Sometimes we go through phases/stages/moods of clinginess and possessiveness. Sometimes our partners go through those moods as well. It can be difficult to deal with a partner who is acting clingy and possessive. You feel suffocated. Your personal boundaries feel disregarded. You feel emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. You really do love and care for your partner, but sometimes you really can’t stand anymore of their clingy behavior. It drives you crazy, it makes you mad, and it makes you not want to be around them.
If you feel like your partner is being too clingy and possessive, you can communicate effectively with your partner so long as they are willing to work with you and progress with you in the relationship.
Telling Them the Truth:
If your partner’s clingy and possessive behavior is enough to drive you to Google the issue and read this article, I’m going to assume that your partner has been acting this way for a while. Not just for a day or two, not just during an obviously emotionally vulnerable time for them, and not just surrounding a single event that could or has elicited feelings of jealousy or insecurity. You’re probably reading this because your partner has been acting clingy for a while and to such a degree that you need it to stop because you’re not happy.
The first thing you must do is to tell them that you feel they are being too clingy and possessive. Tell it to them gently and lovingly and ask that they refrain from interrupting you during your explanation and that you will do the same during their reply. Get an idea of what you want to say before telling them so that you don’t end up working yourself into an angry rant that will probably cause them to react instead of respond. Be tactful, if you feel that it is best. During these sensitive conversations, bluntness is usually not the best approach, but neither is sugar coating. Be honest but avoid an accusatory tone.
Your partner’s response falls into 3 primary categories: acceptance, shame, or anger. Your partner can accept your concerns and reflect upon them with you. Your partner can feel ashamed of their behavior and enter a state of low self esteem. Or your partner can totally disagree with you and accuse you of being uncaring/untrustworthy/un-affectionate/uncommitted/basically a whole list of accusatory slurs. Your partner’s response can fall into more than one category in varying degrees. Gauge how much you want to work on it with them. Always remember, your responsibility in a relationship is not their self growth but your own. Will you grow as a person if you work together through this issue or will you stagnate your growth by staying in an unhappy relationship that drains you? This question is more often than not subtle and requires thoughtful deliberation. Sometime you can just trust your intuition and commit to that path. It all depends on you. Don’t worry too much about it- you’ll learn more about yourself either way.
If you choose to stay with your partner and are willing to work through the clingy and possessive behavior, you must prepare yourself to accept your partner completely. In order to understand why they are acting possessive and clingy, they must bring up personal issues that you might not have been aware of. Your responses/reactions to those issues can also bring up deeply suppressed inner conflicts that you were not aware you held. This is wholeheartedly a learning and exploration experience, so don’t worry.
To really get down to the nitty gritty, ask your partner to tell you what they truly expect of you in a relationship. Tell them about your expectations. Explore the dissonance between your expectations. Explore the reasons why those expectations are being held. Question their validity and their effectiveness as well as their consequences in being or not being fulfilled. Explore it all, let the emotional turmoil and pull guide you. It is okay to be angry and feel frustrated and disappointed- you both are bringing up and exploring deep personal issues that are causing incongruities between your values and your actual reality. One of the ultimate goals in life is to be able to know and embody your values with such conviction and purity that they seamlessly manifest as your actual reality. Take this experience, as well as any small life experience, as a practice in attaining that level of harmony between your inner and external world.
Should You Compromise?
Compromise is such a funny concept sometimes. For some, it can mean that you give a little and get a little. More often that not, this can equate to necessary suffering for the sake of complacency. Sometimes compromise can mean putting in some effort to do something you are truly willing to do in order to reach a state/level unattainable without that extra care. Make the distinction between what kind of compromises you and your partner are willing to make for the relationship. Ultimately, ask yourself why you are in the relationship. Regardless of the state of the relationship, evaluating the relationship in terms of your interactions with your partner and your life experience is always effective in helping you figure out what you do want to experience and what you need to do/resolve/pursue to experience it.
Take Total Responsibility
Remember, you are (hopefully) in this relationship because you choose to be. If you are being forced to stay in this relationship because your partner threatens/abuses you, please find help. Talk to local authority and be smart about your escape. I hope you find your way out safely and I hope you never again find yourself in such a situation.
If you are in the relationship because you choose to be, take full responsibility for your feelings. Are you feeling emotionally drained because your partner insists upon talking to you on the phone 10 times a day? Annoyed because they attempt to follow you or make themselves a part of all of your plans? Frustrated because they try to impede upon your individuality and personal space?
Why don’t you look at it differently? You are allowing them to treat you this way, and you are allowing yourself to feel angry/frustrated/annoyed. You don’t have to stay with them. You don’t have to be in a relationship. You are responsible for your own emotions and growth, and they are responsible for theirs. Don’t play martyr. Don’t be a codependent. Unless you want to experience that. But would experiencing that for prolonged periods of time actually contribute to your happiness and self growth?
Would such an imbalanced and externally dependent approach to life really make you feel happy and content?
What if they’re just feeling emotionally vulnerable?
What if you find out your partner has been going through emotionally rough situations that have caused them to seek more love and care from you? Support them, help them, and help them stand on their own. Love and care for them. Be understanding. Always be understanding. Do what you can but don’t try to do everything. Do what your heart, brain, and gut tell you to.
What If They’re Just Feeling Emotionally Vulnerable, Afterall?
What if you find out your partner has been going through emotionally rough situations that have caused them to seek more love and care from you? Support them, help them, and help them stand on their own. Love and care for them. Be understanding. Always be understanding to the best of your ability. Do what you can but don’t try to do everything. Do what your heart, brain, and gut tell you to.
This article was about dealing with a clingy, possessive partner, but I hope you get that the point I’m trying to make is that you are responsible. You make your choices. Don’t blame your partner for your unhappiness.