15 effective ways to be more laid back in a relationship

You’re a rare gem.

You love with all of your heart but sadly not too many people can match the level of passion and devotion you can give in a relationship. And along with it, you admit that sometimes you get a little clingy.

Fine, a LOT clingy! But it will be over soon.

You want to stop being clingy because you realize:

  • It’s not good for your mental health
  • It’s not good for your relationship, and
  • It’s totally not sexy

You know this already but somehow you just can’t stop being a clingy boyfriend or a clingy girlfriend.

Sometimes we can’t help but go to the dark side and get all jealous and controlling even if we know we’re totally being irrational. But enough with the past!

Now, you are on your way to becoming more laid back in your relationship.

By being laid back, the goal isn’t to love less or invest less in the relationship, it’s to love without relationship anxiety.

The goal is to remove the neediness but still keep the passion and love intact.

In this article, I will list down the tried and tested ways on how you can train yourself to be more laid back in a relationship without pulling away.

1) Deal with your insecurities

What are your fears and insecurities?

Get a pen and paper and list them all down without thinking too hard. Start with your body.

Do you hate your balding head? Do you hate your sagging boobs? Are you ashamed of your pores?

Write all of them down!

Make sure you only include the ones you’re truly insecure about, not those you’ve already accepted about yourself.

After making a list of your physical insecurities, make one for your career too. Then one for your intelligence, your finances…just go ahead list all of them down.

Remember that as long as you keep beating yourself up for these things that you hate about yourself and your life, you’ll think people are out to get you.

One small comment will be magnified 100 times.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend is talking to someone skinny and you panic a little, maybe it’s only because you’re feeling fat and not because they’re actually flirting with each other.

Deal with your insecurities and self-loathing mindset with therapy and a dash of humor.

Being aware of your insecurities and your tendencies to react to them will keep you much calmer and therefore more laid back in your relationship.

It will make you question your fears.

Next time you feel bad, ask yourself which insecurity is being triggered and consider the possibility that it’s just that — your insecurities getting triggered — and nothing more.

2) Deal with your anxiety

Are you a naturally anxious person?

It will be hard for you to be laid back in relationships (or in life in general) if you won’t manage your anxiety issues.

I can see you roll your eyes because this is so obvious but that’s because it’s something you should take seriously.

Even if you’re in the healthiest relationship, even if they’re the most loyal person, you’ll still panic over the smallest things because panic has become the comfort zone of your brain.

You need to address the root cause of this by undergoing therapies for anxiety like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Watch videos on Youtube and do your own research.

If you have the money, go to a therapist so you’ll be properly guided by a professional on how to manage your anxiety.

If you love your partner, but most of all — if you love yourself — deal with your anxiety.

Otherwise, you and your relationship will suffer a great ton. Even if you do all the other tips in this list, if you don’t deal with your anxiety, you’ll still be clingy.

3) Be a little stoic

Focus only on the things you can control and love is something no one, absolutely no one, has control over. You cannot force anyone to love you or to remain in love with you.

Not even if you shower them with gifts and your awesomeness, not even if you’re the most good-looking, the most loving, the most interesting person in the world.

So what should you do? Should you just quit on love?

Au contraire!

You should love in a more genuine way, not in a toxic way.

The stoic approach to love can make anxious people more laid back in relationships because they believe that if your love is meant to be, then nothing in the world can stop it.

On the other hand, if your love is NOT meant to be and they leave you or they cheat on you, then at least you find out sooner because that love really isn’t for you.

You see, it’s a calming approach but it’s not just a trick to keep us more relaxed in relationships, it’s actually very true. It simply means that anything that happens to you in love is just how it should be and there’s no use in trying to control it because you CAN’T!

The only things you have control over are your actions and feelings, not those of the other person.

Stoicism applied in love is like treating everything as a gift.

When you send them a sweet message, treat it as a gift you give them fully, without expectations of a longer, sweeter reply. If you cook them dinner, think of it as a gift. Don’t expect them to do the next one.

Next time you do something for them, have this “gift” mindset. It is much liberating and more rewarding…and of course, it will make you less clingy.

4) Remove them from the pedestal

You think you’re so lucky because they’re the cutest, smartest, sweetest, richest person in the world and they chose you. That you’ll never find another one like them ever.

Nope. There are 7 billion people in the world so they can’t be the only one. And, nope. THEY should be the ones who should feel lucky they’re dating you!

Remove them from that pedestal you built for them and put yourself there instead because you’re one badass person and they should be the ones trying to impress you and not the other way around.

Instead of asking “Do they still like me?”, ask “Do I still like them?”

Instead of asking “What can I do to make them happy so they will stay?”, ask “What should they do to make me stay?”

Every time you have these fears in your head, phrase it as if you’re the one in power.

5) Don’t put in more than you’re getting

Now I know they all say that we should love unconditionally. Well, sure. But do that when you’re already married for 10 years.

While you’re still in the early stages of dating, don’t overdo it. Sounds simple and it should be. You can do it with just the right psychological techniques.

If they gave you a card for Christmas, don’t give them a motorcycle.

If you bought the groceries and cooked dinner, don’t wash the dishes and massage them after. That’s overkill.

But you will say…that’s just how I love. I want to pamper.

Well, if that’s the case, then I guess there isn’t much of a problem other than anything overdone is a little unattractive. And just make sure you’re doing this without expecting anything at all.


The problem is that usually, we put in a lot of effort because we want that in return. And if we don’t get the same level of sweetness, we get mad with anger and start questioning the relationship.

When you give your partner more than they can give in return, they will feel overwhelmed and would probably shut down and slowly find you unattractive.

6) Hang out with friends like you’re still single

We’ve seen this a lot.

Friends just disappear when they are in a relationship and reappear once they’re broken up. Phew.

It’s such a shame because maybe they’ve broken up because they’re too clingy to each other.

There are so many reasons why you should still be with your friends even if you already have a relationship. There is no benefit in making your romantic relationship your whole world.

What if you’ll have a fight and they’ll break up with you? You’ll be all alone.

You should have your own friends.

They should have their own friends.

You should have shared friends.

Encourage them to go out with their friends without you and please do the same.

Say yes to invites from friends and even initiate coffee dates or weekend barbeque and game nights now and then.

7) Build and maintain your “fifty people”

The famous author Kurt Vonnegut once said that human beings are supposed to live in stable, like-minded, extended families of fifty people or more.

He said that marriage is collapsing because our families are too small. A man cannot be a whole society to a woman and a woman cannot be a whole society to a man.

Don’t expect your honey to be your best friend, therapist, financial advisor, source of gossip, business partner, and a hundred other things. That will eventually lead to a codependent relationship wherein none of you are growing. You will bore each other to death.

You have to get energy from the outside — your work, hobbies, friends — so you will have more good things to put in your relationship.

By finding and nurturing other kinds of relationships, you will be less needy of your S.O. because you get what you need from many other sources.

8) Call your mom more often

Moms (and some awesome dads) really have healing powers, don’t they?

As we get older, we realize that our moms are really awesome. Even if our moms were annoying as hell during our teenage years, they become comforting with their motherly advice and care.

Talking to your mom can make you feel less alone and therefore less desperate to have a relationship. They can also give you precious relationship advice if you need it.

Knowing that there is one person who got your back no matter what can make you more laid back in your relationship and life in general.

9) Get busy with hobbies

During the early stages of dating, you made sure you’re an interesting person because duh, who dates someone who has no hobbies?!

In your OK Cupid profile, you put a long list of hobbies because you’re not a basic guy or gal who just depends on a relationship for happiness. You’re not dull.

Well, fast forward to today and you feel like you’re boring AF because you let your relationship become the center of the universe.

Look, they fell in love with you because you’re an interesting person who’s full of curiosity and passion. Go be that person again even if it feels tiring.

Don’t get too comfy in your relationship that you stop pursuing your dreams and doing your hobbies.

Plus, the good thing about hobbies is that they’re part of you forever. No one can take them away from you. If you’re into painting and you keep at it, you’ll have your paintings and your skills with you wherever life takes you.

Having this kind of sense of self and sense will keep you less needy because you don’t depend on anyone else to make you happy.

10) Put your self in their shoes

Before you send that “WHERE ARE YOU?!?!” message, imagine getting this same message from your S.O. You’d find them too demanding, wouldn’t you?

Even if they have every right to send it, it’s still a little off, isn’t it?

Before you pout your lips hard when they say they’ll visit their sister this weekend, imagine how you’d feel if they’d do the same thing to you.

Do this mental exercise every time you feel like throwing a fit and it will make you realize that nothing good comes out of controlling behavior.

11) Don’t imagine a future with them too soon

Maybe you’re too serious too soon so every little thing they do, you start to question if they’re truly marriage material. It’s as if they have a set of rules to follow so you’ll be guaranteed of a good future.

A lot of people don’t think of marriage so soon in the relationship.

It could be little stuff, like:

Will he always leave his underwear on the floor even when we’re married?

What if she’ll still be this flirty until we’re old? Can I truly handle it?

Or it could be big stuff, like:

Will she ever earn more? Otherwise, how can we start saving for a house?

Will he ever quit smoking? Maybe it can make him infertile…and I want a kid.

Look, calm the eff down. You’re not here to fix and fix and build and build.

Enjoy them for who they are now and trust that things will align someday. Having strict rules and high standards in a relationship will make you difficult to live with.

Enjoy the little things they give you freely each day. Don’t demand for this or that too much too soon because newsflash: YOU DO NOT OWN THEM.

12) Be friends with people of the opposite sex

Do you get jealous because your S.O. has many friends of the opposite sex? Do you think your partner secretly wants to date them?

Instead of asking your girlfriend or boyfriend to stop talking to them, why don’t you befriend people of the opposite sex, too? This way, not only will you realize that it’s totally possible to be just friends with the opposite sex, but you’ll also expand your friendships.

Guys have a lot to offer to girls and vice versa. If you only keep friends of the same sex as you, your mind would start shrinking.

Do not close your friendship doors just because you’re in a relationship.

As long as you’re not having a secret affair with them, it’s all good. Another bonus is that you can of course introduce them to your partner so that you’ll have a lot of friends together.

13) Keep your mind busy

An idle mind is the devil’s playground. If you are a little bored with your hobbies and you’re too tired to go out to meet friends, try your best to keep your mind busy.

There are so many ways to do this!

Go watch that TV show you’ve been curious about, do woodwork, play chess with random people online, read, watch a TEDtalk on anxiety.

On any given day, there are a hundred and one ways to keep yourself busy.

Don’t say “I have nothing to do” because my god, there are sooooo many things to do in this life. Do them before you send another “I’m bored, where are you?” text.

14) Challenge yourself to make them miss you

If you’re always too available, you become less valuable in their eyes. That’s just the way it is. If you don’t believe me, imagine your S.O. is the one who’s always waiting for you to be happy.

That’s just unattractive!

Turn it into a game you play with yourself. Challenge yourself to make them miss you just a little bit every single day.

It means instead of texting every hour, try texting only in the morning and maybe once at night.

It means that you say no to their invites sometimes because you are really doing something important.

It means that you will talk to others when you’re together at a party instead of clinging to them like glue.

This isn’t a game to make them want you more (although that could be an effect). It’s a technique so you will train yourself to be less needy.

Not being too available is HOT, so go be hot.

15) Be the cake

Your S.O. shouldn’t be the cake because YOU ARE THE CAKE and they are just the icing that you put on top of you to make life more colorful.

Even if they’re “the one,” even if you think they’re the best person in the world, you have to condition yourself that you are the main thing in your own life.


Say this to yourself over and over again.

Make it your mantra because it is the truth but sometimes we forget it. Say it. “My life is my life.”

You are a complete human being without them — always have and always will be.

Don’t give them too much power so that they become the cake. Ever. Even if you love them with all of your heart.

This doesn’t make you self-centered, it keeps you grounded. Trust me, they wouldn’t like it any other way either. This is the healthy way to love. Self first, others second. No exceptions.

So there you have it, folks.

How to stay calm amid the uncertainties of life is one of the hardest things to do but it’s one of the most important life skills every adult should have. You can do it. You have to do it.

But let’s say you’ve done all of the things in this list yet you still feel like you’re an annoying girlfriend or annoying boyfriend who’s always begging for attention and love, then it’s probably time to reassess your relationship.

Maybe you’re just not compatible. The right one would feel like you have more or less the same level of clinginess. The right one would feel like less work…that you don’t have to bend yourself backward to make a lot of changes just so the relationship would be okay.

To be more objective, ask your trusted friends and family to assess your situation.

Ask your therapist, too. If all of them will tell you that you’re not being clingy anymore and that it’s your partner that needs to make some changes, then have to have a serious talk with your S.O.

Tell them what you need from them and if they’re not willing to compromise, I guess it’s time to “bye felish” and hope that the next one would be a better match.

If they truly love you, they would acknowledge your needs and try to make some changes on their end because there’s nothing more painful to them than knowing you don’t feel loved.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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