How to Stop Being Needy in a Relationship

Self-control is key.


Unsplash | Michela Buttignol

Have you ever been told that you're too needy? Has your current or a past partner ever accused you of being clingy or dependent? While your intentions may be entirely good, being too needy in a relationship is anything but that.

What Is Being Needy?

If you describe someone as needy, it means that they become very attached to people and depend on them too much.

You may enjoy spending time with your partner, but it’s imperative to have some boundaries in place. These five essential steps can help you go from needy to self-sufficient with just a bit of self-awareness.

1. Put Down the Phone

If you tend to be the needy type, you may be used to constantly contacting your partner throughout the day. Whether via text, talking on the phone, or sending pictures, articles, and emails, your days may currently consist of endless back and forth. However, while you may simply miss your partner and enjoy being in close contact with them at all times, this can come off as clingy and needy. Rather than giving your partner space to be able to concentrate on other matters, take on the day, and have some downtime, you may be bombarding, distracting, or annoying them. If you find yourself doing this to distract yourself or procrastinate from doing tasks you don't particularly favor, consider switching it up and texting a friend instead or finding a different outlet for your focus like going for a walk or meditating.

When you feel the urge to frequently contact your partner, it’s important to put down the phone. Put it in a box or give it to a friend. Instead, use that time to focus on yourself rather than reaching out.

2. Pursue Your Own Passions

Being needy in a relationship can often stem from a person’s lack of other interests and hobbies. Strive to have your own life away from your partner and make your personal passions and pursuits a priority. Having activities and pastimes that are important to you can help you to find your own path that’s separate from your partner and create a more whole and fulfilling life for yourself.

By taking a spin class, signing up for piano lessons, or joining a book club, you’re helping yourself to become less needy by having your own life. You don't need to spend every moment with your partner, so be sure to find your own areas of interest, as this will make you more independent, interesting, and engaging. It will open you up to making friendships with people who enjoy the same things, and build a community for yourself that doesn't rely on one singular connection—a support system you could rely on if things get rocky in your romantic relationship. Plus, you won't find yourself feeling so lost when your partner is absent or doing their own things.

3. Give Your Partner Space

You may not like your partner doing things without you. Whether it’s having dinner with friends, going out to a bar, or seeing a movie, needy people in relationships have a hard time with the fact that their partner has a life away from them. However, it’s vitally important to the health and success of your relationship that your partner is able to do and enjoy things without you, as it’s the unique facets of your personality that make you a better team. Since you’re a couple and not a clone of your partner, you should support your S.O's endeavors and desire to go golfing with friends or have a girls' night. This way you’re showing your partner that you care about their needs, that you’re secure in the relationship, and that you place a priority on their happiness—even if it doesn't always include you. 

4. Stop Being Jealous 

It’s not uncommon for people to behave in a clingy and needy way because they’re jealous or worried about their partner’s loyalty or possible infidelity. For example, you may insist on texting your partner throughout the day because you’re worried about his or her relationship with a cute coworker. Or you may want to hang out with your partner 24/7 because you don't trust their behavior in your absence.

However, being envious and mistrusting is only going to push the two of you further apart. Since relationships are based on mutual trust, your clingy nature is actually showing your partner that you don’t believe or have faith in him or her or in the strength of your connection. On the other hand, if you choose to trust your partner and work through these jealous feelings and emotions, you'll be far less needy, more relaxed mentally, and your relationship is far more likely to succeed.

5. Build Your Self-Esteem

While it may seem challenging at first, it’s time to recognize that you're able to accomplish things on your own without anyone by your side. In many cases, being needy stems from a misconception that you need others around at all times for help and support. However, you’ll soon recognize that you’re able to have achievements on your own, and that it’s okay to spend time alone and do things without relying on others. Learn to become your own best friend, lover, and support system, and you'll feel much more fortified and self-assured in any situation, regardless of who else is there.

You may even grow to enjoy these moments by yourself and complete tasks and projects on your own or simply relish the freedom of solitude and the opportunities for introspection, creativity, and tranquility that it can bring. If you work toward improving your confidence, self-esteem, and ability to be more self-sufficient, you’ll realize you can flourish and succeed whether in a partnership or on your own.

Related Stories