Awww! Cho chweet!” was the general chorus every time Kabir and his girlfriend Tanya walked into a gathering. The girls wistfully wished that their boyfriends would give them the same kind of attention that Kabir gave Tanya. The boys prayed that their girls would become more like the delicate little thing that Tanya was. They’d been dating for two years and were still much in love. Or so it seemed, until one evening, when the friends witnessed a very public and a very surprising fight. She shouted that he didn’t care enough. He stormed out. The two broke up soon after. “I couldn’t take her clinginess any more,” was Kabir’s only defence.
Sounds insensitive? Maybe, but these days, the most common cause of relationships rupturing is that one partner is too clingy. “Many times what we may believe to be our undying love [for someone] may be regarded by that someone as suffocating and clingy,” says psychologist Geeta Mishra. “Possessiveness or wanting to be with your partner is a good thing, but only to the extent that it does not suffocate your relationship. The line is very thin and one needs to tread very cautiously,” she adds.
So while you may believe yourself to be madly in love, it’s possible that the rest of the world (your significant other included) may just think you’re mad. Read on and see if your sweet feelings of bliss are turning your partner sour.
Cling wrap: You want to be joined at the hip with him all the time. There shouldn’t be any space between you!
Reality check: This is the biggest clingy girlfriend trait. And it’s no fun at all. Every relationship needs and deserves its space. Every individual, especially a man, needs their space, even if they choose to do nothing with it. Give it to them. Get your own space and time and do your own thing.
Cling wrap: Your life revolves around her and only her.
Reality check: Get a life, dude! What about your family, friends, interests and the other people who existed before you two met? She has her own life. It is time you get yours too! Don’t be available to her all the time. Respect yourself. She’ll respect you more.
Cling wrap: You want to have long, never-ending phone conversations all the time.
Reality check: Sure, you both loved it at the beginning of your relationship. And you still love cosying up in a corner and talking for hours. But as a relationship settles into a happy, comfortable zone, long chats may fall off the map. Relax, so long as you are still talking about the important stuff, it means your partner is treating you as a part of their normal life. It’s a good sign.
Cling wrap: You have stopped going out with your friends and hate it when she wants to be with hers.
Reality check: Having friends around is a must for a healthy relationship. They keep you connected and grounded. Try getting your social circles to mix. Go out with her friends and introduce her to yours. It’s much more fun and will make her feel a part of your life and you hers.
Cling wrap: Being waited on, rescued and treated like a princess is the best feeling ever!
Reality check: Guys love to play the protector. Ask for help and he’ll feel manly. But ask for too much, and he’ll just get annoyed. He needs a girlfriend, not a burden. You can’t be another chore! Flutter those lashes only when you think he needs to lighten his mood.
Cling wrap: You’re suspicious every time she doesn't take your call or talks to an attractive man.
Reality check: Women hate men who aren’t sure or secure about themselves. You need to understand that talking to a sexy man is NOT equal to having sex with him. Let her be. Encourage her to meet new people. Let her know you trust her and she’ll run back into your arms forever.
Cling wrap: You want his attention all the time.
Reality check: If he’s busy talking to someone else, working on something or just relaxing by himself, don’t panic. We understand that you are his girlfriend, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his own interests. Remember, you are in love with each other. You don’t own each other. If you’re the one making all the plans or trying to hold the relationship together, you may think you’re the saviour. He, on the other hand, may just see you as a controlling puppet master.
Cling wrap: You think your relationship and your boyfriend needs to improve.
Reality check: Nobody’s perfect. Hound your boyfriend about the five things he must change and chances are he’ll point out 10 of your shortcomings. You can discuss issues, so long as you both keep your cool. Be frank and tactful, not insensitive. Don’t force him to become your idea of a perfect man by drilling him into submission. Make him feel you love him for what he is and see him making all efforts to woo everyone around you.
Cling wrap: You think she doesn’t love you half as much as you love her.
Reality check: If you feel that way, you’re already clingy. If you feel there’s a genuine lopsidedness in affection, talk to her about it and keep an open mind. “Being clingy, in a lot of ways, is a manifestation of being insecure,” says Mishra. “Be sure of yourself. Insecurity in a relationship just makes it worse.” Don’t give your partner a chance to call you clingy. It sucks to be jilted and it sucks worse if you’re the reason for her claustrophobia! Indulge your lover, appreciate them, but love yourself too. Be that perfect partner and make him/her realise how much of a catch you are!
From HT Brunch, March 10
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