Has you cool laid back new lover suddenly turned into a needy and clingy girlfriend? Does it seem like she has flipped a switch and suddenly converted from being relaxed about the relationship to being extremely insecure?
This is a common theme in reasonably new relationships. Man meets woman, they go on a few dates, decide they like each other and gradually get a little bit closer. At first the girl appears like a self sufficient, independent and emotionally secure individual. Then without warning she loses the plot and starts behaving like the woman in this video:
The reason this happens is actually quite flattering. It's because she has fallen for you.
Most women have been hurt many times before and they put up walls to protect their emotional selves. While she was playing it cool at first, really she was keeping you out. You were fun, you had potential, she loved spending time with you but you weren't serious for her.
At some point a switch will flick. She has decided that she is serious about you and she has started to think about the future. At this point she becomes emotionally invested and becomes afraid that you might leave her. This is what can trigger the crazy behavior.
If you had left her earlier, she would take the hit and it wouldn't have been a big deal. She would have been on to the next guy pretty soon. But now she wants you for real and the thought that you might not feel the same way is devastating.
The idea freaks you out so she gets clingy and starts exhibiting some of the following behaviors:
- She often cries and can be quite emotional
- She always wants to know what you are thinking
- She appears very insecure
- She is always demanding more of your time
- She worries that you don't like her anymore, or as much as she likes you or that you aren't that into the relationship. She will likely voice this to you and want to have "the talk" about where the relationship is going.
How To Handle A Clingy Girlfriend
The important thing to realize is that this is a temporary clingy phase that can happen to even the most secure and grounded women.
Of course in any relationship one partner is going to start thinking seriously about things earlier than the other. You shouldn't be forced to operate at her pace in terms of making things serious, but when she gets clingy you can be respectful of the fact that she is just getting serious.
Once she understands how you feel and if you eventually match her level of commitment to the relationship her emotions will settle down. She hasn't suddenly turned into a monster. It's just that phase of a relationship where people are feeling each other out.
Use these tactics to deal with your clingy girlfriend:
1. Talk Openly About Your Intentions
Open a dialogue and reassure her of where you are at. You don't have to say that you are farther along than you really are.
Even if you say you like her and there is potential for things to blossom, but you are happy just exploring where things go with no pressure, that's fine. Just being open and honest will set her mind at ease.
2. Be Honest If You Aren't Sure
Honesty is the best policy her and it's important to act with integrity and not lead her on. If you haven't been together long then it's perfectly reasonable that you aren't sure about where things are going. She shouldn't expect that from you and you should be firm in not being pushed before you are ready.
But at the same time it is very common for the woman to start getting serious first, so respect the fact that she needs her mind put at ease and talk to her.
3. Commit To An Open Dialogue Moving Forward
While it's unreasonable of her to ask for something you can't give in the present, especially any kind of commitment, the one thing you can commit to is to maintaining an open dialogue as you progress. Tell her your feelings as they develop. Tell her you will be clear if you think things lack the right chemistry to move forward.
Clingy girlfriends want to know what you are thinking, while the act of being clingy tends to make men more guarded with their thoughts and feelings. Be open, it makes things much easier.
Even if you aren't fully committed now, you do eventually have to make a decision about where you stand. So take the time you need, respect her feelings, but make a decision one way or the other.
4. Don't Give In To The Clinginess
While I advocate a moderate level of communication about your feelings you need to maintain boundaries.
Long conversations every night about what you feel are well over the top. Make sure you maintain separate lives and don't let her intrude or interfere in your domain.
Respect the behavior, in the sense that it's annoying but not entirely unreasonable, but don't let her start controlling you or dictating things to you.
5. Make Sure The Clinginess Stops
This temporary clinginess is a result of her getting serious before you. Once you have the open discussion and you get compatible in your level of commitment the neediness should disappear.
If it doesn't naturally fade away then repeat the step above and make sure you set firm boundaries and don't give in to interfering or manipulative behavior.
If the clinginess doesn't disappear then it might be a sign that this girl is not the right one because she is too insecure. A small amount of mild insecurity is normal for everyone at some stage of the relationship. An obsessive all encompassing insecurity that is controlling and destroys your independence is not.
When you otherwise normal girlfriend suddenly goes clingy on you, it isn't the end of the world.
Chances are she has increased the depth of her feeling for you and has emotionally invested to the point she is afraid you might not.
This is a normaly point in any new relationship where you both make the leap to new levels of committment at a different pace. So be patient with her.
However if this is serious overbearing clinginess that doesn't phase out once you demonstrate your committment, then chances are she is an insecure girl, with very low self esteem. You then need to ask yourself whether you can tolerate needy behavior for a lifetime.