Men may take a more negative view of being needy than women do. This may be because men are often brought up to be self-sufficient, and to avoid displays of emotion, suggests Elizabeth Bernstein in the article "I'm OK, You're Needy," for "The Wall Street Journal." If your boyfriend equates needing something from him -- be it help, support, time or reassurance -- with clinginess, you may be reluctant to express your needs. Resolving the situation requires effort from both parties. Your boyfriend needs to try to understand your emotional needs and accept that they may be different from his, and you need to learn to ask for what you need without letting anxiety or insecurity push him away.
If you don't want to come across as clingy, you may need to change the way you think about neediness. Acknowledging and communicating your needs is a sign of emotional good health, licensed independent clinical social worker Pandora MacLean-Hoover tells Bernstein. Being able to reach out and ask a loved one for help should be viewed as a positive thing. Face up to your needs and don't feel ashamed of expressing them. See it as a strength, rather than a weakness.
Don't Be Afraid
If you don't express your needs to your boyfriend, you are sending the wrong message, warns writer Maura Kelly in "Marie Claire." Staying silent is basically the equivalent of consenting to being treated badly, which is not a good basis for a secure, happy relationship. It's all about how you express your needs, says Kelly. Rather than say, "Why didn't you call me when you said you would?" say something like, "I value loyalty and dependability in a relationship. It's important that the people in my life call me when they say they will." This takes the focus away from your boyfriend and his behavior, while still making your needs clear.
Learn to Communicate
Improving your communication skills will allow you to express your needs in a way that works for you both. Make clear requests to your boyfriend, highlighting specific feelings, advises psychologist Craig Malkin on "Psychology Today" online. For example, instead of saying "Why do you have to go out with your friends again?" say something like, "I feel like I haven't seen much of you this week. Could we arrange something fun to do together over the weekend?" The first question may be interpreted as clinginess, while the second request is more likely to be met with positivity and cooperation.
Feeling anxious or stressed may result in you appearing particularly clingy. Work out what makes you feel calmer and incorporate it into your life on a regular basis. It may be running, meditation, yoga or painting. Stress management techniques may be very effective in helping you overcome your impulse to act out of neediness, suggests Malkin. If you are calm and centered when you tell your boyfriend what you need from him, you are less likely to come across as clingy.
C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."
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