Sometimes in life, you will have the misfortune of meeting a needy man – one who has no idea what space is. Wherever you go, there they are, your favorite drink in tow. It’s like they are a lonely, wet puppy – completely unable to function without you. To be fair, it’s kinda cute in the beginning. But, when they refuse to leave your side and don’t let you function alone, it will get old fast.
We agree that clingy guys are a turn-off. But how are you going to draw a line between emotionally available and clinginess? We are here today to help you spot the typical needy boyfriend signs. And to discuss the same, we spoke to Sampreeti Das (Master in Clinical Psychology and Ph.D. Researcher), who specializes in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Holistic and Transformational Psychotherapy.
What causes a man to be needy?
The traditional gender role dictates men are likely to have a butch personality and should keep their innate emotions to themselves and build a tough exterior. The fact that your man is so secure with his masculinity that he can be expressive about his emotional needs is truly a good sign. When a man chooses to be vulnerable with a woman or a man, and breaks out of his shell, he must be really comfortable around them.
But nothing in excess is well-accepted by anyone. It was okay when he stayed on the phone till 3 every night to talk to you right after you started dating. But you are supposed to go back to normalcy as the relationship ages and staying awake all night might not be an option when you have an early morning meeting the next day. And that’s when signs of a desperate man in a relationship become all the more prominent.
The constant neediness of clingy guys can make you lose interest in them slowly. If you are facing the obvious problems with dating a needy man, maybe you should look into the reasons behind his behavior before completely discarding the idea of having a future with him. So, what causes a man to be needy for affection? For most clingy guys, it’s the crippling fear of abandonment that makes them hold on to their partner so tight that it might suffocate the other person.
If his needs as a child were not met by the primary caregivers or he had to go through the trauma of his parents’ separation, it’s quite natural for such fears to jeopardize all his future relationships. Being insecure about financial status, looks, or poor people skills might also contribute to the typical characteristics of a needy man. We have listed out several reasons behind a man being needy for affection:
- Rational/irrational jealousy of your other male friends, acquaintances, and colleagues
- Not having a life or social circle of his own which makes his world revolve around you
- Codependency or other kinds of insecure attachment styles
- He thinks you are keeping him at a distance
- Fear of being left alone
- Trauma from childhood or previous relationships
- Perhaps it’s a temporary emotional crisis and he needs a little more support than usual to deal with it
What Are The Signs Of A Needy Man?
The signs of a desperate man in a relationship may be hard to spot in the beginning. Maybe he keeps turning up at your workplace so you can have lunch together, making your coworkers go giddy at the adorableness of it all. But by the 275th time he does it, you start to wonder if he has any life outside of your relationship at all.
How is he always around? Where are his friends? When does he work? Dear god, are you dating a needy man because he for sure shows all the signs of a desperate man in a relationship? Well, it’s time to find out. Here are 8 sure-fire warning signs of a needy man that you should look out for:
1. He always wants to spend time with you
When you are in love, you want to spend time with each other. We get that. The first few months of a relationship are all about trying to spend every waking moment with each other. You will skip classes, go late to work, and sneak out of your home just to spend a few more hours with them. But there’s still a limit to it.
Even if you miss them every time you breathe, you probably won’t abandon work, studies, and social life completely so you can sleep, eat, brush, and poop with them. If he wants to spend time with you all day, every day, even at the cost of his work and social life, I think you’ve got an emotionally needy boyfriend in your hands. When cute turns to clingy and obsessive, that’s when we have a problem.
Sampreeti says, “The question is not about just wanting to spend time with the partner, rather, it is about the reason behind why such need is being imposed at the cost of essential activities. Often such needs of clingy guys spring emotional manipulation like, “If you do not spend time with me, it means you don’t love me anymore”. So, the need to spend time is more of a validation tool instead of a behavioral trait motivated by love.”
Related Reading: How To Deal With A Clingy Boyfriend?
2. He keeps calling or texting you
A clingy guy always wants to be right beside you. When he can’t physically be by your side, he literally blows up your phone with calls, texts, and memes. And we aren’t talking about the odd cute cat video and a funny meme now and then while you’re at work. If he calls almost every other hour and sends 25 “I miss you” texts in the span of a workday, you’ve got a needy man in your hands.
Sampreeti points out, “Some partners do enjoy and want an omnipresence of each other. Judging this behavior as right or wrong would need both the partners’ opinions. However, if one partner differs in their idea of personal and couple space and the other partner is not handling that fact well, it may signal differences in ideologies.”
3. He seems to have stopped hanging out with anyone other than you
This one’s a classic. He waits for you right outside your office. He spends lunchtime with you. His weekends are yours. He is curled up on the couch beside you on weekdays. His phone never rings, never lights up with texts. You wonder where all his friends are. Do they never want to hang out or get a drink after work? How is he always available and ready to hang out with you?
If his entire social circle and life seem to be comprised of you and only you, it’s because he has abandoned everyone so he can hang out with just you. And if that’s not the sign of a needy man, we don’t know what is. Or perhaps his social life kind of lives and dies with you because he genuinely is a lonely bird leading him to display characteristics of a needy man.
4. He wants to do everything with you
He wants to watch the newest superhero movie with you. He wants to take you to baseball matches. He will go shopping with you. He will wait to watch a show on Netflix just so you can see it together. All very cute, yes. But not when he literally puts his life and interests on hold so that you can participate together. Clingy guys don’t like doing anything alone or with anyone else. It always, always has to be you. Basically, it all goes from cute to creepy super quickly.
Related Reading: Here’s How Being Clingy In A Relationship Can Sabotage It
5. He gets upset when you don’t abandon friends and work to spend time with him
Problems with dating a needy man become more glaring when he expects the same kind of dysfunctional emotional investment from you. Someone with the needy man syndrome won’t want to spend time with anyone but you. And he doesn’t want you to spend time with anyone else either. A desperate man will literally have fits of jealousy if you go out for drinks with friends without him.
He will claim that he feels ignored by the one he loves. He has abandoned everyone for you. He doesn’t understand why you can’t do the same for him. “Cutting off established healthy social resources is a red alert of an unhealthy relationship. If a partner feels forced to do so, it is time to reflect on one’s role and position in the relationship,” says Sampreeti.
6. His routine is centered around yours
He has changed his entire routine to suit yours. Maybe his office doesn’t start till 11 a.m. but he refuses to sleep in so he can spend a few hours with you in the morning. He schedules his dentist appointment the same day as yours. He starts going to the same shops, same malls, same doctors. His days off always have to match yours. He is right beside you the moment you step out of the office. I could go on but I think you get the drift.
“Additionally,” says Sampreeti, “It will be helpful to know why this routine is so important for your partner. We all grow up with an idea of what a relationship is. Similarly, our partner will also have such a concept. The issue is that their concept may not match with ours. It is important to understand their relationship model and love language. Alterations can start from there.”
7. He won’t stop complimenting you
We all like getting complimented by people we love and like. Them calling us pretty or liking the new haircut we got can make our day. But the needy man takes it up several notches. He just can’t stop complimenting you. Your hair, your ears, your nose ring, your choice of coffee, how you stack your files, your sleeping posture – everything, to him, is compliment-worthy.
And that’s exactly what makes you think, “Clingy guys are a turn-off.” Appreciation from your partner may give your ego a massive boost. But after a certain point, it’s important to recognize this as one of the characteristics of a needy man and you should refuse to condone such obsessive behavior.
8. He gets upset if you don’t let him tag along everywhere
Sure, you like going to places with him. And you don’t mind when he hangs out with your friends with you. But somehow, he is at your side even when you have a girls’ night out. He is with you when you go to your best friend’s bachelorette, her baby shower, or when you’re having dinner with your parents.
The thought of giving you space turns him anxious. He tries to take the same classes as you. He would follow you to the office if he could. If he can’t tag along, he tries to convince you to not go at all. At this point, it’s like he is physically glued to your side. Of all the needy boyfriend signs, put a pin on this one because no one is worth losing your personal space.
5 Things To Do If You Are Dating A Needy Man
Wondering how to deal with a needy man? Breaking up with a needy man is not the only solution. Not always, anyway. Sometimes, you can take action to ensure that the problems are nipped in the bud. So, just in case you feel that he is being too clingy, here are some things you can do about it:
Related Reading: How To Deal With A Partner Who Makes You Feel Insecure
Nothing beats healthy communication. When there is a lack of communication in the relationship, maybe he won’t even realize what he is doing. Speaking up and telling your boo that you are starting to feel uncomfortable with the sheer lack of space is important. Remember not to be hurtful but be clear about your worries and wants. Clear communication can often work wonders.
2. Set clear boundaries
Talk to him about boundaries. Create a set of ground rules. If it is getting really out of hand, create schedules that clearly indicate the maximum time you are allowed to spend together before taking a break and hanging out with other people. Whatever works, really. Just make sure they understand that these rules and boundaries you are creating together should not be messed with unless in case of emergencies.
Related Reading: Dating After A Breakup – The 9 Step Perfect Strategy
3. Spend time apart
Take time away from each other. Maybe go on a break. Take a vacation to Bali alone. Just spend some time apart to remind him that both of you can exist, function, and thrive without each other. Remind him how important space is in a relationship.
Sampreeti also feels that it is important to be certain about what this break duration is. A partner who would like to cling all the time may not take well to the idea of a break. So, it is important to figure out how to make this work as dynamics vary in every relationship.
4. Suggest therapy
If things really hit the fan and nothing seems to be working, maybe it’s time to take the help of professionals. Individual therapy can work wonders when it comes to alienating the reasons behind such needy tendencies. Even couple’s therapy is a great idea in such situations. Skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel of experts are always here to help you alleviate your relationship.
5. If nothing works, run
Sometimes, there really are no answers. People aren’t meant to be symbiotic creatures. We are all separate individuals, each with our own quirks, needs, and wants. And we all need space to breathe. People’s space getting breached over and over again can have serious mental and physical repercussions. So, if nothing works – not communication, not routines, not even therapy – it may just be time to pack up and leave. It’s not like you didn’t try. But some things are just not meant to be.
- A needy man would want to spend all his time with you and keep calling and texting you
- Apparently, he doesn’t have a social life or he abandons it to be with you
- He would adjust his schedule around yours, and expects you to do the same
- To deal with clingy guys, you should have clear communication and set some firm boundaries
- Perhaps you should take a break or go for couple’s counseling
- If noting works, a breakup might be the only way forward
Can a needy man change? With time and effort, probably. Neediness is not easy to recognize. We often mistake signs of a needy man for care, we call it adorable behavior and often end up adding fuel to the flame. This makes it all the more important to be aware of the red flags and attempt to nip such behavior in the bud.
Constantly hogging your partner’s personal space and time, the need for repeated reassurances that your partner truly loves you, unfair jealousy and fishing for compliments, demanding them to be available on phone calls or WhatsApp throughout the day – all these are trademark signs of needy behavior.
The neediness of your partner may seem cute in the beginning if not attractive, but it won’t take much time to transform into irritating, if the same pattern goes on for long.
You can try everything that’s in your hand to fix this situation, from clear communication to setting boundaries to going for couple’s counseling. If nothing seems to work and the needy man is getting on your nerves, breaking up would be the wisest decision.