10 Signs Of A Clingy Boyfriend And How To Deal With Him

Obvious signs that he might be overwhelmingly attentive toward you and what you can do about it.

Reviewed by Dr Nancy B Irwin, PsyD Dr Nancy B Irwin Dr Nancy B IrwinPsyD facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA Gracia Odile MA linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years

Nothing can beat the joy and pleasure that comes with a beautiful relationship. Everyone loves to spend time with their partners. But what is difficult is being with a clingy boyfriend. How can you know if your boyfriend is clingy? How can you deal with him? Even though he pays a lot of attention to you, if you feel that the relationship is suffocating you or you are feeling uncomfortable with his behavior, it may be a sign of his clinginess. Being clingy is different from being emotionally attached. A clingy boyfriend always prioritizes his feelings over his partner and will not give any personal space. At some point, you may even feel irritated and low, which may only take a toll on your mental health. This article lists the 10 signs that tell you if your boyfriend is clingy and discusses how you can handle him. Continue reading.

What Is A Clingy Boyfriend?

Clingy boyfriend holding his disgusted partner
Image: IStock

If you are confused about what exactly clingy means in a relationship, it is a term often used to describe someone who does not have clear boundaries and tends to get over-attached emotionally or even physically. If your boyfriend is overly possessive, jealous (even of your non-romantic relationships), and irrationally insecure about your whereabouts, he is clingy. He may love you tremendously, but it is unhealthy to not give each other space to grow or be yourselves.

A clingy boyfriend may become demanding and selfish, which can be exhausting for you in the long run. He may not want to make plans with other people and want to keep you for himself. There can be many reasons for such behavior, but it mainly stems from insecurity and a fear of abandonment. He probably has severe anxiety that you will leave him or the relationship will end.

Check out some of the reasons that can make a boyfriend clingy in the section below.

Reasons Your Boyfriend Is Clingy

  • Lack Of Independence: Clinginess may arise from dependence on the partner for emotional fulfillment without fostering one’s own individual growth.
  • Communication Gaps: Inadequate communication can lead to the need for constant reassurance.
  • Misinterpretation Of Love: Some may associate constant closeness with love without realizing the importance of personal space.
  • Past Relationship Issues: Lingering insecurities from previous relationships can influence clinginess in behavior.
  • Fear Of Rejection: A deep-seated fear of rejection or abandonment may drive the desire for constant proximity.
  • Unmet Emotional Needs: If emotional needs are not met, one might try too hard to fill the void and appear clingy.

Wondering how to tell if your boyfriend is clingy? Check out the 10 warning signs that can help you understand their behavior.

10 Signs Your Boyfriend Is Clingy

1. He Wants To Know Your Whereabouts All The Time

Woman with disgusted expression while reading a text on her phone
Image: IStock

If your boyfriend is constantly bombarding you with text messages throughout the day, it is not a good sign. While it is normal and even affectionate to touch base once in a while and keep the communication going, texting too often can be intrusive and exhausting. He may also tend to get anxious if you do not text back immediately. He may even be controlling as he feels that he will lose you to someone else. However, in a healthy relationship, it is important to have trust and loyalty.

A clingy boyfriend will want to know everything about your whereabouts – who you are with? What are you doing? Where are you? He wants to keep tabs on your schedule and gets upset if you don’t share it with him.

2. He Needs Constant Validation

A clingy boyfriend seeks constant reassurance. He may appear to be a bottomless pit of need, and make you feel like it is your job to constantly fill it. He is insecure or unsure of the relationship. He often doubts if you love him. He may ask you questions like – Do you love me? How much do you love me? What can you do for me?

He may even make over-the-top romantic gestures and want you to reciprocate with the same enthusiasm. Sometimes, he may even get competitive in showing you affection and love. Also, he will get upset or anxious if you do not validate his feelings. He will be dependent on you for affection and demand attention all the time and may even guilt-trip you if you don’t cater to his unrealistic expectations.

While it is great to be affectionate to your partner and showing them admiration and adoration, it may come off as superficial and ingenuine if it becomes the norm.

3. He Does Not Like You To Socialize Without Him

This is a big red flag. If your boyfriend has temper tantrums or acts needy when you hang out with your friends, he is insecure and clingy. You both deserve to have lives outside the relationship. In fact, it is considered healthy to have friends, hobbies, and interests that do not overlap. It helps you develop your self-identity and grow as a person and strengthens dedication and faithfulness in your commitment.


He may also be overprotective of you hanging out with your friends and try to invite himself to the gatherings or just tag along with you. Even if you do manage to go without him, he will constantly call or text to know how you are doing.

He may even get jealous if you are hanging out with guys. All this boils down to insecurity and lack of trust. Either way, this behavior is not acceptable in a healthy relationship.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Clingy boyfriends may anticipate you asking for their approval before you go out. As a reason for their intrusive behavior, they may claim they needed your schedule to plan something with you in the future.

4. He Is Not Assertive

He may not hold strong opinions. He gets swayed easily, especially if it involves you. Since he is insecure, he gives in to your requests and is not confident enough to be assertive. This is stifling for the relationship. He may be scared to say what he truly feels as he assumes you will leave him if he disagrees. He would rather keep his opinions to himself than create any conflict.

A healthy relationship entails feisty discussions and arguments without name-calling or insulting. Disagreements and an ability to resolve conflicts help in creating a stronger bond between two people.

5. He Is Incredibly Jealous

Jealous man checking who his partner is talking to
Image: IStock

A little jealousy is normal in most relationships. But, a clingy boyfriend may be overly jealous and possessive – so much so that you are constantly fighting.

He may have irrational fears or extreme insecurity when it comes to your interactions with the opposite sex. He may get angry and moody when you talk or spend time with other guys.

He will be distrustful of everyone who is close to you and may even try to sabotage your relationships.

6. He Does Not Socialize Without You

He does not have friends with whom he can hang out. Even if he does, he prefers to spend time with you instead. If he cancels his plans with his friends to be with you or insists that you should also join them, it is a big warning sign of his clinginess. His whole world revolves around you. Since he does not have a support system, his anxiety may be triggered when you have any conflict with him.

7. He Does Not Have Hobbies

If your boyfriend does not have any hobbies or interests, or if he stopped spending time by himself after he met you, it is another sign that he is clingy. It can also get dangerous as he may get obsessed with you. This will definitely change the dynamics of the relationship and aspects of his personality. Since he is not spending time doing anything else, he could be constantly thinking about you and what you are doing, leading to unlikely scenarios in his head.

8. He Does Not Give You Space

He never leaves you alone, so much so that you find his presence smothering. You put up with it because you feel his heart is in the right place and he means no harm, and in the beginning, all this attention and devotion may feel good. However, we all need space to recharge, and it is particularly important in a healthy relationship to have individual lives.

You may have tried telling him that you need a break, but he probably got offended or hurt by that suggestion. He feels that you should be spending more time with him instead of your friends or family.

9. He Stalks You Online

Hooded stalker in front of a computer
Image: IStock

We all are guilty of checking up on our partners on social media. It can easily become an obsession to constantly check if they are online or when they were “last seen.” Other red flags include him if asking about everyone who is tagged in your pictures or guys you follow. He may even ask you about people who liked your pictures or commented on your posts as he may see them as potential threats. He may even be keeping tabs on these people or your ex-boyfriends by checking their profiles or stories. This is particularly alarming if he is always online but hardly active on his own profile.

10. He Does Not Respect Your Boundaries

You notice that he does not respect your decisions and questions your fidelity. He often encroaches on your personal space. He may want to do everything together – simple things like taking a shower or shaving.

He asks you about your day and gets upset if you did something without him. He may get pouty and sulk until you give in or do something he likes to do with you. He does not understand your need for space and takes it as you wanting to be away from him.

Christine, a physician by profession, details her experience of being in a clingy relationship. She mentions different cues that gave her the gut feeling that something wasn’t right. She recollects how he wanted to visit her when she was away on a secluded trip with her friends. That was her breaking point, and she blocked him. He kept deleting and following her back on social media and constantly sent her messages. She adds, “I even read my mom some of the messages and she asked for his first and last name so if I go missing she knows what to tell the police: it looks that insane (i).”

If he exhibits any of these signs consistently, he is most definitely a clingy boyfriend. The good news is that you can set some boundaries for a healthy relationship. Check out the next section to find out more.

How To Handle A Clingy Boyfriend

1. Be Honest With Yourself

The first and foremost thing to do is to analyze how you behave in the relationship. Are you enabling him? Were you also clingy in the beginning? Did the relationship lose the initial spark? Are you looking for something else, or have you lost interest in him? Either way, a little introspection is good. It is not healthy for anyone to be clingy in a relationship.

2. Set Boundaries

This is the most important and effective step you can take to manage your relationship if your boyfriend is clingy. It would be great to set boundaries early on in the relationship so it is easy to implement them. However, it is never too late to set boundaries about what kind of relationship you want and what behavior is off-limits. Simply establish a few ground rules regarding when to call and give each other space. Let him know that you need space to rejuvenate yourself and it has nothing to do with him.

3. Establish Trust

This is more to do with him, but you can help him learn to trust you by not hiding things from him. Be honest and transparent. Let him know that you find his behavior controlling and smothering. Soothe his anxieties and discuss getting professional help, if needed. Clinginess can be a manifestation of underlying issues such as fear of abandonment or having an anxious attachment style. So, therapy may help in dispelling some of the fears and anxieties. Go for couples’ sessions if necessary.

4. Let Him Know He Is Important To You

Woman reassuring man about her feelings for him
Image: IStock

Shower him with praises and appreciate the things he does for you. Let him know that he is important to you and you love him. Spend quality time with him, go on dates, show him your caring side, and do not neglect him. Introduce him to your friends and family, but negotiate how much time you spend with him. Let him know that he cannot be replaced and that he holds a special place in your heart.

5. Cut Down On Communication

Make sure that you do not communicate excessively with each other. Be firm with him – let him know that you will not take calls when you are at work or with someone unless it’s urgent. Ask him not to text you often as it is distracting. Do it in a gentle manner and tell him you will check up on him when you are free.

Wean him off constant texting by taking time to respond or not replying to every text. Slowly, he will pick up the cues and model his behavior accordingly.

You can also have a “pause” day when you take a break from each other. Let him know you are safe but will not be available on call or social media. This will help in curtailing phone time or the need to constantly be in touch.

protip_icon Quick Tip
If you live together, try being in separate rooms for extended periods. Set physical boundaries and let your partner know it is not the time to communicate by placing a ‘do not disturb’ sign outside your room.

6. Encourage Him To Socialize Without You

Help him plan a guys’ night out with his friends or enlist him in a class on something related to his interests and hobbies. Encourage him to go out with his friends every week. Let him know that you trust him and want him to be happy. You can ask his friends to help get him out of his comfort zone.

Infographic: The Importance Of Space In Relationships

It is wonderful to have someone to share all the big and small things in life with. A loving relationship could be the biggest blessing ever. However, it is important to not let the relationship consume you and make you lose your essence. Every relationship grows stronger when people maintain space to let themselves grow along with it.

Check out the infographic below to know how a healthy space impacts a relationship.

The importance of space in relationships (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Love makes you want to be with your partner all the time. Your experiences, joys, and sorrows are important to you, and you want them to be there for you. However, it is important to maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships and not go overboard with your neediness. A clingy boyfriend dislikes you socializing without him, seeks constant reassurance, wants you to share your whereabouts all the time, and disregards your personal space. This unhealthy reliance can bring troubles to your relationship. Make sure you set proper boundaries, encourage him to socialize with others, and build trust to change this unhealthy behavior incrementally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my boyfriend so clingy all of a sudden?

Insecurity and low-self esteem may lead to clinginess. If your boyfriend is suddenly clingy, speak to him and try to understand if he is being intimidated by something. Apart from that, look within yourself and find out if your behavior towards him has changed recently.

What causes clinginess in a relationship?

Self-doubt and insecurity may cause clinginess in a relationship. When a couple feels unsure about the relationship, they may begin to seek extra attention from each other to make sure where they are headed.

Do girls like clingy guys?

No, women dislike clingy guys. Clinginess indicates insecurity or obsession that can be unnerving for a woman.

Is there a difference between needy and clingy?

Yes, needy means depending solely on your partner to the extent that one can’t function without them and require constant reaffirmation of your love. While clingy people like to stay close to their partner, be it through touching or snuggling even if that makes their partner feel claustrophobic.

Key Takeaways

  • A boyfriend who makes you feel uncomfortable with his behavior is a sign that he is clingy.
  • A clingy boyfriend has no sense of boundaries and does not give their partners their personal space.
  • Clingy persons may constantly ask for your whereabouts and demand constant validation.
  • Set boundaries to deal with a clingy boyfriend. Encourage him to trust you to establish a happy and healthy relationship.
clingy boyfriend

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Is that clingy guy getting on your nerves? Worry not! Check out this video for some dating tips and advice that will help you handle him.

Personal Experience: Source

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Dr Nancy B Irwin

Dr Nancy B IrwinPsyD

Originally from Atlanta, Dr. Nancy Irwin graduated from UWG in 1977 with a Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance. She moved to New York City in 1985 to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. She worked all over the country and abroad and moved to Los Angeles in 1994 when she heard that Hollywood needed more blondes.

Read full bio of Dr Nancy B Irwin