You’re Too Clingy. Here’s How to Let Go.

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You dislike your girlfriend’s friends because they steal her from you. You resent your girlfriend for going to work, and often show up at her lunch break because you can’t stand being apart for more than two hours. You dread any time that she has to leave you to visit her family. Any Saturday night that isn’t spent with your girlfriend is a night wasted.

If any of those scenarios sound familiar, you might be squeezing the air out of your relationship. You need to let go.

Dig deep.

Sometimes clinginess is rooted in relationship problems. Maybe you and your girlfriend have been fighting a lot lately, or maybe she’s been acting distant, or maybe you’ve lost the ability to communicate with each other – so in order to retain some sort of control, you hold her tighter.

Instead of being clingy, think about what the root problem might be, and directly address it.

Find friends.

It’s easy to be clingy when moving to a new city or college. You don’t know anyone, so your girlfriend is your rock. It’s easier to watch Netflix with her than navigate social situations with strangers, but your girlfriend can’t be there for you all of the time. She has friends of her own, and you should too.

Go to meet ups. Join clubs. Grab drinks with co-workers. Make friends on the Internet if you have to.

Check your passive-aggressiveness.

Being clingy doesn’t necessarily mean hanging out with your partner all the time. In fact, your form of clinginess might be avoiding your partner; whenever you feel like she isn’t spending enough time with you, you become distant, withhold affection, hold grudges, and pick fights.

This behavior is destructive. If you truly feel like your girlfriend isn’t spending enough time with you, then talk to her and figure out a way that your interests can merge with hers.

Find out what you care about.

Your girlfriend is the center of your world. But she shouldn’t be. She should be important to you, but you can’t revolve your life around her, so direct your passions toward something more sustainable. If you’re interested in child poverty, volunteer. If you’ve always wanted to code, make a CodeAcademy account. If you want to make more art, buy a notebook.

Treat your mental health problems.

Clinginess may be rooted in mental health problems. For example, depression may cause you to lose interest in everything except your girlfriend, so you’ll cling to her just to stay sane. Maybe you hold her so tightly because you’re anxious that something bad will happen if you look away. If you have Borderline Personality Disorder, you may naturally gravitate toward unhealthy relationships and behaviors.

Begin with self-care. If possible, visit a therapist, or at least a trusted friend, to talk through your thoughts.

The road to emotional independence is slippery, and it’s hard to know when your affections are overbearing. But learning to let go is the start to a happy and healthy relationship.

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