The most popular narrative in mainstream movies and music is that girls are clingy and needy – while guys are the ones who want to put some distance in between. You’ll see hundreds of shows where the girl is pining over a guy and he gets irritated by it. However, that isn’t always the case.
In fact, shocking as it might be, guys can be clingy too. They can also want your attention all the time, refuse to give you space, and behave erratically when you want to hang out with someone other than them.
For most needy guys, the crux is that they don’t realize they’re needy, or actually being quite desperate. They don’t see their behavior as weird and may feel like they’re only being protective of you.
But let’s face it: no one likes codependency, especially to the point where you feel like you’re stuck to someone with Velcro.
If you’re trying to figure out whether you’re dating a needy and clingy man and what you can do about it, then read on.
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Why is Your Partner Needy?
When it comes to relationships, being told you’re “clingy” or “needy” is rarely a positive thing. Clingy individuals typically suffocate their partner with incessant affection or might crumble if they have to spend any time apart from their other half.
However, that less-than-flattering portrayal may not be providing the clingy partners with the empathy they need.
Men that display neediness do so out of a sense of insecurity. They’ve undoubtedly had many previous relationships (not just the romantic kind) where someone took advantage of them or violated their trust.
Their uneasiness may stem from their past traumas, particularly rejection or abuse as a child or abusive relationships. They may have been injured emotionally in the past.
While we might call it “needy” when a boyfriend calls their significant other every two seconds, the truth is that he may be an individual with extreme anxiety who doesn’t know how else to voice their concern.
His deep-rooted issues can lead to other problems than neediness, including:
- Low self-esteem
- Severe trust issues
- Inability to commit in relationships (here’s what you can do about that!)
Signs of a Needy Man
Understanding why your boyfriend is clingy doesn’t make it okay. A man whose worries and fears lead to a suffocating relationship is unhealthy for everyone involved, regardless of how well his partner can sympathize with his issues.
Here are some warning signs of clinging behavior to look out for:
1. He Tries to Rush Things
Clingy men need to be in a relationship, and they need a woman who will cater to their every desire. If you’re his girlfriend, he’ll make you feel suffocated.
He’ll text you the minute he’s home after a date and keep calling until you pick up. This is a man who picked out his wedding tuxedo two minutes into your third date.
2. He Double Texts (A Lot)
If you’ve ever been in cahoots with a needy man, then the following will be a familiar situation: He texted you while you were busy, and you made a mental note to text him back as soon as you were able to. Surprise, surprise, though – he texts you again in a mere span of minutes, impatiently waiting for your reply.
He has nothing more exciting to do; therefore constantly seeks your undivided attention. Double texting is a surefire sign of clinginess – that really everyone should steer clear of.
3. He’s Uneasy in the Presence of Your Male Friends and Coworkers
Seeing you with your exceptionally gorgeous male companions or even business acquaintances may cause uneasiness and extreme jealousy. Aside from the normal concerns about infidelity, your partner could become engulfed with mentally comparing himself to your male colleagues.
If he asks you to compare him and some other man in terms of looks or intelligence, know that this awkward conversation is coming from a place of neediness and insecurity.
Check out 10 Ways To Handle An Overly Jealous Boyfriend for some tips on this type of clingy behavior.
4. He Doesn’t Have Any Close Friends
He’ll have a few friends, workmates, and school friends who live on the other side of the continent but no real friends with whom he can go out for a beer or dinner – so, he’ll suggest he tags along whenever you’re going out with your friends.
5. He Always Needs to Know What You’re Doing
Even if you’re both at work, he prefers to text all day. If you don’t reply within an hour, he’ll casually inquire as to where you’ve been. If he isn’t with you, he wants to know what you’re up to.
While this may appear charming at first, it’ll eventually become irritating, if not outright annoying.
6. He Aggressively Uses Social Media
Is your partner constantly posting about the two of you? Were they a little too eager to be “in a relationship” on Facebook? Have they been questioning you about a person in the backdrop of a photograph you shared four years ago?
This could be an indication of a needy man.
Of course, some women might think being lovey-dovey on your IG story is a dream come true, while others might steer clear of this public display of affection. It all depends on what your boundaries are.
7. He Issues Ultimatums
When a man doesn’t have others in his life to keep him happy or encourage him, he focuses all of his attention on one individual. If it’s the woman he’s dating, he can start putting ultimatums in the relationship to guilt her into sticking with him.
8. He Becomes Agitated or Frightened Easily
If phoning and messaging a million times isn’t enough, needy men will usually become annoyed and angry if you don’t pick up or respond. They send text messages or make phone calls every now and then to see if it was something they did, which can be increasingly annoying.
9. He Stalks You on Social Media
For some reason, he appears to be up to speed on all of your posts – both old and new. He’s the first person to like and comment on everything you post. He also appears to be aware of every interaction you’ve made and everyone you’ve been talking to.
10. He’s Always Looking For Your Approval
If he continuously shape-shifts into a person he thinks you’ll like, he’s needy. He seeks your approval on practically everything – and is therefore hesitant to think for himself. He also only tells you what you want to hear.
This can range from his opinion on a football match to how you see yourself settling down in ten years.
11. He Uses Emotional Blackmail
Some guys will try to make you feel guilty to get you to spend time with them. They use emotional blackmail to make you feel bad for spending quality time with others rather than with them. They might use melodrama and other attention-grabbing tactics to make you stay.
This can actually be a sign of emotional abuse in a relationship – and is not okay.
12. He Desperately Pleads for Attention
When emotional blackmail fails, this needy man will be willing to beg for your attention. He’ll try to encourage you to stay with him instead of going to other social gatherings.
He’ll convince you by telling you how much he misses you or how you’re not spending enough time with him. Whatever it is, he loves your attention – and won’t give up anytime soon.
13. He’ll Accompany You Everywhere, Uninvited
This is one of those signs that, on the surface, appears to be mildly annoying (imagine a puppy following you from place to place) – but in fact, it’s actually more villainous. Accompanying you to places without being invited is more manipulative than clingy.
It’s a sign he is trying to control who you meet, everything you say, and what time you come back home.
14. He Won’t Be Honest With You
When it comes to a clingy relationship, a needy man is very likely to only share thoughts that they believe you’ll agree with. If you want to order pizza for dinner, they’ve also been craving it all day (…even if they haven’t).
It starts with the little things – telling you he missed you when he really didn’t, or claiming he’s now a one-woman man while he’s spent his day checking out models on Instagram.
Check out our guide for some helpful ways to navigate this dishonest behavior: Lying in a Relationship: When It’s Not Ok – and What You Can Do
What Can You Do?
Now that you understand where this needy behavior stems from, it’s critical to take a step back and try to see things from his perspective.
Sure, some people are needier than others, and some people are born with a more demanding nature – but if you want the relationship to thrive, you must be understanding – and most importantly, empathic.
While you shouldn’t necessarily coddle him, understanding where the insecurities stem from can help you get to know him better and address the challenges in your relationship.
Tell the Truth About How You Feel
Another option for dealing with a needy man is to sit down with him and have an honest conversation about what you’re feeling.
You can do this by keeping an open mind and hearing his side of the story. Why does he behave this way?
Approach the topic calmly, express your concerns and frustrations, and offer him the opportunity to explain.
Figure Out How to Solve the Problems Together
If your partner wants to make changes and understands the impact his insecurity has on your relationship, it’s a great place to start. The next step would be to discuss any traumas or anxieties he’s struggling with and establish a plan for how he’ll deal with them with your help.
Set Reasonable Boundaries
Finally, it is a good moment to set some limits.
Explain to your partner that limits work both ways, and establishing them will foster respect and a loving relationship. Boundaries are necessary, and if you want to learn how to cope with a needy man, you must implement them.
Set boundaries as your relationship progresses, as it’s hard to know in advance which boundaries are necessary.
Provide Him With Plenty of Reassurance
It may seem like helping him get over his neediness is only you telling him how great he is – but building his confidence is so much more than just giving him compliments.
Instead, personalize your reassurance. Make it real, and he’ll be more likely to accept it.
Find something, in particular, that you like about his appearance and express it. It’ll mean a lot more to him than a conventional, “You look amazing today” remark.
The trick here is to choose quality over quantity. You can help create trust, love, and acceptance while he works out the problems he’s facing by himself.
Encourage Him to Be Self-Sufficient
Working on a man’s self-confidence is another excellent technique to cope with a needy man.
As his partner, encouraging him to have a rich personal life would benefit you both. He doesn’t need to worry about you every time you go out with friends.
Remember to work on it discreetly so he doesn’t feel like you’re deliberately trying to sever ties with him.
Once he sees that having personal lives outside of the relationship doesn’t endanger the relationship in any way, he’ll feel more comfortable loosening the reins.
Seek Expert Assistance
Here’s the thing: even if you have the best intentions at heart, you cannot love someone out of their trauma. If he has experienced trauma as a child, such as abuse or neglect, his issues will be difficult to resolve.
Even if his neediness doesn’t stem from such an acute source, it can be challenging to establish the exact cause at times – which is where seeking professional help can be beneficial.
A therapist can lead you both on a journey in which you learn to live with his insecurities, and he can learn to transcend them.
You have one goal as a couple: to build a healthy, romantic relationship that includes mutual respect (not to mention, respect for your personal space).
Make Sure You Take Care of Yourself
It’s crucial not to neglect yourself while providing love and assistance to your partner.
Dealing with a needy man is complex, and will require a great deal of endurance and patience on your behalf – but you won’t be able to help him properly if your batteries are depleted and you have no physical or mental energy left. It’s important to recharge your mind every once in a while.
So, while you set boundaries in the relationship, ensure you outline how much time you spend together – and when you deserve to have a break.
Also, please don’t be hesitant to explain it to your partner. He needs to understand your needs so he doesn’t impede on them.
The Bottom Line
Relationships are hard work – and with men who are needy and constantly craving your attention, it becomes harder still. If the man is worth fighting for, though, then change is possible.
Remember that the first step to change is acknowledging that something is wrong. Once that has been felt and understood, the healing can follow.