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April 8, 2022

Got yourself a Stage 5 Clinger? How to tell and what to do.

Dating a clingy person can be very difficult. Dating a Stage Five Clinger even more so. Originally coined by the movie Wedding Crashers, a Stage Five Clinger is a someone who is likely to become overly attached, overly fast.

When you start dating someone, you don't really know who they are yet. You get to know each other over time, and it's perfectly normal for both of you to want to spend as much time together as possible. This is all well and good, until you realize the person you’re seeing wants to spend a little too much time with you.

Spending time together is amazing, and a critical part of building a relationship, but it can become a problem when it’s one-sided. If your partner’s constant attention is interfering with your ability to have fun, socialize or just relax, you’ll start to feel smothered, and the relationship will suffer.

Clingy people often do not understand how their behavior affects those around them. They may become offended if you ask them to take a step back and give you some breathing room. However, a clingy person may become needy and depressed when they are not around you because they need constant reassurance that you love them and will return to them (they may have an anxious attachment style). This makes them very emotionally dependent on you, and it can be draining for any relationship. If you find yourself in a clingy relationship, the best thing to do is talk to your partner and see how you can make it work for both of you.

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How do you tell if someone is too clingy? There are many different kinds of clingy people, but there are a few common signs that can help you figure out if your partner is one of them:

Calling all the time.

If your partner can’t leave you alone, even for short periods of time, and they keep calling you every day or multiple times a day, then this is probably a sign that they're probably too clingy for their own good. If you find yourself cringing when you see them calling you, that’s a sign that something needs to change.

Texting incessantly.

The line between fun and flirty texting and obsession can be hard to determine. What may feel like a perfectly normal amount of communication to one partner may feel overwhelming to another. If their constant texting is starting to annoy you, feels like a chore, or is downright driving you crazy, it may be the sign of a communication imbalance. If that that’s the case, try and establish boundaries around how much contact you expect to have with them during the week so that they feel comforted and reassured and you don’t feel so exhausted.

What do you do if the person you’re dating is in fact a Stage Five Clinger? You have a couple possible paths:

Discuss why they are clingy.

People are clingy for a reason. Understanding what is causing the clingy behavior can help eliminate or reduce the clingy behavior. Try asking them what they hope will happen when they call or text you.

Discuss boundaries.

If understanding why they are clingy doesn’t reduce their clinginess, discuss setting up communication boundaries and what will happen if those boundaries are crossed.

Consider breaking up.

Finally, if none of the above are working and you still feel suffocated, consider breaking up. You just may not be compatible — and that’s ok. Sometimes two people just have drastically different emotional and communication needs, and may be in your best interest to end things so that you both can find someone your’e more compatible with.

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