You miss your guy terribly.
You want to poke him, but you don’t want to seem needy and turn him off. After all, you have a history of being one.
Don’t worry, there are so many ways to do that!
Here in this article, I will give you 28 ways you can tell a guy you miss him without being clingy.
But first — why is clinginess unattractive?
Having a clingy partner is incredibly exhausting.
Clinginess is something that might seem cute at first—we all want to feel wanted, after all— but it becomes a turn-off and can even make a relationship sour.
Whether you’re friends, dating, or married, it makes your partner feel like you simply don’t trust their love for you.
More than that, you give them the burden to keep feeding you their attention just to “prove” their love.
It also triggers an instinctual fear response in our brains… so even if they don’t understand why, they’ll find it repulsive anyways, which could eventually kill all their attraction towards you.
The art of loving without being clingy
Clinginess being a massive turn-off shouldn’t put you off from wanting to express your feelings with your partner.
It’s unhealthy to “hold in” all that love you want to express.
BUT…you gotta know how to express it right.
Thankfully, it’s easy enough to avoid looking needy once you know the secret.
Expressing love in a non-clingy way can be learned. And once you master it, you’ll become a much better partner (and human being, in general).
28 ways to tell him you miss him without being clingy
1) “Hey, how’s it going?”
Keep it cool and classy.
It’s very important to start off conversations right, and if you don’t want to seem desperate, you will want to keep your greeting as casual as possible.
And going “hey, what’s up?” or “how’s it going?” is as casual as can be.
Of course, it doesn’t actually stop you from sounding desperate if you act desperate anyways, so you will still want to avoid double-texting for example, or sending a sad face emoji if he doesn’t reply fast. More on this later.
2) “Been thinking about you today.”
Follow this up with a specific reason why you might think about him a lot.
Let’s say, for example, that he used to talk your ears off about music a while back, and a music store opened up in your neighborhood not too long ago.
You can take a picture of yourself right next to that store and send it together with that message.
Having a specific reason for missing him—something that’s not related to love and romance—will make this message less sappy and needy and send the message that you actually miss him as a person.
3) “Hey, do you remember when…”
Bringing up the good old days is always a good way to communicate to someone that you miss them.
Nostalgia is useful in rekindling the love between you and your current partner. And it’s also a very effective tactic used by people who want to get their ex back.
Breakup and Divorce Coach Brad Browning talks a lot about this technique and why it works.
It’s actually what I used to win back my ex’s heart after we broke up. A bit “sneaky” if I must say, but well…it works! And don’t worry, he’ll guide you on how to apply them in the subtlest way possible so your guy would never suspect you’re pulling tricks on him.
Unlike other coaches out there, Brad is not full of BS. He uses psychology-backed techniques that actually work.
He knows why people start drifting apart from their partners and eventually leave them, as well as what can be done to win them back.
If you’re curious, you can check out this free video, where he helps you figure out how you can get your partner—ex or otherwise—to pay attention to you again.
No matter how hopeless the situation is, he’ll give you a number of useful tips that you can apply immediately.
Here’s a link to his free video again. It can do wonders to prevent you from losing your partner and seeing him become your “ex.”
4) “OMG, I dreamt of you!”
This is another of those subtle ways to tell someone you miss them without actually telling them that you miss them.
Everyone knows that people dream about the ones they miss a lot. Some would also like to believe that dreaming of someone is a sign that you’re meant to be together.
Of course, you will want to lean into it with a healthy dash of humor to keep the mood light so it’s less cringey.
For example, you might want to say something like “OMG, I dreamt of you! Stop thinking of meeee ;-)”
Of course, they will react with a message like this. And hopefully it’s the start of a fun reconnection.
5) “Our pets are missing you.”
Unless he’s someone who doesn’t care for animals at all, bringing up your pets is a good way to grab his attention.
And think about it. How can you resist a picture of a cute pet you love dearly?
It’s important to make sure you aren’t using your pets as a weapon, of course. If he feels that this is what you’re doing, you’re more likely to get him pissed instead.
As a rule of thumb on being less clingy, remember that your goal is to put a smile on his face… and not a frown.
6) “I cooked your favorite dish.”
This is another good way to get the point across that you miss someone without being too forward about it.
Offhandedly mention that you cooked his favorite dish. Saying so is a clear message that you’re thinking of him.
Then try to level up.
You can offer him ways to bond with you. You can ask him to rate your cooking, for example, or you can ask him to help you cook his favorite dish in the future.
The key is to say it offhandedly or as a matter of fact. It’s harder to pull off and not sound a little desperate if you try to bring too much attention to it.
And if he says he can’t drop by to taste your dish, don’t act offended!
This is the way to be less clingy: to expect nothing.
7) “I’m listening to your favorite album.”
Make sure you’re actually listening to his favorite album, of course, and that you have more to say beyond just “I’m listening to your music.”
For example, you can tell him that you think the first song on the album reminds you of a funny meme you saw a while back.
Guys enjoy nerding out over the things they like, and he would be more than happy to know that you’ve taken an interest in something he likes.
So not only are you telling him that you miss him, you’re also saying that you really do like him.
8) “Hey, I’m doing our Lazy Sunday routine”
One way to resuscitate your dying relationship is by reminding him of what makes your relationship unique.
Think. What do you usually do together? What makes your relationship special?
Using this as an example, maybe you have a specific weekend routine that you call your own. Or maybe you have a tradition to get drunk on pay days?
He’d probably go “Oh yeah, we aren’t that bad…In fact, we’re great actually.”
I mentioned Brad Browning earlier— he’s an expert in reversing breakups.
Not only does he share techniques on how to get a man to fall in love with you again, he also offers a step-by-step guide on how to do it right.
You see, we can get tips from reading articles online such as this one. But we need more than that. We need techniques and actionable steps by a true expert. And this is what Brad Browning’s “The Ex Factor” has to offer.
If you’re curious, you don’t have to buy the book yet. For now, you might want to check out his excellent free video here.
9) “I miss hanging out at (insert your favorite place)”
Before your relationship got stale, before you started losing feelings…you were once happy and full of life. And in those moments, you’re usually at your favorite hang-out place.
Take him back to that place, at least mentally.
Add something like “Hey, they have a new manager and he’s awesome!” or “Hey, I saw Jeff. He says hi!”
Perhaps you can bring up the things you enjoyed about that place, such as the vibes or the décor.
And of course, you can even suggest meeting up there again sometime, for old times’ sake.
Some people start neglecting dates after a while of being together, and others stop altogether after marriage.
It’s possible that this is exactly what has happened, and reminding him of the good old days can remind him exactly what you’ve been missing all this time.
10) “You’re the best (insert what he does best).”
What is he good at? Or, more importantly, what does he WANT to be good at?
If he’s good at playing guitar, say “You’re the best guitar player in the world! I’m at a concert right now and man, the guitarist sucks!”
A guy won’t cringe at a message like this. He’d be more focused on being flattered than thinking you’re making “moves” on him. Yep, even if you’ve already broken up and haven’t talked for ages.
You both might know that there are better guitarists out there, but the point is made—you miss the way he plays music (and of course, that you miss him).
11) “Hey, I miss your face!”
You’re still telling him that you miss him, of course. But you minimize the chances that you’ll be perceived as needy or desperate by being humorous about it.
As they all say, presentation is everything.
You can be so desperate for his attention you could die, but you can get away with it if you know how to say it right.
Make sure to maintain this sense of humor, of course. It wouldn’t do for you to catch his attention with wit and then lose it by falling apart in front of him.
12) “Wish you were here.”
Do this when you’re out traveling or revisiting a place that’s significant to both of you.
It would help if you were to send him photos to let him know exactly what he’s missing out on.
It’s sweet and heartfelt, and yet it doesn’t exactly make one think that you’re desperate at all. Not on its own, at the very least.
If anything, you can use this to sell him on the idea of going together on your next trip.
Barring that, you can always bond over the pictures you have to give him. Talking about a place or an experience is always a good way to bond in a non-desperate way.
13) “Hey, do you still (insert the thing he likes to do)?”
Guys like it when you get involved in the things they like, and they count themselves fortunate when they’re with someone who supports or is curious about their interests.
Let’s say that you used to know him as someone who loved skiing, or building with LEGOs, or even playing computer games.
You can use this to begin talking about his interests together with him.
If they have changed, then don’t be discouraged—ask him what new things he’s into!
By asking him about his hobbies, you’re saying that you miss seeing him do his thing…and that you’re actually (still) fond of him.
14) “I saw this meme and thought of you.”
Choose your meme carefully, of course.
There’s a lot out there, and if you pick one at random just because… well, being “clingy” is far from the worst impression you can give him of you.
Does he love sarcasm, dark humor, or science? Is he more of a jock kinda guy, or is he more of a nerdy type? You’ll have to rely on your judgment on what will interest him.
But this isn’t something that should be too hard. You’ve known him for a while, after all.
But when in doubt, look for something that he can relate to or will make him laugh. That’s always a good idea.
15) “I saw this post and thought of you.”
Try to look for a post that is related in some way to your happier days together, or is something both of you relate to.
For example, let’s say that you used to love cheese like it’s the best thing in the world.
You nerd out about cheese, have inside jokes about cheese, have cheese dates. In other words, cheese is your thing!
And then you just so happened to come across someone ranting online about how cheese is overrated.
Sharing that post with him and telling him it made you think of him will most likely get a chuckle out of him, and prompt you to talk further about the topic.
16) “I swear I saw someone who looked like you.”
The fact that we tend to see the people we miss in strangers is common knowledge, so telling him this can subtly tell him that you’ve been missing him.
And of course, don’t forget to spin the conversation in an interesting direction!
You can try talking about how he’s been cloned, or if he had somehow learned how to teleport.
Once you get him laughing, you can then offhandedly mention that you miss him, and then talk to him about meeting up again sometime.
17) “How is your mother/ father/ sister/ friend?”
Ask him about the people in his life, especially if he’s close to his family.
You missing the people he loves indirectly tells him that you miss him and your relationship.
Doing so will not only start a convo, it’s also a message that says you miss being a part of his circle…of his life.
This will make him see you in a new light. You’re not simply a girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend), you’re also someone he can possibly build a life with because you truly care about his people.
18) “Hey Carrot Top, what have you been up to?”
Or, well, it doesn’t really have to be “Carrot Top”.
The point is to call him by your pet name for him… assuming that he appreciates it, of course.
Perhaps in your time together you have begun to forget about those days when you were in love and called each other cute names all the time.
This can serve to remind him of those times, and perhaps even get him a little nostalgic too!
If you’ve broken up but you’re still on good terms, you have to be a bit playful to pull this off. Otherwise, you’d look desperate. Choose a more playful pet name, too.
Don’t use “babe”, “honey”, or “sweetie” for your ex or you might be ignored for life!
20) “I miss when we had time together.”
You might see him every day, and yet you can’t help but miss him all the same. He barely has any time for you!
Life is hard, we all know that. But that doesn’t mean that you have to let it get you drifting apart, no!
Life is what you make of it, and there’s no reason why you can’t try to go on dates together again, even if sparingly.
So instead of complaining, say you miss the good old days.
And again, try to say it as nicely as possible. Don’t give him the cold shoulder if he won’t respond with the same level of enthusiasm as you expected.
21) “I hope we can hang out soon.”
This is a good line to say towards the middle or end of a discussion and is especially effective if you’ve just finished reminiscing about your good old days.
For example, after you send any of the messages above, you might say something like “We’ve been too caught up in life these days. I hope we can hang out together again soon.”
It shows that you’re not just complaining about missing him—you’re also willing to do something about it!
Nonverbal ways to say you miss him
22) Look at him with longing
Show him how much you miss him using your eyes.
Stare at him like he’s the most precious person in the world and don’t let go unless you sense he’s getting uncomfortable.
23) Wear his favorite dress
Surely, there’s a dress or two that he said he likes. He might have complimented you more than once when you wear it.
That dress will remind him of the good old times you had…when you’re still head over heels in love.
Wear that dress so you’ll stir his desire to be with you again.
24) Touch him
Although this is quite difficult to pull off if you broke up in anger and haven’t talked with each other for a while, try.
Start by tapping his shoulder when you want to catch his attention. Then maybe let your knees touch a little when you sit side by side.
This will make him remember the times when he’s still free to touch you, making him instantly miss you too.
25) Embrace him a few seconds longer
Let’s say you’re still together but you can sense his feelings for you have changed. Embracing him a few seconds longer will probably melt the tension away.
It’s also a good non-verbal way to tell him you miss him. It’s not clingy because you’re (still) his partner, after all.
And if you’re already exes, this will surely bring shivers to his spine because it’s a rather obvious way of expressing your longing for him.
26) Don’t hold back your sighs
When we miss someone and we’re trying to suppress our feelings, we can’t help but sigh.
Go ahead and sigh. It’s not forbidden!
It tells him that you miss him but you don’t want to be demanding so you’re keeping it all to yourself…which is, well, the opposite of clingy!
27) Give him a gift
Of course, don’t give him something that says you’re desperately in love with him and your life would be ruined if he leaves you for good. And by this, I mean, no BIG gifts like your painting of his face or a scrapbook of how awesome he is!
Keep it casual and cute.
Think of something cheap and funny, but make sure it’s still personal. Maybe he’s into anything sci-fi. Well then, give him a merch of Alien’s 30th year anniversary.
28) Give him your warmest smile
Smile with all your feelings. If you miss your boyfriend or husband terribly, smile in a way that says “I’m so happy you’re here!” Then kiss him!
If he’s your ex and you haven’t seen each other for a while, smile in a way that says “I can’t believe we ever parted ways. I forgive you. God, I miss you so much!”
You can communicate with a smile, and the good thing is that it’s one of the most non-clingy love gestures there is.
Tips on how to do “unclingy” right
As I have said multiple times in this article, execution is everything.
Trying not to be clingy can be tricky. Do it too much and he’d think you’re distant or passive-aggressive. And even if you send the non-clingy messages above if deep inside you’re still clingy, he’d still figure it out.
And so, here are some general tips on being less clingy even if you miss someone.
Go ahead and tell him you miss him!
You didn’t expect this, amirite?
But there’s no going around it. At some point, you’ll have to tell him that you miss him, not using the phrases mentioned in this list, but by outright saying the words “I MISS YOU.”
Don’t be afraid that simply telling this will make him think you’re clingy.
After all, surely you’ve had a friend tell you that they miss you without you thinking “man, my friend is clingy.”
The thing is that you should say this sparingly.
All of the phrases suggested above are things you can tell him instead to get him talking with you.
But at some point, you gotta blurt out those words. Just make sure you manage your expectations, of course.
Get tailor-made advice from a relationship coach
I have a lot to say about clinginess but unless I know you personally, I can never give you the advice that’s guaranteed to work for your specific situation.
Because of this, I recommend that you talk to a coach from Relationship Hero.
Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like winning an ex back.
I have a coach that I found in Relationship Hero. Every time I have a problem in my relationship, I consult her.
I see having a coach as a good investment to my happiness. I mean, if we can invest in a car or a home, why not spend a few dollars on an expert who can properly guide us in navigating relationships (which is a big factor in happiness).
Don’t overdo it
It’s important for you to give him some space. All the lines described in this article can help you avoid sounding clingy… but they can’t help you if you overdo it.
If he’s not particularly chatty at the moment, then read the room and give him a bit of space.
If you’ve been talking all night about the fun you once had, then give him some time to process all that.
Saying “I miss you” sparingly makes you sound heartfelt. Saying “I miss you” several times within a week… or even a day? That will send red flags flying in his head.
Watch your tone
Tone matters a lot, and that doesn’t just refer to the way you say your words, but also the general mood of the conversation at the moment.
The important thing here is that you try to match his mood where possible, and not make it any more heavy and serious than he’s willing to go.
If he gets all serious and nostalgic, then you can tell him you miss him all you want and he won’t think you’re clingy at all. That’s not the case if he clearly doesn’t want to, and yet you insist.
When in doubt, keep it casual.
Humor is king!
Watching your tone is good and all, but that doesn’t mean you simply should stop there. There’s more to conversation than avoiding things after all.
And when it comes to conversations, something that consistently keeps the mood light—even during serious, heartfelt talks—is humor.
A well-placed and well-executed moment of brevity can do a lot to dispel any notion that you’re needy or insecure.
This is because the ability to laugh at your own problems is, by large, something that’s perceived as mature or cool.
Watch your body language
It can help to pay close attention to your body language when you’re together.
It’s hard to keep it under total control, of course—it takes expert training to suppress it all—but you can at least avoid some of the more obvious giveaways.
Try to avoid being too touchy with him, for once. At least, not more than should be normal for you.
Clingy people tend to, well, cling. They might not even notice it, but they like to hold their partners as if they would fade away if they let go. You’ll want to avoid that.
Treat him like a good friend
The very last thing you want is to play hot and cold or to make it obvious to him that you’re hurt by his absence.
Sure, doing that will make him know that you’re upset with him, and he might be curious enough to ask you why.
But it will make you look immature and needy.
The key is to simply be present in his life, to treat him like you would a good friend and not act upset over the distance. This does a lot to reassure him of your maturity.
Don’t expect anything
Having expectations will naturally lead to you having a bias in a given interaction.
An ulterior motive, if you may. And not only is it more obvious than you may think, men are also more perceptive than you realize.
That’s why it’s important to kick your expectations to the curb when you interact with him if you don’t want him to get the impression that you’re clingy… or worse, manipulative.
Send him a gift or tell him “good morning!” simply because you want to, and not because you expect him to pay you back with attention and adoration.
Any response from them should, if nothing else, be seen as a bonus.
Or try to guilt-trip him, and stuff like that. These are the kinds of things that will make him think that you’re immature.
And honestly, the thing with being seen as “needy” or “clingy” really depends on how mature you look to people.
Someone who is seen as “mature” will be seen as genuine when they’re being heartfelt, but someone with an “immature” image doing the same will be seen as “clingy.”
So as much as you can, try to be mature… or, barring that, at least try to seem like it.
There are a lot of things you can do to make yourself not look “clingy” while still telling him that you miss him. And a lot of it has to do with presentation, from how you lead up to the conversation to the tone of your voice.
But you simply can’t learn to “present’ yourself properly without actually doing some effort to understand yourself. You see, it is also about managing expectations and managing the ego.
It’s not so easy, and that’s why I would strongly suggest getting help from relationship experts I mentioned in this article.
You can do it alone for sure, but you’ll get the results you want (almost immediately) with proper guidance.