In the modern dating world, one of the worst behavior patterns you can display in a romantic relationship is being clingy.
The last thing you want is for your significant other to perceive you as being too needy and desperately in love with them.
Even though these are not desirable girlfriend qualities, the fact is that today, many people mistake caring for clingy behavior.
However, there are some crucial differences between the two and here are five of them.
1. Too attached right away vs. letting things follow its course
The first difference between being too clingy and caring for your man lies in the amount of your emotional attachmen toward him and most importantly in the time it takes for you grow attached to him.
Even though you believe in romantic things such as love at first sight, it doesn’t mean that it is okay to obsess over this guy from day one.
And this is exactly a basic characteristic of a needy and clingy girlfriend—she starts acting like she and her new boyfriend are in a long-term, committed relationship from the very beginning, which scares most men away.
It’s not just that these girls want to make things official right away, they insist on seeing their boyfriend every day, on meeting one another’s families and becoming a part of his life from the very start.
Most importantly—these girls tend to plan too far ahead.
They talk about marriage and their future together long before the guy they’re dating even decides whether they’re relationship material.
You know who I’m talking about—the type of girls who have their kids’ names all figured out after the first date. Scary, right?
Well, clinginess is even more than this. You display clingy behavior if you say, “I love you,” too soon and if you behave like you can’t imagine living without your boyfriend even though you two have just been dating a short while.
To put things simply—you can’t act like his wife if you have been dating for a few weeks or even months.
On the other hand, a caring girlfriend will let things follow its own natural course, as much as she is into a guy.
You won’t push him into something he’s not ready for just to heal your insecurities and you won’t force him to take your relationship to a new level unless he wants to do so himself.
Treating your boyfriend and your relationship like this doesn’t mean you don’t give a damn about him or it; it is actually a sign that you care for this guy enough to have enough respect for his boundaries.
2. Having your own life vs. being a part of his
When you are a part of a couple, it is natural for your and your boyfriend’s lives to become intertwined to a certain extent.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should cease to exist as an individual person just because you’re his girlfriend now.
It doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to completely disregard everyone and everything around you, including your career and daily habits, just to adjust to him and his needs.
This is exactly one of the examples of clingy behavior—ditching your life and fully focusing on your boyfriend’s.
It is killing the person you were before you met your boyfriend; losing all of your friends and doing your best to become a part of his crowd, forgetting about all of your hobbies and interests and becoming a female clone of the man you’re dating.
No, he won’t like you more if you start behaving like this. Instead, you’ll annoy him and he’ll start seeing you as a creep who is trying to take over his life and personality.
The truth might be that similar people are the most compatible ones.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you should change the essence of who you are and pretend to be someone else just for this man to like you more.
Despite the duration and commitment level of your relationship, remember to always have a life of your own outside of it.
You don’t have to blindly follow your boyfriend around because you’re not his accessory, you’re a human being on your own and you should never forget to act like one.
Your friends and family are all yours and you shouldn’t even think about ditching them if, for example, your BF doesn’t get along well with them.
Keep your tastes in music, movies and other things and don’t let this relationship change you all the way.
Most importantly—keep your real self! Trust me—every guy prefers being with a woman who stayed true to the person he fell in love with over a girl he can mold as he pleases.
Besides, if you care for your boyfriend, you’ll give him enough space to breathe. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you enough just because he needs some time off or because he wants to hang out with his guy friends without you present.
3. Stalking him vs. checking up on him
Even though some might not see it, there is a huge difference between stalking your romantic partner and checking up on him; a difference between following him around and taking care of him.
However, many girls mistake the two and often chase away their boyfriends by breathing down their neck all the time.
Ask yourself why you really call and text this man most of the time.
Are you genuinely interested in whether he’s tired and how he’s been doing or are you using this as a pretext to check on who he is spending his time with?
Do you care about whether he’s eaten or slept well or do you just want to make sure he hasn’t been hanging out with some girls after work?
Are you concerned about your man’s well-being or are you trying to keep up with his every move just to prevent him from walking too far away from you?
Don’t worry—no mature guy will accuse you of being too needy if you show true care for him.
He won’t feel like you’re suffocating him when you show that you worry about him and that you want him to be okay.
However, if your intentions are different and if you couldn’t care less about what’s going on with him as long as he’s not cheating, he’ll see right through you and he will think of you as a possessive lunatic who is limiting his freedom.
4. Loving him vs. being afraid of losing him
Another crucial difference between clingy and caring behavior is the difference between truly loving your partner and being afraid of losing him.
At first glance, you might think these two concepts are the same thing but they’re actually not.
Yes, when you love someone with all of your heart and soul, it is completely natural that you don’t want to live without them.
However, when it comes to true love, the most important thing for you is this person’s happiness.
Therefore, when you deeply care for a guy, you just want him to be okay and satisfied with his life, even if that doesn’t include you.
Your emotions are completely selfless and you want what’s best for this man, with or without you.
On the other hand, when you’re clingy, all of your efforts are aimed to keep him around you.
You are ready to do whatever it takes for him to never leave your side and you don’t care whether that’s what he truly wants.
Your insecurities get the best of you and everything you do for this guy is a result of your fears.
You hold on to him so tightly that you end up pushing him away from you, which is, ironically, what you’ve been trying to avoid all along.
5. Wanting to be kind vs. gaining power
When you are caring, you just want to be kind.
Of course, you expect some kind of appreciation and respect for all of your sacrifices and you feel offended if the other party doesn’t match your efforts but that’s about it.
However, clingy people don’t do anything from the bottom of their hearts. Instead, they demand gratitude and do their partner favors just to gain power over them.
If you’re clingy, you’ll always look for ways to help out your boyfriend, just so you could be superior over him.
In this scenario, he is the one who needs to constantly thank you and the one who needs to pay you back for everything you’ve given him.
And to be honest, that is exactly what you wanted to achieve all along. You wanted a chance to rub your kindness in his face every time he doesn’t behave the way you want him to.
Moreover, you’re using all of these favors as a form of emotional blackmail. You play on this guy’s conscience and you know that he won’t leave you, due to everything you do for him.