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37 Ways to Stop Being Clingy & Holding On So Tight You Push Them Away

Clinginess isn’t endearing, it can be annoying and a sign of a deeper problem. Learn how to stop being clingy and notice that your relationships improve. 

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There are certain people out there who get involved with someone and just can’t help themselves. They have to be all over them and talk to them all the time. If you’re this type, learning how to stop being clingy can save your relationship.

People don’t want to be with someone who suffocates them, after all, suffocation can kill relationships. But if that’s the way you are, how do you stop yourself? How do you become a person who acts normal and appropriate in a relationship?

It’s not like you chose to be clingy. It is built inside you from your past, fears, and other things that seem subconscious or out of your control.

But, thankfully, you do have control. It just takes some time to learn how to stop being clingy. [Read: Am I clingy? Here’s how to learn the truth about yourself]

Clinginess is more common than you might think

There are some who are good at being alone and others who are not so much. If you are someone who always needs a table for two, you might find that your need for someone smothers them. If you’re wondering how to not be clingy, admittance is the first road to recovery.

There are many reasons why someone becomes clingy, but typically at the heart of any clinginess is the fear of either losing someone or of being alone.

We’re all a little scared to lose the people we love, some more than others. But the fear is always there. The only difference is clingy people tend to attach themselves more to their loved ones because of that fear.

This won’t just drive away the person you’re dating, but you’re also sabotaging your relationship. So it’s a crucial life skill to learn how to not be clingy! [Read: How to learn to give space and learn to breathe again]

Why are you clingy?

Insecurity. The worse you feel about yourself, the closer you want to hold your partner so they’ll never leave.

The thing is, the clingier you are, the more they’ll want to run away. Essentially, it has the opposite effect to what you are hoping for.

When you’re not secure in the relationship, you always feel the need to be reassured. That will manifest in you calling and texting your partner during all waking hours just to make sure they’re still into you. It’s not healthy for you, and it’s not fun for them.

Whether you’ve been left, cheated on, or talked down to in the past, requiring reassurance from your partner or even your friends is exhausting.

Being clingy isn’t just a little personality quirk. It can quickly drain all the energy and joy from a relationship. [Read: 9 effective ways to stop being so needy and insecure]

Being clingy can have nothing to do with your partner, but not trusting them, accusing them, or questioning them, can make them feel like they aren’t enough for you. No one wants to feel that way.

What really sucks about being clingy is that you feel like you aren’t enough, but you are forcing those emotions on the people in your life through that.

If you want healthy and happy relationships, it is time to learn how to stop being clingy. [Read: 37 ways to stop smothering people and suffocating them with your love]

Why is extreme clinginess bad?

People are entitled to live their independent life without being smothered by affection or attention all the time. It’s a major turn-off when you’re clingy right off the bat, even before getting to know you. This is an immediate red flag for others, and they wouldn’t want to know you if this is the case.

Even when you’re already dating someone or even in a relationship, clinginess just isn’t attractive. Learning how to be less clingy will benefit your relationship and your overall sanity in the long run. You might think what you’re doing is cute, but it’s not for the other person.

You’re suffocating them and not providing them any personal space to do whatever they want. Again, there is a different way for you to show admiration or even love that isn’t as harmful as clinginess. You need to find a balance, and only then will people start taking you seriously. [Read: 21 signs of a clingy girlfriend and how to avoid turning into one]

How to stop being clingy

If you ever want to get to a point where you’re in a healthy relationship with someone you truly care about, you have to learn how to stop being clingy and trust yourself and your partner.

But that’s easier said than done. These tips can help you kick that bad habit and remain happy with the person you care about. [Read: 18 serious warning signs of a clingy guy and how to avoid being one]

1. Work on your confidence

This is going to be the best thing for you but can also be the hardest. To stop being so clingy, you have to address the root cause, which is your insecurity. We know you might not be able to admit it, but you need help.

Start practicing self-care and reflection to figure out why you don’t feel so great about yourself. Learning to love yourself will help ease your mind when your partner isn’t around, and that’s how you’ll stop being clingy. [Read: How to gain confidence and turn your life around for the better]

2. Reassure yourself

You don’t need someone else to reassure you. You can do that yourself! How you feel about yourself should come from within, not from your partner. You don’t need their attention or compliments to know you’re worthy of them.

Remind yourself that you don’t need to know what they’re doing every second of every day. You can occupy your own time.

3. Stay busy

This is a fantastic way to avoid being clingy. When you’re busy, you won’t have time to be texting your significant other all the time. You’ll be doing your own thing, and you’ll be happy to do it.

Plus, it’ll be more rewarding when you sit down to talk about your days because there will actually be something to talk about. When you’re always in touch, there’s never time to miss each other. [Read: What it feels like to have anxiety in a relationship]

4. Determine if you have anxiety

Many people who have anxiety tend to be clingy. They don’t mean to, but it results from anxious thoughts, making them upset and worrisome. See a professional and talk about how you’re feeling and what options you have from now on.

5. Work on building trust

If you have trust issues, it’ll cause you to be way clingier than other people. Now, these might not have even developed because of your current significant other.

They could result from an ex cheating on you or doing stuff you weren’t okay with. You have to work on building trust together. Spend time apart, and you’ll see how much you can trust them. It can take a while to build this once it’s been lost but keep trying, and it’ll be worth it. [Read: How to build trust in a relationship and learn to be loyal and loving]

6. Talk to your partner

You can’t just keep your feelings bottled up. You really should talk to your significant other about it. Chances are, they know you’re really clingy, and they may have even expressed annoyance with it.

Your job is to open up and make things better together. Work together to find a happy medium so you can actually keep them in your life. Let them know why you are clingy. If you need some extra attention from them to relax, can they do that for you?

7. Maintain your own life

The more you’re doing stuff for yourself, the less you’ll be overly interested in what your significant other is doing. It just has to do with having your own life. You have your own concerns, and so you won’t worry about them.

Having a partner should be an amazing addition to your life, not envelope it fully. [Read: 17 ways to live more simply and have more satisfaction]

8. Shut down negative thoughts

We all have bad thoughts sometimes. Even people who seem the happiest can have thoughts that cause them to worry and check in with their partners.

You have to shut them down. The less time you give those thoughts to take over, the less power they have. They’ll also stop popping up the more you train your brain to think positively.

9. Remember that you both need independence

If you want to understand how to stop being clingy, you need to understand that no couple can survive being around each other 24/7. Remember that.

You need to have your independence, so you don’t get completely sick of each other or, worse, become codependent. Not having that space can make both of you feel suffocated, and that’ll kill the relationship.

10. Learn what healthy relationships look like

Research what’s needed to make a relationship last. Look at healthy relationships and even interview people who have been together for a long time.

Once you have an image of what your relationship should look like, it’ll make you feel better, and you’ll stop being so clingy. [Read: 15 signs of a healthy relationship you should always look for]

11. Commit to changing your ways

Unless your significant other is doing something severe to cause you to be clingy, you need to work on this. Yes, they can help make things easier for you because they want you to feel secure, but it’s up to you if you want to make a change.

Far too often, people seek help when it comes to clinginess, and then they don’t commit to changing and don’t make an effort. You can’t let that be you. Not if you want your relationship to last.

12. Establish boundaries

You don’t just need to communicate with your part to learn how to stop being clingy, and you need to comprehend what you want and what they want.

You need to set boundaries. Talk about your needs and theirs and find a middle ground where you both feel comfortable. [Read: How to set boundaries in a relationship]

13. Plan time apart

It can be easy to fall into a routine of always seeing your partner. Maybe you run errands together and invite them out to see your friends or family. But, taking one or two nights apart can be really healthy for someone clingy.

Go out with your friends and stay off your phone while you’re out. Enjoy time apart. This will improve your confidence as well.

14. Get off your phone

Stop checking in on them. If you stay off your phone, you’ll be less likely to call, text, or watch their Instagram stories. There is no need to be on top of them 24/7. You are not your partner’s mom, and they are not a toddler.

Put your phone down and live your life for yourself. [Read: A happy couple’s guide to social media etiquette]

15. Put your needs first

Your needs aren’t hearing from your partner every ten minutes. Your needs are what you want for dinner or what show you want to watch. Being clingy isn’t all about suffocating your partner with questions and attention. You also tend to baby them and give them too much.

Remember that you matter too. You won’t keep them if you give up your own hobbies to make them happy. You need to be happy too.

16. Rely on yourself

Try not to rely on them for everything. That isn’t healthy for your relationship or you. Learn how to rely on yourself.

This could mean learning how to change a tire or eat dinner alone. Learning how to stop being clingy means learning how to depend on yourself. [Read: 13 ways to avoid being a stage five clinger]

17. Enjoy alone time

Try to practice self-love and enjoy your time alone. Watch movies you love or read a good book. Take a bath or go for a walk by yourself. Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely. It can really help you work on yourself without the influence of others.

18. Let go of control

When you are clingy, it isn’t just being needy for attention but also controlling your partner. You want to control their habits and when they talk to you or if they talk to others. It may be due to your past, but it isn’t fair to them. You can only control yourself. [Read: How to stop being controlling in a relationship]

19. Get professional help

There could easily be more underlying reasons for your need to be clingy. We can’t always think of ourselves objectively, hiding certain issues that affect our lives in major ways.

So, see someone and talk to them about what you’re going through. They can often provide insight you never thought about before. [Read: How to not be so clingy in a relationship]

20. Practice going solo

Sometimes, we are afraid of things not because they are scary but because they aren’t familiar. Go to dinner alone, go to the movies solo, or find a hobby that just takes one. The more you do it, the more the fear will disappear. You stop worrying about being all on your own, and you might actually enjoy it!

Life is all about going out of your horizons, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel. If you genuinely want to learn how not to be clingy, practice going solo. Also, there’s a big difference between being alone and lonely.

You’ll find that taking yourself out can actually be quite fun if you give it a chance! [Read: Why do I feel so alone? The answers that can change your life]

21. Watch for subtle cues

Sometimes the root of clinginess is not having social awareness of the nonverbal cues that people send you. If you notice people back away from you either physically or emotionally, that signals you’re too clingy. We all like to be wanted and needed but not smothered. A huge difference!

Be aware of other people’s body language when trying to tell if your clinginess is getting too much. A little affection is okay, but too much of this might drive anyone away. If you feel like you are getting close and the other person seems to take a step back, back off, or you risk turning them off altogether. [Read: 12 secrets to read people and figure out what they’re thinking in no time]

22. Consciously give people space

Start to put quantifiable boundaries on your contact with people. Don’t just think, “I am going to leave them alone for a bit.”

Make a conscious effort to put some time constraints on it. Instead of giving them a little space, define for yourself in measurable ways how many days you’ll give them you-free.

How many times you are going to text so you don’t go overboard, or how many times will you ask them to do something. Look, space isn’t a bad thing, and you can’t take it personally here.

No matter how much people love you, they’re entitled to their own personal space and that has nothing to do with you. So give people a little breathing room if you want to learn how to not be clingy. [Read: 15 reasons why people may dislike you]

23. Only cling to people who cling back

The hardest part of being a clinger is that you are in need of people who aren’t in need of you. You spend a whole lot more time and energy on people who aren’t that into you. This is why clingy people often end up in the wrong relationships or even toxic ones.

You cling to people who aren’t willing to give you a portion of the effort you’re providing. If you want to not be so clingy, then find someone who is as into you as you are into them, instead of chasing others who might not be.

You can only be clingy if the person you are clinging to isn’t clinging in return. Find those people who want to be around you as much as you do them. [Read: Am I clingy? How to know the honest truth about yourself]

24. The power of one

When you feel the world fall down and the need to cling to someone, have the special “one.” You can have a thousand acquaintances and still be lonely, but if you have one true friend, you won’t ever be alone. If you feel the need to cling, turn to the one person in your life who you depend on, and they do the same.

They’ll understand you better and might even accept your clinginess wholeheartedly. Find that one friend or person who doesn’t mind your quirks and flaws, even your clinginess.

If you have one person that you know will always have your back, you won’t need to cling to others to feel fulfilled. [Read: 15 signs you have shitty friends and need to get some new ones]

25. Do some careful thinking about your clinginess

There are usually reasons why people cling, whether it was because you weren’t as popular as a kid as you wanted to be and lost friends, or because you lost someone you loved unexpectedly. There are typically paths that lead people down the “cling” path.

If you figure out what the source of your fear and need is, then you can squash it by reasoning through it and learning how to not be clingy. The key to self-improvement is being self-aware, and you can’t achieve that if you can’t find the roots of your clinginess.

So in order to learn how to not be clingy, you need to find the source first.

Are you afraid of being abandoned? Was it because of a bad childhood? Did a trauma trigger it? Asking yourself these questions will help figure out the cause. [Read: Feeling alone? The answers that can change your life]

26. Prioritize yourself

Clinginess is often a sign that you’re neglecting yourself. There’s something that you’re failing to give to yourself, and that’s precisely how clinginess becomes an issue. So if you want to counter your clinginess, it will take a lot of redirection to yourself and giving yourself the love you deserve.

This might sound cliche, but self-love is necessary to stop being clingy. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll constantly be attaching yourself to others, hoping to find someone to fill the void in your heart.

However, it doesn’t work that way, and you’ll keep repeating the same cycle to every person you meet. Instead of being clingy, pour all the love you have in your heart into yourself instead. It makes all the difference. [Read: 20 non-clingy ways to stop being a possessive friend and give them space]

27. Learn to manage your anxiety, not only recognize it

Some people end up being clingy because of their anxiety. So if you want to stop being clingy, you need to manage your anxiety better. Also, it helps to find the root cause of your anxiety.

For instance, if you tend to be anxious whenever you’re burned out from work or when you’re triggered, it’s these instances you should be more self-aware about your clingy nature.

By knowing how to manage your anxiety, you’re also preventing yourself from being excessively clingy to the point that it sabotages yourself and your relationship with others. [Read: Signs of anxiety – How to read the signs ASAP & handle them better]

28. It’s you

“It’s not you, it’s me” is a line we’ve all heard before. We know you want me to tell you it’s because they act like this. The thing is, this clingy behavior is because of you, not them. Sure, they may act distant, but you react in this way. Their distance is a reflection of you robbing them of their personal space.

So you really can’t blame them, can you? Instead of communicating with them or looking within, you grab onto them because you’re scared of losing them. You can’t be clingy because of this reason, no matter how valid it might be.

It’s normal to fear losing someone, but acting clingy because of this fear will sabotage your relationship or any potential you might have with them. [Read: 9 effective ways to stop being needy and insecure]

29. Admit and acknowledge that you’re clingy

Maybe someone told you that you’re clingy, so that’s why you’re reading this. But, if you don’t actually think you’re clingy, none of this will help you in learning how to be less clingy.

Before you make any changes, fully accept you exhibit clingy behavior. This is the only way to make permanent changes.

The road to any self-improvement is to admit you’re clingy. Only then will you be able to move forward and gradually change your behavior. If you don’t accept your flaws, you won’t become better. [Read: 21 signs of a clingy girlfriend & how to avoid turning into one]

30. Know that space is a good thing

People get caught up in the idea that they need to be with someone 24/7 in order to show them that they care for them. This isn’t how it works. Too much closeness puts a strain on the relationship. Just because your partner doesn’t want to be with you 24/7, it doesn’t reflect their love for you.

We know how easy it is to take this personally, but it’s not about you. You know what they say, right? Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and it’s true!

They may push you away because they feel trapped when you’re being too clingy. Give them space, it makes the relationship stronger. [Read: The subtle yet obvious hints guys give when they want more space in the relationship]

31. Clinginess is also physical

We use nonverbal communication as a way to communicate with our partners as well. We hold hands, kiss, hug, lean into them. These are all ways to show affection which is good, you need that.

However, it sometimes goes overboard and makes the person feel they literally can’t get out of your grasp.

That’s not how they should feel. So, respect their personal boundaries. Too much of this is no longer affection but your clinginess taking place. So learn the difference and respect also their personal space. If you care about them, you should respect their boundaries.

32. It’s too much of them

Clinginess is from being around too much of one thing. In this case, it’s your partner. If they’re the only person you hang out with, this is a good sign it’s time to expand your social circle.

Spend time with your friends, go outside, meet new people, and hang out with your family! Your partner can’t be your only social life, you know?

Balance is everything in a relationship. Of course, still, spend time with them. But also make sure you see other people at least once or twice a week. It reduces your clingy behavior. Trust us, this piece of advice greatly helps when learning how to be less clingy. [Read: 50 crazy and impulsive things to do with friends you won’t ever forget]

33. Don’t think “what if”

These thoughts don’t make things better for you mentally. Take control of your fears and focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. Your overthinking thoughts will never get you anywhere if you want to learn how to be less clingy.

These thoughts are coming from a place of insecurities and fear, so don’t dwell on them. The more you focus on these thoughts, the more likely you are to sabotage your own relationship. [Read: How to stop overthinking: secrets to go from overthinker to relaxer]

34. Heal from your baggage

If you really want to learn how to be less clingy, it’s essential to heal from any significant baggage you might have.

We all have baggage, but that doesn’t mean you won’t try to recover from them. Especially if you suffer from trust or abandonment issues, it could be why you’re suffocating your partner with clinginess.

In order to change this behavior, you need to heal from your past and focus on the present instead. Let the past go because no matter what, you can never change what has already happened. [Read: How to not be clingy: 12 rules of clinginess to find your space]

35. Go outside and have adventures

This is your chance to go outside, get some fresh air, and have adventures with your friends. If you want to lessen your clinginess, have a change of environment.

Go on that beach trip, go on a road trip with your family, travel! We assure you, this is going to help you stop suffocating your partner with your excessive presence. Also, you’ll have fun in the process! [Read: Best friend bucket list: 20 exciting adventures for you and your BFF]

36. Be self-reliant *but not excessively*

Being self-reliant and independent is the only way you can learn how to be less clingy. Of course, don’t do it too excessively to the point your partner never feels your love or feels needed.

Be independent in a way that you’re capable of being your own person, but you can also show them affection when it counts. Basically, find the balance between independence and clinginess. [Read: 18 ways to have high self-esteem and start winning at life]

37. Turn your phone off and have a technological detox

We live in the modern dating era where it’s now so easy to flood someone with calls and texts. If this is you, it can be helpful to put down your phone for a while. You could even use the opportunity to have a social media detox.

Especially if your separation anxiety is triggered when they don’t respond to your texts for an extended period or they read your texts without responding, put down your phone and gain a little perspective. Your partner could be busy, and they can’t always reply to your messages 24/7. Give them a little breathing room.

So, how to be less clingy?

The first step to being less clingy is accepting that you’re clingy. You need to realize that holding on to a person more and attaching yourself to them won’t make the tendency of losing them less. The potential of losing them will still be there. You need to accept that there are situations you just can’t control.

[Read: How to stop being so needy – 32 reasons why people become this way and the best ways to fix it]

If you ever want to be in a happy and healthy relationship, you need to learn how to stop being clingy and know your worth. Your life and relationships will only get way better from there!

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...