What to do when your girlfriend is clingy and you need space

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Many of us dream of having a warm, doting, and caring girlfriend — someone who brings color and excitement to our lives, making even the most ordinary activities, like cooking or grocery shopping, more fun and comforting.

You’re partners who share hardships and celebrate milestones together.

But we also need to grow as individuals.

We need some space to think, bond, and nurture a healthy relationship with ourselves.

Our doting girlfriends may sometimes keep us from this, with us establishing boundaries sparking misunderstandings.

As someone who becomes too overwhelmed with social interactions and needs time alone to recharge, I also used to have these problems with my clingy girlfriend.

Let me share how we fixed it.

1) Assess Yourself

It takes both of you for your relationship with your girlfriend to work and become healthy.

Assess yourself first and process your feelings to understand your point of view and establish what you want.

Dig deeper into why you want some space — do you just want some alone time to do things you love, or do you feel overwhelmed that you suddenly have a partner to consider?

Are you ready to enter a relationship, or is she all over you more than you can handle?

You might also want to pause and consider if you’ve done anything to make her clingy.

Before entering a relationship, one of my hesitations was if I could handle the constant communication and the need to check up on my significant other and consider how she felt.

I used to doubt that maybe she wasn’t really too clingy — maybe I just wasn’t ready for this, and I got too used to being alone all the time.

Or if you’re the opposite, maybe you’re used to having fun and hanging out with your friends.

The change can be difficult, but you don’t need to decide what you feel from the get-go. You just have to acknowledge and work on it. I often doubted and thought I wasn’t ready for a relationship.

But I figured that if that were so, I would still be willing to address the situation.

Assessing myself allowed me to have an idea of fixing this with my girlfriend at our own pace.

2) Empathize with Her

Try to empathize with your girlfriend, too.

Most of the couples who run into arguments from needing space comes from failing to understand each other.

They tend to impose what each wants, which may resort to the black hole of blaming and hurting each other.

This can be hard for us because we tend to get stuck on how we feel, and it’s a process.

Whenever this happens to me, I remind myself that I don’t have to attack or drive her away – I only want us to take it slow and address our feelings as a team.

You’d then become more objective in approaching the situation by understanding why she’s too clingy.

Does she feel left out, lonely, or taken for granted?

Maybe I’ve done something that caused her to act that way? Or maybe she’s dealing with childhood trauma?

3) Communicate Honestly and Kindly

The key to a healthy relationship is communication.

Now that you have a certain level of understanding and come from a place of empathy towards your girlfriend, you’re more objective in discussing what you feel and approaching the situation.

Lay everything out on the table and build a healthy environment for your girlfriend to confide in what she feels.

Say everything kindly and reassure her that you love her — some people tend to misunderstand that needing space already means you don’t love them anymore and enjoy spending time with them.

It wasn’t easy when I talked to my girlfriend about this. I told her everything — that I find her too clingy and it’s negatively affecting me.

I told her that she texts me often when we’re not together.

And when I didn’t reply as often as she wanted, she would lash out at me.

She always pulled a guilt-tripping spree whenever I was out hanging out with friends (which wasn’t that often, in my opinion).

She didn’t take it as I hoped she would at first.

Of course, it’s easy for her to think I didn’t appreciate her efforts or love her enough.

But I just had to reassure her that I love spending time with her, and I wasn’t saying those criticisms to attack her.

I told her I loved her and I didn’t want to break up with her — I just wanted some breathing time to focus on work and leisure from time to time.

On her part, she felt I was being too distant and cold and left her out on essential aspects of my life, which were a big deal for her.

She’s also carried over trauma from her past relationships with ours. We both apologized for our actions and decided to work on being transparent while establishing healthy boundaries.

Telling your girlfriend, she’s too clingy and you need space often ends up in a heated argument because both of you fail to understand each other.

Healthy communication allows you and your girlfriend to bridge the gap and work together to allow the relationship and each other to grow.

4) Establish Boundaries and Compromise

Your discussion with your girlfriend being too clingy and your needing space must not just end with apologizing to each other and acknowledging each other’s strengths and weaknesses, although it’s a good start.

But you should also agree with what you should do to avoid the same problem.

You should establish healthy boundaries and let your girlfriend know how clingy she is clingy.

On your part, you should also learn how to compromise — include her more in your life and work hard on her concerns about you.

As for my girlfriend and I, we tried to meet halfway — she said she’d try to stop rattling me with her texts, especially during work, and I agreed to text her still during break time and give her a heads up every time I get busy.

We also agreed to make Saturday our special day.

We go on spontaneous dates, but we just decided to make this dedicated for quality time together.

I’ll also work on reassuring her more so she’d become more secure about us.

5) Reassure and Tell Her About Your Day

I’ve mentioned that one of the things I’d work on is giving her more assurance.

Our partners tend to be clingy in a not-so-cute way because they don’t feel secure about you and the relationship.

My girlfriend is the same way.

She also felt anxious about me leaving her or cheating when she wasn’t around because of her past relationships.

Because of this, I know she needs more reassurance to keep her grounded in reality that you’re just doing your thing and she has nothing to worry about.

This also includes reminding her of your love for her with simple but meaningful gestures.

I also started telling her about my day – this keeps her more included in your life and allows her to feel that she’s with you even when you’re physically away.

I also noticed that I got fewer rattling messages when I started doing these.

This is because she felt reassured enough to trust me and found enough peace to become busy by doing her stuff alone.

Even when I went out with friends, I still tried to message her about small things, like what food we were having or some news my friend told us.

When it’s time to return to the party, I’d tell her to hold on because we’d do this or that. I also take her with me whenever I can.

6) Support and Help Each Other Grow

This advice can be way too broad, but for me, it’s important to remind yourself to support and be there for each other.

My girlfriend told me she’s insecure about the relationship and has traumas to deal with, the same as I do.

Her being too clingy is a response to all those bad experiences.

This entails a lot of discussion and arguments, but you must remember what matters most: your relationship.

Of course, you must first decide if the relationship is worth saving or not, but once you’ve made up your mind, that’s when the work begins.

We became more supportive of each other, healing from each other’s pain.

This involves finding things you’re passionate about and becoming independent.

We also have our therapists. We also considered having a couple’s counseling soon.

Understanding Clinginess, and How To Respond To It

It’s nice to have an adoring and caring girlfriend, but we also need some space.

It often becomes difficult to communicate with them for fear of becoming misunderstood.

In some cases, it’s already become the topic of recurring arguments that eventually lead to resentment, estrangement, and breaking up.

It might be easier said than done, and it definitely can’t be resolved overnight, but that’s how relationships work and flourish — with struggles.

All it takes is healthy communication, acknowledging each others’ feelings, and working hard together to resolve the problem.