Love + Sex
Is Your Man Too Clingy?
Find out how to loosen the noose
Is your guy stuck on you – in a bad way? Does your boyfriend tag along on weekends to lunch, the dry cleaner’s and your waxing appointment? Is your husband glued to your side at every social function – and bathroom function?
You’re not sure how it happened, but somehow you got tangled up in relationship Cling Wrap. You may feel guilty about it – who would dare complain about too much attention and companionship? But there’s a fine line between intimacy and suffocation.
Take a few deep breaths and use this chart to unpeel yourself from your partner.
Determine the cause of the cling. Is your man lonesome, bored, immature or jealous? Or all of the above – like most men?
1. For Lonesome Lovers
If he’s Velcro’ing himself to you because he genuinely misses your sweet presence, count your blessings. Then count the time until you can take a well-deserved break.
First, give him an hour of undivided TLC. It may seem counterintuitive to counteract cling with even more attention. But remember – it’s quality, not quantity. Pick a one-on-one activity you can do together with no distractions. (Yes, you must turn off your iPhone.) Walks are good, and so is reading aloud or cooking a meal together. (No, don’t check your e-mail, even if it’s just for five seconds.) Focus on each other’s eyes, smiles and stories. That text message will still be there in an hour.
Then gently say goodbye. Tell him you’ll need to be on your own for the rest of the day (or month, as the case may be), but you’ll look forward to seeing him soon. Remind him that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and then prove your point with an enthusiastic hello on your return.
2. For Bored Boyfriends
First, kindly point out that when you first met, you were intrigued by his interesting life full of activities and friends. Since you haven’t changed your job title to social director, remind him that you both need to develop separate interests in order to be a dynamic couple – and to have something to talk about at dinner.
Bring home some class brochures for him or suggest that he and a buddy take a fishing trip. And then set a good example by enrolling in a salsa class or planning a wine-tasting tour – no boys allowed.
3. For Immature Intimates
If your man is acting like a 5-year-old, treat him like one. Successful parenting of needy children requires an either-or approach. It’s never “Would you like to put your sweater on?” but always “Would you rather put your sweater on or take a nap while I sell all your toys on eBay?”
Apply the same approach to your grown-up mama’s boy. “Would you rather get out of the house for a few hours or stay with me and clean the gutters?”
Trust me, he’ll make the adult choice and leave you with some well-deserved solitude.
4. For Green-with-Envy Guys
Unless you’ve given your guy a reason to be jealous, he has absolutely no right to pull that manipulative relationship card. Sure, it’s cute if he’s an itsy-bitsy bit jealous of your cute coworker, but if he’s headed toward the stalker side of life, it’s time to have a serious talk about boundaries and control issues — with a professional.