. We then took break from each other (which lasted a week). He came back and we were bf/gf again. A few months into the second year, I lost my feelings for him and pulled away. Stopped wanting to see him, talk to him, etc. He then got VERY clingy and that drove me even more away to the point I started to treat him kind of bad. At the end, he got tired of it, met someone else, and dumped me. Then I wanted him back.

 

I see her insecurity issues. She is scared and she puts up a front. I do the same about things. Only after I get to know someone for a while, etc. do I let down my guard and let the person know that I can be insecure. I have gotten a lot better since I now know (from my last relationship), that if you have your own life and your own interests, it really helps to keep the relationship fresh and keep it alive. You dont bore the other person.

 

I would say, talk to her, give her some reassurance that she should go and do things on her own too, and that you will be there for her, but it is good for the life of the relationship to be separate on occasions. Show her that you care, and yet keep YOUR own life too. Be there for her when necessary, do little things for her to show you care. But encourage her to be on her own. If she has some insecurities, talk to her about, encourage her to deal with it and bring it out in the open.

 

It helps

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Actually, from what I understand she has not really been in a lot of healthy relationships. I knew her for a long time through a friend and she always seemed to be a self-proclaimed "comittmentphobe" (her words). She hated being termed boyfriend/girlfriend, didn't like the idea of exclusivity, flaunted the fact that she "dated" lots of guys to me, etc... so I assumed (incorrectly perhaps) that she wasn't really the clingly sort. Before exclusively dating me, I don't think she just came out of any really serious relationships and had been semi-single for about a year and a half (from all I know, she really doesnt go into detail about her ex-boyfriends, just refers to them as "exes" when she talks about them...probably for the best!).

 

To be blunt - it's a front.

 

Alright, this may not be related to her at all, but it's just something I noted for myself...through friends and even my own experiences. The people whom often are the biggest "proclaimers" of being commitment phobes are the least likely to BE commitment phobes (not that I agree with that term either...I think it is overly used and almost seen as "cool" when you are younger...). It's more of a defense mechanism...they actually are often LOOKING for love/approval and put on this appearance of being "independent and unclingy" to be more appealing. Rather than actually BEING independent.

 

After we had been dating for about 1.5 months, she confesses that she loves me, she's never liked a boy before, and "If I ever get too annoying, just kick me out, but dont break up with me". All these insecurity problems just out of the blue !!

 

Um yeah...rapidly moving towards saying she loves you, telling you to kick her out but not break it off, etcetera...little concerning. She sounds very "young" emotionally and relationship wise. That's not a BAD thing always, but it is something you need to be aware of.

 

 

Right. And it kind of makes conversation a little awkward and boring when we DO get to hang out with each other since we talk every day for 300 hours about every little thing that has happened recently. I just fear that we'll eventually get bored of each other. Part of the excitement in the honeymoon phase is to learn and come to like certain aspects of the other person !! She keeps probing and probing (like all girls do) about every little detail of my life, she wants to know silly stories of my childhood or my experiences (and I'm, by nature, a pretty private person) and I feel that if she knows everything about me, its gonna get real boring !

 

I would save the phone for making dates or just catching up. Limit them to 5-10 minutes.....the phone is not meant to replace actual in person time. I would get bored too talking for hours everyday....especially when I could be out riding my bike or something! I mean, it's great to touch base, but I could care less about how that day you forgot to buy milk blah blah, you know? Unless of course we live together and I need that milk for my cereal in the morning .

 

I am sure she means well by probing, as she wants to know more about you, and this is how people learn about one another too....but you don't have to answer everything..sometimes just make a little wink and say "wouldn't you like to know" and move on.

 

I think it's not so much she'll get bored if she knows everything, but I think maybe you are feeling that she is relying on you to make things exciting between you too.....and face it, if you spend all the time talking about every little detail about your life and past life rather than having fun together and falling for her OWN individuality....YOU will get bored.

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Part of me does sense that you guys are writing her off for the OP because of this person's insecurity issues. A lot of time insecurity issues are hard for the person who HAS them to even understand WHY they are this way. I think the OP should be open and understanding to his gf about her insecurity issues and help her deal with them, otherwise he is just reinforcing to her (in her mind) that guys are just out for one thing and arent dependable and WILL leave you in the end.

 

I do advise compassion and understanding and talking with her about it and guiding her. If you really do care about her, then she is worth dealing with.

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I don't see how people wrote her off, they all suggested ways to approach her about it and address the issue.

 

It's not a behaviour he should be reinforcing however, especially knowing it is already turning him off. Because that indeed WILL bring an end to the relationship.

 

The fact is, some people will leave. But that is no reason to stay either, nor is that reason to reinforce negative behaviours.

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Part of me does sense that you guys are writing her off for the OP because of this person's insecurity issues. A lot of time insecurity issues are hard for the person who HAS them to even understand WHY they are this way. I think the OP should be open and understanding to his gf about her insecurity issues and help her deal with them, otherwise he is just reinforcing to her (in her mind) that guys are just out for one thing and arent dependable and WILL leave you in the end.

 

I do advise compassion and understanding and talking with her about it and guiding her. If you really do care about her, then she is worth dealing with.

 

I understand, I don't think anyone is "writing her off". There's no blame here. Hell, I've got tons of things wrong with myself too. Little insecurities and quirks. No one is perfect.

 

And yes, she's already confided a very deeply personal anecdote (says she's only told 2 people) to me which does help explain a lot about why she is this way and I dont fault her for any of it, Im just trying to get a better understanding.

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Sorry if I sounded a bit defensive about it. I can completely empathisize with your SO because I was like that for a long time and that hindered me from going out and dating. I can understand what goes thorough her mind when she tries to interpret your reactions to her and your actions. I have been in her shoes and it isnt fun. It took me a long time to not be this way and sometimes, even now, I can fall back into that mode of thinking on occasions. I just now make the effort NOT to since it is detrimental to relationships.

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The best thing you can do is tell her now how you are feeling. Don't let it get any further, because as more feelings start to develop, and you wait a few months, it will appear that you don't like her, and she'll wonder why you are changing everything, and how come you liked talking on the phone before, but now you don't, are you going to break up with me? All that jazz. Nip it in the butt early, do it kindly, tell her you love talking to her, but you'd rather just catch up at night because when you talk to her all day, you don't have much to say and it makes you feel uncomfortable. Sure she may feel a little hurt or upset, or insecure, but she'll get over it. You'll also find that you'll both enjoy your nightly conversations much more, because there will be much more for you to talk about. Just make sure you keep being the same around her, otherwise she could get more insecure, good luck!

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Ren - I'm with you. I have been in both positions so I feel I can relate as well.

 

If he talks to her every time she calls, she'll continue to do so. But if he ignores it, that could send the wrong message as well.

 

I think an honest talk about how he feels about her, to reassure her, and a promise that if anything changes, he'll let her know, AS WELL as telling her how the consistent calls make him feel, SHOULD do the trick.

 

At least that's my take....

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Sorry if I sounded a bit defensive about it. I can completely empathisize with your SO because I was like that for a long time and that hindered me from going out and dating. I can understand what goes thorough her mind when she tries to interpret your reactions to her and your actions.

 

 

So how do you think I should handle this, knowing what you do.

 

I'm under a microscope. Starting to say I'm busy all of the sudden is going to make her nervous as well as not answering the phone.

 

"Be honest with her"/"Talk to her about it":

 

yeah, what do I say though? "I think we hang out too much. You should go hang out with your girl/guy friends or go clubbing or something" that should go over real well.

 

Even subtelty is going to make it look like I'm not interested in her anymore...which I AM, but I need some time on my own every once and awhile.

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HolyOhio - I think you should just say, I like hanging out with you and I want you to know I like you and I plan to keep going with this.

 

I know you're sensitive and need consistent reassurance, but I don't need the same level of communication.

 

If I promise to keep you informed, at a level that is comfortable for me, can we lighten the amount of phone calls and getting together?

 

I think you just need to let her know how you feel and reassure her that you really DO enjoy spending time with her but that the amount of phone calls are not your style and you fear it may drive you away. Just be honest with her.

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It's been awhile since I have been in a relationship, but the best thing you can do is reassure her that you care about her and am happy with her in the relationship and then encourage her to go out, do her own thing, make her own friends, etc. Spend time together and when you are together, concentrate on her, make her feel good, complement her, reassure her, so that when she is away from you, she keeps in her mind that you guys have a relationship and that you are happy to be in one with her.

 

Also, do tell her that you like her and enjoy spending time with her but you want her to be happy and do things on her own. Encourage her, but also be dependable. Like when you say you will do something, DO IT. Like when you say you will see her, see her at that time you say, dont be flaky, be honest, be consistent, and that will go a long way in her eyes.

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I think Renaissance Woman really hit on something with her last piece of advice. The more secure your gf feels within the relationship, and the more she knows you are going to be there for her and that you are reliable and consistent, the more comfortable she'll feel spending time apart from you.

 

The last guy I dated was so flaky that I never knew if I was going to get a hold of him, if he was going to do what he said, remember when we were supposed to meet up, etc., so I became very clingy, wanting to spend essentially every waking moment I wasn't working, with him.

 

With the guy I'm dating right now, whom I live an hour away from (until we get our own place in a couple weeks!) I can see him once, maybe twice during the week and on weekends, and the rest of the time I'm happy to hang out with friends and do my own thing. Yes, granted I've also done a LOT of work on myself to be more comfortable with ME, but he has also proven over time that he is consistent, reliable and trustworthy--99% of the time he calls when he says he will, he remembers our dates, he plans things, he leaves me absolutely no doubt as to how he feels about me.

 

So, while these dependent tendencies might be ingrained, even learned from past relationships, they can be overcome with patience and work.

 

While you're busy at work, are you guys able to e-mail back and forth? That's how my boyfriend and I keep in touch during the day. He'll write when he has time, I'll write back when I have time...it's nice because I feel connected, but there's no pressure to talk RIGHT THEN.

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Oh dear...I'd see this as a big ol' warning sign.

 

(Have not read all replies, this is merely my take on the original post.)

 

Any changes or "stepups" in behaviour like this point to personality aspects/defects that are beyond your doing, and beyond your ability to fix. Somehow, you are going to have to communicate that what she is doing will suffocate your fledgling (and it's not been long) relationship.

 

Direct Talking may be the only answer, but I wish you luck in finding words that don't offend her!

 

I'd also think about whether or not she's had any major life events going on recently - negative events that rock the boat of your life can make you temporarily clingier, for example.

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Any changes or "stepups" in behaviour like this point to personality aspects/defects that are beyond your doing, and beyond your ability to fix.

 

I'm not really here to "fix" anything. I'm not that naive. We are both 21 years old and I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most experienced/proficient guy ever as far as relationships are concerned, but I know enough to know that trying to "fix" any one of a persons flaws is an exercise in futility. Actually, in some strange way, I feel that this really shows (at least to myself) how much I care about this girl if Im looking for ways to reach a happy medium instead of just saying "OMGZ this sux" and breaking up with her because I feel crowded. I've had my share of crazy girls before, I'm just looking for the least abrasive way of saying that I like to hang out with her, but its healthier for both _she_ AND I if we spend a few days a part here and there.

 

I've been thinking about it and I think the first thing to do would be to answer phone calls less often (since this part..."rewarding" the clingy behavior is 100% my fault), but when we do spend a significant amount of time on the phone/in person I should make more of a concerted effort to make her feel secure about our relationship together so she gets the idea that I'm just going to cut bait and leave if she does any little thing wrong out of her head (except cheating, I've already told her if she cheats, I'm gone). Also, simultaniously encouraging her to hang out with her other guy/girl friends, join clubs at school, work on her school papers during the week so we can have a "relaxing" ( ) weekend. Im going to start trying to reward her for being more independent and see how that pans out.

 

I guess it's a catch 22 though, because a lot of activities I enjoy doing apart from studying, exercising, etc involves me being in social situations with attractive women that she could possibly see as a threat, so I would probably have to give that up (or do it less often) to ease her concerns.

 

I have, and never will, cheat on anyone that I'm in an exclusive relationship with. I've told her this. Unfortunately, I've been cheated ON, but I'm not bitter in the least (probably the best thing that could have happened with the girl in question, in retrospect ;P) so I know how much it sucks, but I still have to work with my girl to get these insecurities in check before someone hits a nerve.

 

Thanks for the words of wisdom ENA ! Any other suggestions?

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