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Clinginess in a long distance relationship varies from being a minor annoyance to a full on dealbreaker. While many couples tend to ignore this issue, addressing it as early as possible will bring more joy to your lives and even save your relationship. Here are five steps you can do right away.
1. Check if you have clingy behaviour
2. Create personal space
3. Give space to your partner
4. Agree on the best times to talk
5. Have a life outside of your relationship
Let’s go through these steps one by one…
Check if You Have a Clingy Behaviour
You may have experienced someone telling you to stop being too clingy. But, what does clinginess actually mean, and how can you be less clingy in your relationship?
Let’s consider clinginess as an emotional dependency on another person. What you need to understand is why you are emotionally dependant, in this case, on your long-distance partner.
There are several reasons for emotional dependency. It can be caused specifically by something that your partner does, for example your partner acting in a way that you find distressing, which can leave you stressed and confused. In this case, you should bring your partner’s attention to this behaviour and let them know how you feel as a result of it.
Clinginess can also be a result of insecurities. In this case, you should discover the source of these insecurities that can potentially stem from your childhood and upbringing.
The way you see things in your relationship will impact the way you experience your relationship. For example, you and your partner used to talk to each other frequently and shared important aspects of your relationship. Then, suddenly you stop talking as much or as often as you were without any apparent reason.
If things are not discussed between you and your partner, one person can see this new dynamic as distancing, while the other person can see it as just needing some personal space.
The person that perceives the behaviour as distancing, may start panicking about loosing the other person and would want to compensate by wanting more interaction like calling more often, texting too much, and expecting to receive a response straight away. If this is not fulfilled, then more insecurities will be triggered and more distressed will be felt by that partner.
On the other hand, if the other person perceives the lack of interaction as a ‘good thing’ and needing some personal space. That person will welcome the time without so much interaction and in this case it may not cause a problem.
In either case, it is best to express what each of you want and need, so neither of you feel neglected or unloved, which could lead to more problems later on.
To address your clinginess start by:
– Expressing how your partner’s behaviour affects you
– Get your partner’s feedback about your behaviour
– Understand the source of your insecurities
Create Personal Space
Personal space is the environment where you have a complete control and freedom to do what you want, however you want, whenever you want it. With this much control comes equal amount of responsibility.
In other words, it is completely up to you the kind of environment you create for yourself, how much time you spend there and what you do during this time.
For example, you can fill up your personal space with silence and meditation or you can make it noisy with music and TV programmes. While neither of these are good or bad per se, being mindful about the kind of environment you are creating, will help you make more conscientious choices when it comes to spending your time and energy.
One of many aspects of creating personal space is organisation. Some people are more organised and naturally want to keep things in order. Others, are more chaotic when it comes to organising their time and space. In a way, the former is a more productive approach, while the latter is a more creative one.
Ideally, you would have a balance of being productive to achieve your goals and at the same time allow a room for creativity to connect with your inner self.
So, how does this relate to being in a long-distance relationship?
Relationship is a dynamic between two people, two individuals. The more balanced and fulfilled each of you are individually, the healthier is your relationship.
In long-distance relationships partners tend to spend a lot of time talking to compensate for the lack of physical intimacy. This leads to excessive communication, boring conversations and takes the time away from creating personal environment that is enjoyable and fulfilling.
While it is important to have a healthy amount of communication for you to feel connected, it is also worth giving the time and space for both of you to get on with your personal lives. The best way to go about it is to have a discussion, sharing your personal goals, needs and ambitions.
Give Space to Your Partner
Allowing and supporting your partner in having some personal time and space for themselves will help you come across as loving, caring and considerate. What this does is to show that you are not only interested in yourself and this relationship, but also in your partner as an individual.
You can bring love and understanding by encouraging your partner to have some time for themselves. You might even help them create the space they need to feel joyful and achieve their goals.
Here is our step-by-step guide on creating personal and relationship goals.
Once your partner has the time and space to achieve their personal goals and ambitions, they will be more fulfilled as an individual and be grateful for your input.
Having your partner focused on their needs help them feel fulfilled, and in turn will create a more fulfilling and exciting relationship for the two of you.
Agree on the Best Times to Talk
Depending on the time difference between you and your partner, you will have more or less issues syncing your schedules to arrange the best times to talk to each other.
Being honest about the things each of you have to do and want to do during your spare time is important. You could compromise now and then and not do the things you want to do, and choose talk to your partner instead. But sooner or later, it will daunt on you and you will resent spending time with your partner because you are sacrificing what is important for you.
Click here for an in-depth overview of what it takes to make your long-distance relationship work.
Long-term, this is unhealthy for your relationship. So, being honest and upfront with your partner is the best thing you can do.
Spending less time communicating and more time enjoying your personal life will bring more interesting things to talk about and will nourish your relationship. You may spend less time talking, but it will be more quality time.
For some practical help with improving communication with your long-distance partner, take a look at this workbook.
Try to focus on your own goals, things that are important for you and your personal development.
It all comes down to your mindset. Suppose you feel attached to your long-distance partner and think about everything you cannot have, like being physically with them. In that case, your relationship will become a struggle.
On the other hand, you can turn it around. You can see your long-distance relationship as an opportunity to have a romantic partner and to spend time living your life and enjoy other peoples company.
Have a Life Outside of Your Relationship
When you are in a romantic relationship, particularly in a serious one, it is easy to make this relationship your priority. Especially if your relationship is joyful, you would want to spend all your free time with the person you love.
However, there comes a point where a relationship can start taking over your life. You might find yourself spending increasingly more time with your partner at the cost of not spending enough time on your life, your goals and ambitions.
If you notice yourself spending too much time talking to your partner, consider using this time to create some personal space for yourself and to catch up with other people in your life.
Do something productive and don’t forget to spend some time enjoying yourself. You can study something or pick up a new hobby. Anything you do to make your life more exciting will give you more to share with your partner next time you talk.
Using the time you are apart for your personal development is the best way to make the most of having a romantic relationship and creating a future for yourself, which eventually you will share with your partner.
Pursuing your own goals will put you in a better position where you are less dependant on anybody else and can take your own decisions.
Here is an article that goes deeper into identifying and setting goals for you, your partner and your long-distance relationship.
Clingy behaviour in a long distance relationship comes from personal insecurities, excessive communication, or a combination of both.
One of the key issues in a long distance relationship is a lack of physical intimacy. To compensate for the lack of physical closeness, couples tend to spend excessive amount of time talking online. While the intention is to maintain emotional connection, too much communication can lead to boring conversations.
Once your relationship gets boring, one of you may start losing interest, while the other can become clingy as a result.
It is undeniably hard to be away from your romantic partner for an extended period. But long-distance relationships aren’t meant to last a long time. So, if you are in a long-distance relationship that lasts for longer than a few months, you have to expect problems and suffering.
Many couples believe that being in a long-distance relationship has to be a struggle. They expect to suffer, so that’s what they get.
You might be in a long-distance relationship with someone you love but struggling to find a practical way of being together; this is a tough place to be.
In this case, it might be time to reassess your long-distance relationship. Take a step back from all the struggle and look at your relationship for what it is, rather than what you want it to be.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to not be clingy in a long-distance relationship?
Avoid being clingy in a long-distance relationship stick to the agreed days and times for your video calls. If the arranged amount is too much or not enough, discuss it the next time you get a chance to talk. By sticking to your agreed times you show your partner respect and understanding that they have other things to do outside of this relationship.
How to not be needy in a long-distance relationship?
Neediness in the long distance relationship comes in the form of excessive communication as an attempt to compensate for the lack of physical closeness. To avoid being needy, identify your needs and find different ways to fulfil them. Some needs require interaction with your partner, while others can be fulfilled by yourself or other people.
How to give space in a long-distance relationship?
1. Limit your communication to specific days and times.
2. Ask your partner how much they need to communicate to feel emotionally connected.
3. Ask your partner what personal life goals and ambitions they want to achieve.
4. Help your partner to make a plan to achieve their goals with and without your involvement.
5. Support your partner in their journey of personal development.
How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?
If you are having doubts about your long-distance relationship and are not sure if you should try to fix it or let it go, here is our step by step guide to help you and your partner reassess your relationship and make an educated decision that works for both of you.
Relationship Coaching for Long-Distance Couples
Long-distance relationships are hard to maintain without knowing exactly what they involve.
However, once you understand what long-distance relationships are, what they are not and how to navigate them, you are a lot more likely to make it work.
We specialise in helping long-distance couples create and maintain a healthy relationship by building intimacy, trust and effective communication.
If you are starting a long-distance relationship or are already in one, send us a message to book an individual coaching session for yourself or a couples coaching session for you and your partner.