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A couple bonding. Signs he respects you.

Clingy boyfriend: 9 things they do (and how to handle them)

Worried that your boyfriend is clingy?

Sure, he is sweet and attentive to your needs, but is it becoming a little overwhelming?

Look, it can be tough to figure out where to draw the line between someone who is loving and affectionate and someone who is clingy.

I’m a man and I’ve been involved in relationships where the girls I was dating became too clingy.

At first, it was cute and fun, but over time I needed to take action to save the relationship (or end it).

It’s not an easy situation to be in, so I can certainly empathize with the thoughts running through your head right now.

The good news?

There are ways to effectively deal with a clingy partner to create a stronger and healthier relationship.

After all, the truth is this:

Your man obviously loves you a great deal if he is acting clingy.

He just needs to use that love in a more effective way that you’ll respond to.

Before we talk about ways to deal with a clingy boyfriend, let’s discuss why being clingy is a problem in a relationship, then we’ll talk about the clear-cut signs that your boyfriend actually is clingy.

After that, we’ll discuss what to do about it.

We have a lot to cover so let’s get started.

Why is being clingy a problem in the relationship?

The term clingy refers to a person who loves their partner so much that they never want to let them go.

If they had the choice they’d spend every waking hour with their partner.

Perhaps a person can be clingy physically (always needing physical affection) or emotionally.

In fact, they may even be clingy socially if they demand to know what their partner is doing at all times.

A clingy partner might begin to lose interest in anything that doesn’t involve their partner.

And as a consequence, they might never make social plans that they don’t involve their other half.

When it gets to this stage, it can become extremely unhealthy.

Relying solely on someone else for your happiness and fulfillment is dangerous on a number of points.

1) It hinders your personal power to control your own emotions and find your own inner peace.

2) You become dependent on someone else for your fulfillment in life.

3) You become highly insecure and fearful of losing your partner.

4) You experience constant relationship anxiety because you fear you wouldn’t be able to deal with life if the relationship ends.

5) Without a healthy balance in life, you are more likely to be anxious and unstable.

6) It places too much pressure and responsibility on their partner.

Alright, so it’s pretty clear that being clingy in a relationship certainly doesn’t help you, him, or the relationship.

Now the question is:

Is your boyfriend actually clingy?

Or is he expressing affection in a healthy way?

Here’s how to tell.

9 signs your boyfriend is clingy

1. He won’t stop texting you

Most couples text each other every day, perhaps even multiple times a day.

But if your boyfriend seems to be texting almost every hour of the day, then he’s clingy.

He wants to know what you’re doing for lunch, breakfast, and everything in between.

Maybe he’s incredibly jealous, and he wants to make sure you’re not spending time with another male.

And what’s worse:

He seems to get worried, anxious, or even angry when you don’t text him back right away.

If he demands to know what you’re doing for most of the hours of the day, then that clearly isn’t normal.

Not only is your boyfriend clingy, but he is controlling and may not fully trust you, either.

2. He doesn’t spend time with his friends anymore

I’ve seen this over and over.

Friends of mine who I used to see every weekend suddenly stop showing up to any social event.

It becomes almost impossible to get them out.

And the reason?

A girl they’ve fallen madly in love with.

They simply stop making an effort to see their friends because it isn’t important to them anymore.

The kicker?

The relationship almost never works out.

Why?

Because their life becomes increasingly small and overly reliant on one aspect.

And when that aspect of their life starts going through even small problems, they have no friends to lean on and no other parts of their life to focus on.

As a result, small problems become big. Relationship anxiety gets out of control. They know they can’t afford the relationship to go badly.

They rely too much on it.

So if your boyfriend has stopped spending time with his friends, and reserves all his free time for you, then he is a probably clingy boyfriend.

3. He doesn’t have hobbies anymore

Did your boyfriend have interests before he met you?

Was he always up to fun and adventurous things on the weekend?

And now he’s completely let them slide?

He used to talk with passion about rock climbing and surfing, but now he can barely muster the energy to get interested in them?

This is a dangerous sign that you’ve become his obsession.

We all need a balance in life, and if your boyfriend hasn’t even got time for hobbies that he used to love, then he might be overly clingy.

4. He hates it when you go out with your friends without him

Because he hardly ever goes out with his friends or spends time on his hobbies, it’s almost like he expects you to do the same.

And when you tell your boyfriend you’re going for a girl’s night out, he demands to know where you’re going and how rowdy the club is.

Perhaps he doesn’t trust you.

Or maybe he just hates the fact that you’re having a good time without him.

Talk about insecurity.

Whatever it is, it’s a sign that he is clingy and it’s getting to the point of no return.

5. He needs constant reassurance

It’s like he can’t actually take your words for it, even when you tell him you love him.

He needs to be told over and over how much you like him and what he does for you.

His ego is fragile, and you’ve got way too much power to manipulate how he feels.

In fact, it can almost seem like he does things for you purely for the congratulation of it, rather than, you know, to actually help you out.

It’s a bit suss, to be honest, but if your boyfriend takes action to help you to only receive a compliment from you, then you know he is clingy.

And he definitely clingy in an unhealthy way as well.

6. He is just always around and never leaves you alone

Look, in any healthy relationship, we all need space. We all need our alone time.

But if your boyfriend never gives you time to do things on your own and all your friends just assume that wherever you go he’ll be there with you, then you know it’s getting a little too much.

Again, it might be the fact that he doesn’t trust you to not flirt with other men, or he might just feel jealous that you’ll have a good time without him.

Whatever it is, it’s a sign that it is getting a little too much and your boyfriend is overly clingy.

7. He is incredibly jealous

Look, a little bit of jealously exists in any healthy relationship.

But what I’m referring to here is jealously that exists for even small things nonconsequential things.

For example, whenever you chat with a guy he’s convinced that something is going on between the two of you and he gets unnecessarily angry about it.

He simply doesn’t like it when you spend time with anyone from the opposite sex.

Even if you’ve stated many times that you are just friends, he struggles to believe you.

There should be trust between the two of you, but it seems that he always convinced that something sinister is going on.

8. He has stalked you on social media

It’s normal to keep an eye on what your partner is doing on social media.

But if you’ve noticed that he has been through nearly every single one of your past posts and asked you about the guys you’ve pictured with, then something is fishy.

He can’t resist asking about why this guy commented on your post 5 years ago.

We can all agree that when you’re going back that far, and you demand answers for what happened back then, then it is getting a little too much.

9. He can’t seem to form his own opinion anymore

If he is highly insecure in the relationship, then he probably won’t have the confidence to voice any disagreement with you.

Whatever you say goes.

And that’s a sad sight to see for any man.

This is because he is so afraid of losing you and causing problems in the relationship.

His ego is fragile and relying on the happiness of the relationship to feel good about himself.

Alright, so if you’ve established that boyfriend is in fact clingy, then you need to work out how to deal with it.

Here’s how.

How to deal with your boyfriend being clingy

1. He needs to learn to trust you

For any healthy relationship, trust is an extremely important component.

And one of the main reasons someone becomes overly clingy is because they don’t trust their partner.

In general, the more you trust the other person in the relationship, the less anxious you are about your relationship.

You’re probably wondering: How can I increase trust in the relationship?

The best way is generally a face-to-face conversation about it.

By communicating with each other, you’ll be able to talk about why your boyfriend is too clingy and what you can do about it.

It’s important not to accuse your boyfriend of being clingy when you have this conversation.

That will only serve to start an argument (which doesn’t help anyone).

Instead approach the conversation in an open, honest, and friendly manner.

If you do that, and you can both be open and honest with each other, then you’re conversation will be much more productive and useful.

By communicating with each other, you’ll be able to talk about why you (or your partner) are too clingy and what you can do about it.

Perhaps you both just need to reassure each other that you do indeed trust each other, and then set some boundaries (we’ll get into that later).

In your conversation, you should have 2 goals:

1. Your partner is made aware of why their actions or words caused you to lose trust.

2. A plan is made to avoid such situations in the future.

2. If it is early days, try to set boundaries

If you haven’t been dating that long, then it’s a great opportunity to establish some ground rules between the two of you.

This is where you can make spending time away from each other the norm.

You can communicate to him that you absolutely love spending alone – maybe because you’re an introvert, or because you do your best thinking when you’re alone.

You can also make it clear that you need to spend time alone to recharge your batteries.

You could even make a joke that it will benefit him as well.

After all, you get grumpy if you don’t spend enough time alone for yourself.

Furthermore, it’s important to communicate how crucial you believe it is to have your own life outside of the relationship,

Tell him that you’ve seen friends of yours who have made their love life the main priority of their life, and you feel sorry for them because they haven’t got a balance in their life.

If you can communicate these types of things with your boyfriend, he’ll understand the need for space in the relationship.

Or at least he’ll open to your needs.

In the end, if he loves you, he’ll want to make you happy.

You just need to let him know what you need in the relationship.

3. Be honest with yourself

Take a step back and analyze your feelings and behavior.

Is it that you think they are too clingy or is it that you’ve lost interest?

When we stop liking someone, we tend to find their behavior annoying.

4. Encourage your boyfriend to get out with his friends

Why not suggest that your boyfriend meet up with his old friends or go and do a hobby that he loves?

Whenever he mentions doing something that doesn’t include you, make sure that you fully encourage it.

After all, he might think that you like it when he acts overly clingy.

Try and make a point to him that it is important he has his own hobbies and interests.

He might eventually realize that taking time for himself is actually beneficial to the relationship.

5. Less phone time

Can you believe that there was once a time in the not so distant past…just 30 years ago or so…

Partners left the house in the morning to go to work, and they were not in contact at all until they returned home at night! 

At that time there were no (or very few) mobile phones. Workplaces generally forbid personal calls during work time unless, of course, there was an emergency.

This meant that for 8-10 hours every day, partners did not see, speak to, or chat with each other.

As a result, they got a break from one another…and had something to talk about during dinner—the classic: “How was your day?”

How often are you in touch by phone in your relationship? Is it excessive?

Check it out by choosing a 24-hour period. Keep track of ALL the times you are in touch with the other in a proactive way (not reactive such as replying with a short comment or emoji).

This includes not only voice and chat but also sending images, forwarding things, and posting links.

For the same 24-hour period, keep track of ALL the times he was in touch with you in a proactive way.

Let’s look at the proactive contact numbers for your 24-hour period. How much difference is there between the two numbers? In other words, how much MORE is he in touch with you than you are with him?

If the difference is more than 5, then he is obviously clingy. 

The solution?

Don’t text back as much. Take time to respond. Let him know that you’re busy. It is like training a puppy. Just make sure you’re consistent!

6. Create more space between you and your partner 

Even in the strongest, most loving relationships, partners need time apart from each other. 

As we mentioned above in the phone section, being “no contact” in the old days was one way this was achieved naturally.

Today, we are used to being in touch much more often. So, for the sake of good relationships, we need to consciously build in “apart time”.

Here are some ways to create space between each other:

Limit phone contact

You could go “no contact” during the workday or limit proactive contacts to a low number. In effect, you would be updating an old school hack. Easy to do and doesn’t cost you anything.

Alone together

For partners sharing a home…

  1. Schedule some time in which you each occupy different parts of the residence WITHOUT being in contact at all. For example, from 9-10 am every Saturday, you are in the garden and your partner is in the kitchen.
  2. Use a “do not disturb” sign. Yes, the same as in hotels. When the person hangs the sign on the doorknob of a room and closes the door, they are not to be bothered (not even by phone) unless there is a justified emergency. Make sure you use this option also, even if you feel you don’t need it, in order to give your partner some space.

Do it by yourself

Tell your boyfriend he doesn’t always have to have some with him when he shops or goes to the gym or movies. 

Is it nicer together? Sure, but you are a grownup, and grownups know how to do things by themselves when needed…and it is needed, so your partner/the other has space to breathe.

Nights out

This is the popular “girls night out / guys night out” suggestion. The idea here is that each of you can go out without the other in a non-threatening way. It means that you are not dependent on each other to have a fun night out. 

If you don’t have a “tribe” because you’ve been clinging onto the other person in the relationship exclusively, you are going to have to build one. It is easier than you think.

Many people you know will be willing to be casual friends with you. You are not asking for a big commitment, just doing something enjoyable together once in a while. 

You will be surprised how many people are looking for a tribe, too. 

7. Remember this doesn’t have to spell the end of the relationship

If you think the fact that you need more space from your boyfriend means that you should end the relationship, then think again.

As I’ve said above, we all need space in the relationship.

See it as a positive thing. If you’re googling ways to deal with a clingy boyfriend, then it shows that you like your boyfriend enough to make it work.

And if you can move through this and establish your own me-time in the relationship, then it will become stronger and better balanced.

After all, if the relationship is going to survive the journey, then you need to have your own lives outside of your relationship.

In the end, the relationship should end up stronger by the work you put in.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
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