Everyone has needs.
As human beings, we long for affection, attention, and acceptance – and these only cover the first letter of the alphabet.
In a healthy relationship, both partners communicate their needs openly, and each of them makes strides to accommodate the other as much as possible.
But what happens when one partner is more needy than the other, to the point of becoming clingy?
Can the relationship survive?
As no two relationships are alike, there’s no easy, one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
In fact, it depends on a variety of factors.
If you’re worried about pushing your boo away, read on.
1) Open communication
Good communication is the foundation of a sustainable relationship.
As long as the two of you can discuss your needs, wants, and complaints openly, you’re off to a great start.
This guarantees that you can explain why you need constant reassurance, and your significant other can speak up whenever they feel smothered or overwhelmed.
An ongoing dialogue ensures that you both feel heard and valued, regardless of whether one of you is more independent than the other.
In contrast, a lack of communication can prevent the less needy partner from expressing their concerns.
It can cause them to experience frustration, potentially leading to the end of the relationship.
The idea of admitting that you tend to be clingy in relationships likely makes you want to run to the woods and never look back.
It’s not easy to be this vulnerable in a relationship, especially in the early stages.
You’re probably worried about potentially scaring off your new boo before they’ve even gotten a chance to see how amazing you are, neediness aside.
That said, approaching this delicate conversation with honesty and self-awareness can actually bring you two closer.
If your partner knows that this is something you struggle with, they’re less likely to bail at the first sign of clinginess on your part.
Here are a few tips that can help you have a productive talk:
- Admit that your neediness is something you’re aware of (e.g., “I want to be open with you about something I’ve noticed about myself.”)
- Be specific (e.g., “I can feel a bit clingy or needy at times, and I think it’s vital for us to talk about it.”)
- Share your reflections (e.g., “I’ve been reflecting on why I feel this way, and it likely has something to do with my upbringing/insecurities/past relationships.”)
- Emphasize your feelings for them (e.g., “I know that this can be a problem, but I deeply care about you and hope that this is something we can work on together.”)
- Make it clear that you’re committed to improving yourself and managing your feelings
- Encourage your partner to share their perspective on the subject
Together, you can establish boundaries that work for both of you.
Which brings me to my next point.
2) Your ability to respect boundaries
Everyone has personal boundaries regarding space, time, and attention.
Once you had an open discussion and your partner shared theirs, you must respect them.
Otherwise, you’ll make them feel suffocated, which can end the relationship.
For instance, let’s say your neediness makes you want to keep in touch with your partner via texting throughout the day.
They might accept this but mention that their response time will be slow during work hours.
They’ll only be able to text back during their lunch break, as they keep their phone on Do Not Disturb when at the office.
On your end, make sure you don’t bombard them with texts when you know they can’t reply. You can catch up during the evening.
Similarly, they might be okay with spending more time with you but still want to enjoy time alone or in the company of their friends.
It’s crucial to respect their wishes and give them the space they need, either to chill alone or with friends.
Personally, I need a lot of alone time, even when I’m in a relationship, in order to recharge.
Some people don’t understand this. They insist on hanging out because “I don’t have any plans anyway.”
But for me, sitting at home alone and reading a book very much constitutes as “having plans.”
Just because they don’t involve anyone else doesn’t mean they’re not important.
If a partner were to pressure me to give up this alone time to be with them, I would eventually end up resenting them.
Don’t be that person.
When your boo tries to meet you halfway, they’re already doing their best to accommodate your neediness.
Focus on that.
3) Your willingness to work on yourself
You were honest about your shortcomings, and you established healthy boundaries.
I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to actively work on yourself.
Your partner may accept your clinginess, but it’s essential to show that you’re committed to bettering yourself.
Otherwise, they’re the only ones doing the heavy lifting.
World-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê has a Love & Intimacy Masterclass in which he makes an excellent point about being needy: your clinginess makes you deposit your chances of happiness outside of yourself.
In other words, it may be difficult for you to find happiness within, so you put too much pressure on your partner to validate you.
Thankfully, you can fix this by learning to appreciate your own company, identifying your triggers, and developing coping strategies for when your neediness feels like too much.
While working with a therapist can definitely help with this, there are a few things you can do on your own:
- Work on boosting your self-confidence and self-esteem
- Practice mindfulness techniques to stay present and manage anxious thoughts
- Find ways to distract yourself when your brain feels like your worst enemy (like exercise, puzzle games, movies, books)
- Focus on your well-being, interests, and hobbies
- Cultivate friendships and engage in social activities outside of the relationship
The more comfortable you feel when you’re alone, the less needy you become in a couple.
4) Attachment styles
Different attachment styles can affect how people perceive and respond to neediness.
If you feel too needy in relationships, you probably have an anxious attachment style.
People with anxious attachments seek frequent reassurance and validation from their partners to soothe their anxiety about the relationship.
If your partner also has an anxious attachment style, there’s a better chance they’ll understand your needs – as they’re prone to neediness as well.
Even people with secure attachment can make a great match since they’re generally comfortable expressing their feelings and reassuring their partners.
Additionally, their healthy behaviors can encourage you to engage in more balanced relationship dynamics.
In contrast, if your partner has an avoidant attachment style, they might not be able to cope with your clinginess.
See, people with an avoidant attachment style often prioritize their independence and tend to maintain emotional and physical distance from their partners.
Consequently, a relationship between an anxious individual and an avoidant one comes with a lot of challenges.
The avoidant one may feel overwhelmed and occasionally need a break from the relationship, causing you to experience an intense fear of abandonment.
Even so, love isn’t an exact science.
If both partners are committed to making things work, there’s no reason why your bond can’t flourish.
5) External factors
Finally, external factors also play a role in how your neediness affects the relationship.
Time of stress, personal challenges, or life changes can exacerbate neediness, as well as influence your partner’s willingness to cater to your needs.
How the two of you navigate these external factors will influence whether the relationship survives or flounders.
If you’re the one experiencing stress, you’ll require even more emotional support from your partner – something they might not be willing or able to provide.
Similarly, if your partner is the one dealing with challenges, it can cause them to be less attentive, which may strain your relationship.
Plus, they might perceive your needy behavior as an additional burden during an already troublesome time.
As always, the key to navigating these changing circumstances is communication.
Talk about your feelings, analyze your situation together, and see if you can reach a compromise.
Perhaps setting a new set of boundaries could be beneficial, at least until the stressful circumstances resolve themselves.
To sum up, being too needy can end a relationship, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
If your partner is understanding and you’re open to growth, you can form a healthy and long-term couple.
I mentioned Rudá Iandê’s Love & Intimacy Masterclass earlier.
It’s a remarkable resource for someone who struggles with clinginess and wants to feel more empowered in their relationship.
It’s also a great starting point for your journey of self-improvement.
The road won’t be easy, but you’ll be glad you did the work.