Is it a case of being super-loved-up or is your man needy, clingy, and driving you insane?
Knowing the difference is tough, especially since we all have different perspectives of what neediness is.
But even if it’s just his way of showing love, if you feel frustrated because your man’s constantly hovering around you, you’ve got to do something about it.
And that’s what we’re going to cover today — how to deal with a needy man and cultivate a healthy relationship (with a bit more independence for you).
But first, what are the signs that he’s truly needy vs just overly excited and affectionate?
Signs of a needy man
1) He constantly texts you
It’s one thing to be loved up and eager to talk to your partner throughout the day but if you’re receiving multiple messages an hour (to some of which you haven’t even had time to reply before the next text comes along), you’ve got yourself a needy man.
And to make matters worse?
If you don’t reply, he starts to panic.
You can tell from his texts that he becomes more and more nervous, anxious for your message back.
2) He wants to spend all his time with you
A needy guy won’t draw the line at just texting you constantly, he’ll want to be with you, 24/7.
The concept of space and alone time doesn’t seem to register and if you suggest it, he’ll either ignore it or take offense.
Suddenly that quiet, solo run you were planning on taking now has him in tow and you’re wondering when you guys started being joined at the hips.
3) He gets annoyed if you want to do your own thing
If your man has ever got angry or upset with you for wanting to make separate plans, it’s the ultimate sign he’s needy.
Forget the fact that having separate social lives is a great thing in a relationship, he sees it as leaving him out or not wanting to spend time with him.
In some cases, his tantrums or moods could amount to emotional abuse or blackmail — especially if he does it often or makes you feel miserable every time you want to go out without him.
This is a sign to watch out for and later we’ll be looking at when a man is too needy (and what to do about it).
The bottom line is:
It’s unhealthy to be together all the time. You both need space apart and you wanting to hang out with your friends or go for dinner with your colleagues shouldn’t be an issue.
3) He needs constant reassurance from you
You’d think saying, “I love you” five times a day would be enough, but a needy guy always wants more.
He might feel insecure about his appearance and want a constant stream of compliments from you, or he’ll need tons of reassurance that you’re only interested in him.
A lot of this comes down to being insecure.
Even if he acts confident, the need for reassurance is a big indicator that he lacks self-esteem.
4) He easily gets jealous
Do you find that the smallest act makes him jealous?
Even a polite smile to the waiter is seen as flirting and making new male friends? Don’t even think about it.
Soon, you start watching how you interact with other men just so you don’t upset him, and this can lead to living in a state of tension since he might overreact over the smallest things.
Whilst a little bit of jealousy is normal in relationships if he can’t handle you speaking to an attractive person without getting angry, it’s a sign he’s extremely needy and clingy.
5) You notice him stalking your social media
Here’s the thing, some guys will be upfront about what they find on your social media, others will keep it under wraps and just be passive-aggressive.
But ultimately, you’ll figure out whether he’s stalking your social media (it only takes one accidental “like” of your picture from 2004 to know).
And depending on how needy he is, he might even question your social activity.
If you hear questions like, “Why did you add that guy as a friend?”
Or, “Who was that guy in the picture that you’re tagged in?”
These questions all show how clingy he is, and that he spends far too much time looking through your profile instead of living his own life.
6) He doesn’t take an interest in his hobbies anymore
Having hobbies and passions in life is what brings us internal joy.
There’s nothing better than getting stuck into something we enjoy doing, zoning out the world for a while, and just taking time for ourselves.
For the needy man, all that goes out of the window. You are now his passion, his hobby, his everything.
It doesn’t matter that playing the guitar once bought him peace and tranquility, now he only wants to be with you.
7) He stops having his own opinions
And just as he stops living his own life, he might also start to adopt your opinions as his own.
This is a classic sign of neediness — he feels that you’ll find him more desirable if he echoes your thoughts and feelings.
But the truth is, this can make the relationship a little dry and boring.
Disagreements and debates keep life interesting, and they certainly add a little spice to relationships.
8) He tries to keep tabs on you
Where you’ve been, who you’re meeting, and even when the last time you ate was.
Keeping tabs is enough to make anyone go a little crazy. You’re a grown woman and you can live your life however you want, without having to check in with him every five minutes.
Now, with that being said, it’s normal to have some communication with your partner.
Let’s say you’re away for the weekend, giving him the odd update so he knows you reached your hotel safely is sort of the standard protocol.
But, if he needs a text on the hour, every hour whilst you’re on vacation, it’s a sign he’s being unreasonably needy and he isn’t giving much thought to your feelings (or the fact that you need a break).
9) It’s easy to hurt his feelings
Do you hold back from saying certain things to your partner?
Maybe you avoid certain subjects because you know it’ll “set him off”.
If you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells, there’s a good sign that he’s way too needy.
Well, when he’s upset, you probably pay more attention to him, right?
So as you can see, being upset works in his favor, even if you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s a common tactic that kids use, so why is a grown-up man deploying the same strategy?
Let’s find out:
What makes a man needy?
Neediness isn’t caused by one particular thing, instead, it’s a mix of behaviors that can come across as being “clingy”.
We usually use the word “needy” with quite a negative connotation to it, but the truth is we all go through periods of neediness and we all have different needs that need to be met.
Did you know that something as common as stress or tiredness can cause neediness?
When we’re not feeling our best in life, we may cling on to those closest to us to support us through it, without realizing the root cause of the problem.
On the other end of the scale, this desire to always be reassured and to constantly be by your side may be fueled by insecurity.
If your man struggles with his self-image, lacks confidence and worth, and doesn’t have a strong sense of “self”, he’ll take comfort in you providing everything he lacks.
And the sad truth is:
He probably doesn’t even realize he’s doing it. And if he does, he could be unsure of how to change his behavior.
Because let’s be honest, no one wants to be needy, it’s just something that happens naturally depending on the experiences we go through in life.
His insecurity could be a result of childhood experiences, especially abandonment or neglect as a child. He may have been emotionally hurt in the past.
Alternatively, he might be behaving the only way he knows how especially if his parents displayed the same level of clinginess towards each other or towards him.
And ultimately, there’s the possibility that his insecurity stems from your relationship itself.
If you’ve hurt him in the past or betrayed his trust, this could damage his self-esteem and cause him to be overly controlling in the relationship.
To you, it’s perceived as neediness, but to him, it’s his way of trying to hold the relationship together (but made considerably worse by his insecurities).
Now, if you truly love your partner and believe that the relationship can improve, you’re going to have to make some changes.
And most importantly, you’re going to have to learn to deal with his neediness.
So, how can you deal with his neediness?
First, be empathetic
Now that you have some idea of where this needy behavior comes from, it’s essential to take a step back and try to see things from his point of view.
As I mentioned, we can all go through bouts of neediness.
Sure, some people are needier than others, and some naturally have a more demanding personality, but if you want to make the relationship work you’ve got to be understanding and most importantly — have empathy.
Put yourself in his shoes — are there any aspects of the relationship that are contributing to his clinginess?
For example, do you have the habit of staying out late without texting him to let him know you’re okay?
It’s not the worst thing in the world but you can see why it probably doesn’t help his insecurities, especially if all he wants to know is that you got home safe.
Once you start relating to how your partner feels, you’ll have a better chance of overcoming the issues you face in your relationship.
Be honest about how you feel
Another way to deal with a needy man is to sit down and have an honest conversation with him.
Before you know his side of the story, it’s important to keep an open mind. Approach the conversation gently, put forward your concerns and frustrations (hold back on calling him completely needy), and give him a chance to explain.
It’s a possibility that a few areas of your relationship or his lifestyle have been bothering him, and he’s already identified what triggers his insecurities and neediness.
And then comes the important part:
Working out how to overcome these issues together.
If your partner wants to make changes and recognizes the impact his neediness has on your relationship, it’s a great starting point.
The next step would be to address any traumas or insecurities he’s dealing with and make a plan on how he’s going to tackle them with your support.
Finally, now is a good time to introduce some boundaries.
Explain to your partner that boundaries work both ways, and it’ll cultivate respect and a healthy relationship to put them in place.
Set healthy boundaries with him
Boundaries are essential.
And if you want to know how to deal with a needy man, you need to put them in place.
Here’s the catch though:
It’s much easier to start as you mean to go on. Essentially, setting boundaries is best done at the start of a relationship.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still implement boundaries even 10 years down the line, so what might they look like?
Let’s use an example:
Your man: “I can’t believe you didn’t invite me to the concert on Friday night, I thought we’d be spending the evening together.”
You (implementing the boundary): “I know darling, but I need to spend time with my friends, and we’ve spent the entire week together.”
Your man: “But now I’m going to be alone all evening, what am I supposed to do? Isn’t there a way for me to buy a ticket and come along?”
You (still sticking to your boundaries): “No, I’ve planned this so I can have some time with the girls. If you’re worried about being alone, it’s your responsibility to make plans with your friends, or spend some time relaxing by yourself.”
See, the key here is that you’re not allowing your partner to make demands on you — which often happens with neediness — instead you’re holding your ground and reminding him that he has responsibility for his life.
The truth is:
Boundaries can be tough, people will try their best to wear you down and get the result they want, but ultimately your relationship won’t be healthy without them.
And over time, your partner will have no choice but to respect your boundaries (or leave), and as difficult as it might be in the long run, it could end up boosting his self-esteem.
Give him plenty of reassurance
It might seem that all he wants is reassurance, but to help build trust, love, and support into your relationship, you must be willing to dish it out, at least until he begins to work through his issues.
The key here is quality over quantity.
It’s useless to say “You look great!” a hundred times a day if his insecurity lies with his appearance.
Instead, tailor your reassurance, make it genuine and he’ll find it easier to accept it.
Find something that you love about his appearance, say it from your heart and it’ll mean much more to him than a generic, “You look nice today” compliment.
The same goes when it comes to reassuring him that you love him and you’re happy in the relationship. Put some meaning and effort into it and it’ll soothe his worries.
Encourage him to be independent
Another great way to deal with a needy man is to work on his confidence.
As his partner, it’ll help you both if you encourage him to have a life of his own. Notice how earlier when we covered boundaries, your healthy response included the suggestion of him meeting his friends?
Work it in subtly so he doesn’t realize that you’re trying to intentionally cultivate independence.
So how will this help with his neediness?
Well, once he realizes that each of you living your own lives doesn’t signal the end of the relationship, he’ll start to relax a bit more.
He won’t see it as a threat when you meet up with friends and his confidence will grow each time he hangs out with his friends.
You might also want to encourage him to do things alone, and each time he achieves something be sure to give him plenty of praise and acknowledgment (just don’t make it sound condescending).
This way he’ll know that he’s capable of being independent, but that you’re also by his side cheering him on and believing in him.
Show him your love
Now, reassuring your needy man with words is one way of showing love, but another is to make him feel loved through your actions.
Here’s the thing:
You could say, “I love you” a billion times, but it won’t have the same impact as if you show it.
Go out of your way to do kind things for him, be consistent with your words and actions, make him a priority in your life and he’ll truly feel the love flow between you.
And when it comes to making him less needy?
Sometimes just being reminded of how much he’s loved will be enough to put his worries and fears to one side.
Seek professional help
Here’s the thing:
You may have the best intentions in the world to help your partner, but if he suffered trauma as a child — such as neglect or abuse — his issues will be hard for you to work through.
And even if his neediness doesn’t come from such an extreme source, sometimes, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause.
That’s where using a professional can come in handy.
A therapist will be able to guide you both on a journey, where you learn to deal with his neediness, and he learns to overcome it.
Together, you’ve got one goal — to create a healthy, loving relationship that encompasses respect for each other (not to mention for your personal space).
Make sure you take time out for yourself
Amidst all the help and support you’re giving to your partner, it’s important to remember yourself in the process.
Dealing with a needy man isn’t easy and it will take a lot of perseverance and patience on your part.
But you won’t be able to support him properly if your batteries are drained and you’ve got no energy left, mentally or physically.
So, as much as the boundaries are there to put limits on how much time you spend together and how you want to be treated, it’s also there to give yourself a break.
And don’t be afraid of explaining that to your partner either. He must learn to understand when you need an afternoon for yourself.
And when you get some alone time?
Try the following:
- Recharge your batteries – read, listen to music, get creative, or just chill and watch a film with a glass of wine
- Meet up with friends or family, let your hair down and have fun
- Switch off from social media, turn off your phone and spend a few hours completely alone
- Get into nature – it’s a great stress reliever
- Don’t think about your partner for a few hours. That’ll help you disconnect and truly relax
It’s important to practice self-care in general, especially if you’ve got a needy man on your hands. Make it into a routine, dedicate one day or an afternoon a week just for you.
It’ll make you feel better and it may encourage him to do the same.
Have a little patience
Now, all the tips we’ve covered won’t repair your relationship overnight and they certainly won’t transform your partner instantly.
But step by step, over time you will notice improvements. The important thing is to have patience and trust that you’ll make great progress together.
Right about now, you might be wondering, “Why do I have to have patience with him?”.
And I get it, you’re already frustrated with him and now you’re being asked to have even more patience.
But the truth is:
In every relationship, we’ve got to have understanding and patience with our partners. If it isn’t because of clinginess or neediness, it’d be for something else.
Now, if you are at the end of your tether, it might be time to reconsider whether you want to stay in this relationship or not.
And in some cases, your man’s neediness may be too much to handle.
Know when to draw the line
And that’s where drawing the line comes into it.
You’ve set boundaries, you’ve been the supporting girlfriend or wife, and it still isn’t enough.
At some point, you’ve got to have a frank conversation with yourself and decide whether this is the right relationship for you.
Reflect on your relationship — was he always this way?
If you can pinpoint where his neediness started, you might have a chance of working through it. But, if you realize that he’s simply a needy person by nature or he’s got deep-rooted traumas (and he’s unwilling to address them) then you need to put yourself first.
Because it’s easy to get burnt out and drained by a needy partner.
Whilst you’re struggling to live an independent life, they’re always there holding you back and quite often, annoying you with their clinginess.
From mood swings to guilt-tripping you, all of this can take a toll on your mental health and you’ll do yourself a favor by knowing when to end the relationship. Especially if he’s not going to change or work on himself.
So when is too much?
When does a needy man become toxic?
Now in some cases, needy behavior can spill over into controlling behavior.
We’ve already touched upon how being “too needy” can translate into emotional abuse or emotional blackmail.
This is a serious issue and not one that you should continue to live with.
So in what ways can neediness equate to abuse?
Well, if your partner does any of these things, there’s a good chance he’s “too needy” and you’ve fallen into a toxic cycle:
- He threatens you if you don’t follow his wishes (“I’ll kill myself if you don’t stop being friends with that guy”)
- He blames you for everything (“I feel like crap and it’s all your fault for not taking me along to the concert”)
- He tries to restrict who you see (“I never had a good feeling about your brother, I don’t want you hanging around with him because he wants to break us up”)
- He physically or verbally abuses you (“I hurt you because I love you”)
If you recognize your situation in any of these points, your partner isn’t simply needy, they’re downright toxic.
And staying in a relationship like this for too long will leave you broken, hurt, untrusting, and probably quite isolated from the outside world.
Get out before it’s too late.
Don’t mistake normal neediness with toxic neediness, otherwise, the consequences on your mental health (and possibly physical) could be terrible.
So, when it comes to dealing with your needy man, you’re going to need to think long and hard about whether it’s the type of neediness you can help him through, or if it’s too much to handle.
And if you do believe you can work through it, don’t forget to be clear on your boundaries, take time out for yourself, and most importantly, know that with a little patience, your relationship can improve.
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If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
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